This weekend we finally packed up our very dusty camping equipment and set off for our first trip of the summer.
After plodding along in the hectic Friday afternoon New York traffic, we finally made it to our camp site in the Catskills and managed to set up our tent, inflate our brand new blow-up mattress and start a fire before the sun sunk into the nearby lake.
We lit citronella candles, piled on the bug spray and we could finally take a breath of the fresh nature air and unwind from another crazy week. AAAAH!
But the tranquility was short lived when our noisy neighbour got into a fight with his girlfriend over the phone and I started learning way too many details about their relationship.
(He calls her Boo and she didn't like his latest Facebook status.)
We took a walk to give our ears a break.
Upon our return, things had simmered down except for the noise of the annoying neighbour's engine running as he was now charging this dying cell phone battery.
So with the sounds of nature (and the car's humming) we hit the sack.
Remember that brand new inflatable mattress I mentioned earlier? Well I am sure there is somebody at the mattress factory who thinks its funny to poke a small hole in them at the end of that conveyor belt because I have yet to sleep on one that actually stayed full of air all night.
We woke up in the middle of the night with our backs flat on the hard floor of the tent platform. Grrr... We had sprung a leak and had no choice but to accept our fate since the air pump was way too loud to use at 2am.
Despite my broken nights sleep, I loved waking up in nature. There is just something about those few early hours of the morning when things are still a little hazy and its just you and the other early birds sharing in the glory of the crisp air and the long sunbeams that break through the trees.
I cooked eggs and bacon for breakfast and we spent most of the day in our camp chairs reading and relaxing.
At one point, Mike spotted a deer in the woods behind our tent. It then got closer and closer and at one point it was so close that I felt like I could reach out and touch it. Amazing! I then followed it back into the woods (I am the deer whisperer) where she showed me her 2 little spotted babies who were just too cute for words. We were then joined by another mommy and baby and suddenly there I was, in the middle of the forest surrounded by 5 deer, all circled around me. What a great moment!
We cooked delicious spicy BBQ chicken for lunch and took an afternoon nap for as long as the mattress allowed us (like a deflating alarm clock). Hamburgers (my husband is the burger master) were on the menu for dinner, followed by mandatory s'mores for dessert.
We then moved our tent off the wooden platform and onto the leafy softness of the forest floor so that we might have a chance of a better night's sleep.
No such luck! It started to rain.
At first, the rain was kind of charming. We were warm and snuggled in our tent and our mattress was still 75% inflated. I spend most of my nights falling asleep to the sounds of rain on YouTube and getting to listen to the real thing was very soothing.
It then began to POUR!
The sides of the tent were soaked, so we huddled in the middle of the (now 30% inflated) mattress.
A few minutes later and puddles were forming inside.
By some miracle I had drifted (literally) off to sleep again, only to be woken by Mike who thought he heard the sniffing and footsteps of a bear.
Any chance of sleep for the rest of the night was out the window.
In the first light of morning we packed everything up (leaving a big, square dry-spot in the forest) and decided to make the journey back home to our leak-free apartment and cosy sofa-bed.
Despite the drama, not even a leaking tent or deflating mattress could have ruined such a fun weekend getaway with my hubby. I had a blast and have so many more memories for the memory bank.
It's never too late for a last minute Summer camping trip!