Summer camping trips can be a great source of memoiries. Here’s a story of one trip a friend took with her family:
During the late summer of 2007, my husband, David and I, along with our kids, Eli (7) and Zoey (4), decided to try camping with our dogs. We chose Sylvan Lake, outside of Eagle, Colorado (about 3 ½ hours from home) as our destination.
Taking Koda, our border collie, and Sunny, our Australian shepherd, meant driving two vehicles – my husband’s truck to haul all the camping gear, and my Subaru Outback, to transport the dogs. Koda, riding in the back of my car, began drooling instantly, but made it as far as the Wal-Mart parking lot before throwing up.
The dogs’ first taste of camping was being tethered to the picnic table by their leashes. Not used to being tied up, Koda kept knocking over the water bowl and getting hopelessly tangled every few minutes.
That night in the tent, we listened to the raccoons struggling to undo the bungee cords on the cooler. (I think they were swearing.) A thunderstorm rolled through. A trembling Sunny curled up on my head, vibrating uncontrollably. An equally nervous Eli provided running commentary. “It’s raining again.” “It’s right above us!” “It’s moving on now.” This was repeated throughout the night as wave after wave of thunder, lightning, and rain passed over our tent. Nobody slept well.
The next day, we tied the dogs to long lines secured with stakes. They were not happy, but seemed resigned to this new life and the fact that we had given up our comfortable home to live outdoors and sleep in a fabric hut. The second night was pretty much the same with Sunny shivering on my pillow.
With more rain the following day and reports of severe weather on the radio, we decided to cut the trip short. Dave told me to leave with the kids and dogs; he would pack up and follow in the truck. Koda drooled in the back of the car. We made it as far as the gas station in Eagle before he threw up.
The kids were fast asleep as we pulled into our garage at 8:05 pm. I let Koda and Sunny out of the car. Koda looked green and was practically kissing the ground. Sunny was doing her happy dance. They couldn’t wait to get into the house.
Over the course of the trip, we broke a tent pole, the raccoons– having mastered the bungee cords–ate our Balance bars, chocolate, and the worms we brought for bait. The wind blew the parking pass off my dashboard and I had to buy another two-day pass. I lost my sleeping bag on the way home when the gear box on top of my car popped open on the highway.
Ultimately, though, we all agreed the trip had some fun moments despite all the mishaps and bad weather. The next year, we went back to Sylvan lake with the dogs. We got rained out again, but in a less dramatic fashion. The year after that, we went back – without the dogs – and had great weather and an excellent time.
Sorry, Sunny and Koda. You’re camping days are over!