Interesting few days surrounding Michael's birthday. For his birthday he wanted to go camping. We had bought sleeping bags, a tent, air mattress etc. over Christmas, but hadn't used them yet. So on the recommendation of a local ER doc we went and checked out a park called the Devil's Den just South of Fayetteville. It looked wonderful and we booked a tent site next to a pretty little creek.
The big day arrived and we loaded up the truck and took off. The campground was mostly empty as it was a Tuesday during the school week. We unloaded and got to work. I'm glad Sarah and I work well together as the tent and camp site went up without a problem. We got almost everything ready and then decided to head out on a hike. When we returned we would set up the fire, cook some dinner and then get the air mattress set up.
We did the Devil's Den trail. 1.5 miles with some small hills. Takes us past twin falls and we all know that Sarah and I are suckers for a good water fall. Things took a turn for the difficult pretty quickly. Max didn't want to go on a hike. Michael didn't want to go on a hike either, but realized it was inevitable and at least went quietly. The fussing and tears started. We pressed on anyway. There are some neat geological features here where layers of rock have collapsed upon each other and left behind unusual shapes and crevices. Many of which had fun names like, 'Imp's Leap', 'Devil's Theater' and the like. Probably named by the imaginative young C.C.C. men who developed the campground years ago. Eventually we reached the twin water trickles that they called 'Twin Falls'. Apparently they are dry most of the year and the only reason we got to see any water was because it rained the day before. Oh well. We reached a cutoff where it was only a hundred yards or so to the camp site and Sarah took the boys back while I hiked over to the truck and drove it back.
Then it was dinner time. We went back and I started the fire, with Michael's help, while Sarah prepped the food for cooking. That night was roasted hot dogs with beans followed by roasted marshmallows and S'mores. This was a family first as none of us had ever had S'mores before. Turns out we like regular roasted marshmallows better than S'mores anyway. By this time it was getting pretty dark. So we started getting ready for bed. There was a high chance of rain with lows in the 40's. We had the rain fly on the tent. Then we went to blow up the air mattress and learned our night wouldn't be as comfy as we thought. Turns out you need a regular outlet to blow up the mattress. The built in air pump doesn't take batteries. Turns out we would be sleeping on the ground that night. Sleeping is a huge exaggeration. Between the thunder, rain and hard ground we managed around two hours of broken sleep.
We were up with the sun the next morning. Except there wasn't any sun. It was still rainy and overcast. Everything was soaked which made a morning fire more difficult. So, on two hours sleep, the decision was made to call it a day and go home. We slowly packed everything up and got on the road. Back home we let the kids, who slept better, watch a movie while we took a nap. All in all we called it a successful camping trip with some lessons learned.