Late one night in the middle of nowhere, we lay in our tent, listening to the constant summer chatter of insects all 'round and hoot owls off in the distance. None of us were asleep; we were probably all missing the pillows we'd forgotten to pack on that particular camping trip, which by itself, led to a conversation that instantly had memories flooding back.
Every trip we take is like a real life National Lampoon's vacation. There's ALWAYS something that either goes wrong or just puts mayhem in our path. But as my 14 year old insanely wise son remarked, without all that's happened to us on every one of our adventures, we wouldn't have the memories. He's so right. I wouldn't trade all the memories for anything.
Our family of 5 lay in the dark re-living hilarious memories together, and I'm pretty sure our deep belly laughs drowned out all the summer chatter outside those tent walls. Besides being a total nature freak, THIS is why I love camping. It's those moments at night when it's just us in a tent in the middle of nowhere, no one else around… We're halfway between sleep and not wanting to sleep because we're enjoying just being together.
There are a few ways we recommend creating hilariously awesome camping memories, all from personal experience, of course.
1. Be sure to plan a camping trip on the hottest weekend of the year, heat advisory and all. Those 100 degree temps make a tent real cozy, enough so that you'll have no problem sleeping in your undies and leaving your toes out from under the covers, even though you're constantly in fear of something grabbing your toes.
4. Always check the weather because you never know when the biggest thunderstorm of your life (with massive lightning) will hit, especially on the top of a mountain or out in the desert backcountry and probably just as you've gotten everything set up to make dinner. It never hurts to be prepared for such occasions, so pack peanut butter and jelly, and you're all set to eat in your car while the thunderstorm passes over.
5. Leave all your trash out, even for just half an hour, so Smokey's cousin will barrel into your site, grab the bag of trash, send you leaping for higher ground, and create chaos like no other.
6. Make sure your 3 year old knows the difference between deer poop and chocolate covered peanuts. Otherwise, he will try it, and it will become a memory for life.
7. You MUST grab a photo of your family's first time emptying the portable toilet at the nearest dump station. MUST! It's perfect for those Cousin Eddie-esque Christmas cards.
8. Even better is a video you can send to Grammy, not that my boys ever did that…
9. Let your boys name your camp toilet, and it'll forever be known as Randy.
10. New to the area and not able to find a camping spot before it's already past midnight? No problem! You can either accept a partially drunk stranger's invitation to camp in his front yard (he really did seem like a nice guy, though; and apparently, he's made this offer to other camping enthusiasts) or find a spot just off the road, where every time a car passes, they honk. Fun times. But hey, at least we could hear the river down below in the quiet moments between cars passing.
11. Don't mess with the armadillo… He'll go crazy on a rampage through your camp site.
12. Always tell the creepiest of stories as your kids are just about to fall asleep. Late night walks down to the chicken coop will never be the same.
And those, my friends, are just a few ways to create hilariously awesome camping memories. Adventures lead to memories. I'm sure there are way more I could share, but that's all I can think of right now.