Last week we wrapped up our last road trip of the summer: camping in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. The weather promised to be dreadful for camping and hiking: hot, humid, and rainy throughout, but somehow we ended up having a wonderful time. Just two days ahead of time we found ourselves scrambling to buy sandals that aren’t flip flops for the two of us who didn’t have them, and lightweight raincoats for the four of us who didn’t own one (in all the right colors for the kids, of course, which complicates the matter). It was surely the muddiest camping trip we’ve ever had. The hiking though? Breathtaking. I had no idea that Ohio had such beauty in it.
We camped in the non-electric section of the campground, which is the only part I’d return to as far as camping is concerned. We ate all of the camp meals that have become so familiar to us on these trips, staying dryish under a canopy while it rained around us. I began reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to the kids on the trip which made it even more special for me somehow, as it made me think of October and Halloween and made me less sad about sending the kids back to school next week. The kids were all such enthusiastic hikers too. They loved each and every one. We all had our favorites but there wasn’t a single hike that was disappointing. The campground even had an oddly nice swimming pool, and one afternoon we drove out to Lake Logan to rent kayaks at Jonah’s request and were all glad we’d chosen to afterward. There’s something so connecting about camping, we’re all so present (even the moments when Jonah disappears to the tent to read).
Camping is SO much work; I’m reminded of that every time, especially at the end when the teardown is so much less gratifying than the setup, and then all of the work of coming home and cleaning everything to stow it for the next time. Kristin was oddly cheerful about it though, even at home. When we’re camping I always feel like we’re a good team – we step into different jobs and somehow get it all done. She doesn’t always feel like the things that require loads of work are worth the benefits but somehow camping balances out for her. She really loves it. And I love thinking about the memories the kids will have, how they’re growing up knowing how to camp, what work goes into it, and (in a good moment) that we all have to work together to make it possible.