Top 10 Reasons to Go Camping

1. You have all that camping equipment that’s getting dusty in your attic.

2. You enjoy the great outdoors and running wild (with the animals….oops I mean kids).

3. Your stressed to the max with kids, job, and/or life in general and need a break from reality.

4. You can roast marshmallows & hot dogs over the open fire.

5. No housework

6. You can run around barefoot with dirty feet and fingernails and no one cares.

7. You bought a new sleeping bag and/or tent and can’t wait to try it out.

8. You can act like a kid again….play in the dirt, eat w/out washing your hands first (and no one will say anything), go to bed dirty, stay up late w/the adults around the campfire….

9. You get to take baths in the lake/river or you can hook up a shower in woods & shower with a make-shift tarp shower curtain naked in the middle of the woods.

10. And the number 10 reason to go camping………it’s fun sleeping under the stars!

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Rustic Camping – The Only Way to Go

Our campsite (the sandy area is the sink hole)

As I sit here reminiscing about last year’s camping trips, I begin to think about what we want to do this year. Our first camping trip last year was on Memorial weekend. We went to a spot with my mom that we used to go to with John’s, my boyfriend, mom. This is truly a rustic camping spot….no electricity, running water, not even an outhouse. If you had to take a dump, you better take a shovel with you – because nobody wants to step in your shit.

Looking up at the eagle's nest

When we first got there, the DNR were harassing John right away because he was riding our mini-bike around on the trails. His infractions included: 1)riding on the two-tracks is not permitted 2) he was riding without a helmet and 3) he had our 3 yr. old daughter riding with him without a helmet also. Now, John is a hard-ass himself, so the first thing he asks the officer is if he can see his ID (John’s thought: “I’m not going to show you my ID until I see yours.”). It was hilarious because the officer’s ID was a simple paper one – nothing to it. Anyways, I had to start talking to sweeten up the officer before John got in over his head and ended up with several tickets.

The Little Manistee River at sunset

Our camping spot was at the top of a sink hole above the river. The only way down to the river was to walk a few minutes around to the other part of the island or to do a hop-jump-skid-tumble down the sandy embankment. I could see why others wouldn’t want to camp there with little kids. But we took the chance and Abbie came home in one piece. We brought our canoe with us, which was quite the task getting it down to the river. With a rope tied to one end of the canoe & the other end to the truck, we lowered it down to the river or should I say it tumbled down to the river. After we finally got it

down there, we enjoyed canoeing along the river. We found a natural water stream coming out of the side of the hill where we could get fresh water. We were also close to an eagle’s nest that we would go check out everyday. It was really cool to be able to stand right underneath this HUGE eagle’s nest that must have been six feet deep. You could hear the baby eagles squawking as they waited for mama to bring them some food back to the nest. It was a pretty cool sight watching the eagles.

We also enjoyed playing along the shore on a nice small sandy beach, fishing, hiking, watching John ride Abbie’s bike around (he looked like a clown:), and checking out the scenery. It was quality time spent with my mom. And she fared pretty well for rustic camping. We all had a great time!

The Simple Life – Camping

Chicago Lake in the U.P.

Have you ever gone camping & thought to yourself: “Wow! This is so relaxing. I wish I could just live like this every day.” Camping is relaxing, enjoyable, and just plain fun. Yes, it is work, too! But work on a different level.

Now, I must tell you that when we go camping, we camp rustic style….no running water, electric, “regular” bathrooms or any of that fancy stuff. Just the great outdoors and if we’re lucky an outhouse (where you actually don’t have to dig a hole to take a dump)….haha. Usually we camp along some body of water – a river or lake. Which makes washing up & washing dishes easier, by not having to haul in all that water. We also enjoy the water activities such as swimming, canoeing, fishing, tubing, and knee boarding.

Yes, their little. But, size don't matter!

Last summer, we went camping in the U.P. (Michigan) for a week.We were on a lake, in the middle of no where, with my boyfriend’s family. There was about 30 of us altogether. We had so much fun! I got to go tubing, which was a challenge to see who could knock the other person off their tube or who could hang on the longest as we were whipped around the little lake doing figure 8s and being jolted over the waves we just created. Knee boarding was another challenge in itself. It is much harder to get up than I thought it would be. And, boy! When you wipe out on the water, it’s like hitting a brick wall as your body is twisted & rolls along the surface of the water. John (my boyfriend) enjoyed dirt biking with his uncles. It was great listening to the guys discuss who was a whimp and couldn’t keep up with the rest of the gang.

Havin' fun playing in the dirt! The joys of being a kid!

Some of the quieter activities we enjoyed were fishing, playing games at camp, and watching the stars. I went out fishing with my aunt and everyone told us, “You can’t catch fish in the middle of the day.” Boy, did we show them! We were having a blast on the lake catching one after another. We came back with a bucket full of fish! And, we had a tasty fish fry, too! My cousin and I paddled the boat out to the middle of the lake & laid out there watching the stars for hours. The sky was so full of stars up there in the middle of the woods in the U.P. We were laughing so hard everyone said they could hear us in camp.

One of the best things about camping is watching the kids play together! It reminds me how simple life can be and how just some dirt and trucks can entertain a little one for hours. My daughter, Abbie, had a great time playing with her cousin in the dirt for hours. Who cares if you’re filthy and have dirt underneath your nails. We’re camping and it’s the simple life. Sometimes life can get away from you and a great camping trip can help to relax and remember the important things in life are not t.v. and internet but rather family and fun!

Finding the Perfect Sleeping Bag

When adults are going camping with their family, they’ll have to remember to bring a lot of things to keep their family comfortable.

One thing that they have to plan is the type of sleeping bags to buy for their families when going camping.  Some people might think that it’s okay to buy a general one size fits all sleeping bag, but it’s important to buy adult sleeping bags as well as children’s.  Getting enough sleep corresponds with making sure that the campers are sleeping in appropriate sleeping bags not only for their body temperature needs, but for their size.  A person might feel that they can save a few bucks by buying a general sleeping bag.  However, there are adult needs to consider that won’t apply so much to children.

Here’s a quick overview of thing to consider when you buy a sleeping bag: temperature rating of the sleeping bag (depending on the weather when you go camping); size does matter (you don’t want a 5′ sleeping bag for a 6′ tall person); cushioning in the sleeping bag (helps w/all those rocks and sticks that might be jabbing at you); and how “roomy” is the sleeping bag.

Keep these things in mind when looking for the perfect sleeping bag for you.

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