We finally got a weekend away to go camping as a whole family. It was much needed. Being Labor Day weekend, we didn't even bother trying to find a spot at a campground. We headed to Covenant Park Bible Camp on Park Lake where a good friend of ours is the director. He lets us pitch our tent on the camp grounds. Since it was a bit cold the first night he even let us stay in an empty cabin. But the next day, the tent went up.
We spent one day up on the North Shore, hiking around Gooseberry Falls. We got off to a rough start--frustrations over a confusing GPS unit we got at the park for geocaching, disagreements over where to go, basic poor communication. We've often had "rough spots" while camping. Ask me sometime about camping on our honeymoon.
I heard recently in a sermon a quote by some Christian psychologist, if I remember correctly (I didn't write it down, so you're going to have to hope my brain is recalling the details correctly), saying that camping is one of the best bonding activities for families. The pastor reflected on that probably being true because of all the things that tend to go wrong while camping. It's usually rain for us (which held off until we were driving home).
But every camping trip--even our honeymoon with its disasters--is a good memory for me. The issues that arise are never bigger than the fun times and the beauty of God's creation. Often those rough spots bring us together--hopefully learning to relate better, forgive and admit faults. Anyway, the time at Gooseberry Falls was good. We enjoyed the falls and time along the shore.
The boys love time in a tent--even if it was a cool weekend. Campfires, s'mores and seeing the stars come out add to the appeal of camping for the boys. So, as summer unofficially ends, I'm dreaming of camping trips next year (and maybe another one or two this fall if we can fit them in). I believe camping is a far better way to build family memories than most vacation alternatives. Even if it's not, I'll be going again.