We have never been big campers. We’ve always wanted to be; it’s just that life has gotten in the way. But now that we’re in Wyoming, we’ve decided we must make this a priority.
We recently got a tent, big enough to hold our family of seven, and since we’re on summer vacation, we decided to make a quick camping trip over the weekend. My husband was gone for his annual army training, but I was determined I could create a memorable adventure for my kids. My 18-year old is back in Chattanooga, so our sole boy was our youngest, at nine.
But we women are invincible, right?!
We loaded up our jeep, in 80-degree, calm weather, in our shorts and T-shirts, and made the quick 45-minute drive to Medicine Bow National Forest. We found a perfect spot, on the top of a hill, and with plenty of firewood and a nice fire pit, I had the fire going quickly, and my teenagers had the tent set up in no time flat. We opted to put the extra rain tarp over the top, for good measure, even though no rain was in the forecast.
We enjoyed an evening of hotdogs, hamburgers, and smores, and just being outside. We heard a pack of coyotes at one point. Around 9, noticing the bright stars and rising moon, we decided to take the tarp off, so we could fall asleep, seeing all of God’s beauty through our roof. And so we did.
Then, around midnight, we woke up to tornado-like winds and freezing cold temps. Well, it probably wasn’t a tornado, but when you’re in a tent, on the top of a hill, in Wyoming, it sure feels like it. We spent the next five hours trying to stay warm, and hoping we wouldn’t blow away.
Around 5, I couldn’t feel my toes, and couldn’t sleep, so I got up to start the fire again and make some coffee. My chair blew into the fire every time I got up to get more firewood. My precious coffee press, full of hot coffee blew over. And the sun just wasn’t warming me like it was supposed to. The car thermometer said it was 37 degrees outside.
Around 6:30, everyone was awake, and we bundled into the jeep, with the heater running, trying to figure out how we were going to strike our site quickly. Gone were plans to have a great breakfast of bacon and eggs and pancakes. We just needed that tent down and the fire out, with as little time outside as possible.
So within a few minutes, and a few breaks, to warm up, my girls and I grabbed stuff, then took the tent down, which is really quite difficult and humorous in Wyoming winds, had it all stuffed in the jeep, and were on our way home by 7:30.
Lesson learned: no matter how great the view is, pick a more sheltered camping spot, and for the love of Pete, keep the tarp on.
Here are some more Tennessee and Wyoming differences:
- This morning, rush hour in downtown Cheyenne was crazy. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, stop and go, everyone in a hurry to get where they needed to go, inching forward, merging, waiting. It was so stressful and headache-inducing for all six of us commuters at that traffic light.
- Riverbend will host Foreigner, Roger Alan Wade, Eric Church, Band Perry and Lauren Alaina. On the OTHER hand, Cheyenne Frontier Days will host Journey, Loverboy, Brad Paisley, Zac Brown, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Jr. Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Pat Benatar and Rodney Atkins. hmmm. not to diss Chatty, but I think we've got the better deal.
- Going to bed, with rain on my windows, is something of a treasure. It only happens here for about two days on the High Plains Desert. And I'm LOVING it.
- Getting the weekly soccer update email for a double-header on Sunday, and reading “it’ll only take 1 ½ hours to the first one, then an hour to the second one.”
- A phone call: “oh, sorry, I was checking on the chickens, and missed your call.”…“no problem, just calling to say our horses got out, so if our daughter shows up at your house, please let her know where we are.” Yup, I love it here.
- Rain and thunderstorms, which I can SEE and long for, just flit off in the distance. Guess that's what I get for being able to see 60+ miles in every direction.
- Not as many options for seeing Avengers on opening night…family headed home, cause it was sold out.
- All of my favorite baseball teams are blacked out on t.v., so I'm reduced to watching the stats online. But the Braves and O's won tonight, so all is good.
- It's taken me a long time to realize it, but the sun comes up a whole hour earlier here than it does in Chattanooga.
- Camping in June is QUITE a bit different. Temps in the 80’s and utter calm when setting up, turn into temps in the 30’s and gale-force winds in the middle of the night. Note to self: next time, remember it’s not the best idea to set up camp on a hilltop, even if the view is magnificent.