Bought The Tent and Took Off

June 25, 2012 changed the way the Foreman family would vacation forever.  We spent 2 weeks camping in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.  When we first started talking of going to YNP and GTNP I was planning the typical hotel, cabin vacation, but my son kept pitching other ideas like tent camping.  I was dead set against it because of bears and other wildlife.  After plenty of research and reading on how to camp with bears my husband and I decided to go for it.  We did the typical Texas travel trailer camping as the kids were growing up, but Texas camping isn’t the same as camping up north.  We have come along way and learned so much about how and what to bring, and do when camping.  Our first trip we didn’t know much and made a lot of mistakes, but the memories we made were the best.  Heres a snippet from the journal I kept.

“We went to Walmart and bought our groceries, tent, cooler, skillet, a roll of foil and spatula. We loaded up the stuff in our Ford Flex rental car and headed out to Yellowstone.”

Yes that is all we took with us!  Needless to say we were minimal camping!  I can’t explain the excitement as we set up our little 30$ Ozark trails tent.

Journal entry: June, 25, 2012

Emily was reading the instructions and we put up the tent. Brady was playing with the rubber mallet we had bought with the tent.  After driving the stakes in the ground he turned to Emily and said “REDNECK THOR” and swung down and the rubber part of the mallet flew off and almost hit Emily. Her response was “don’t ever do that again”.  We still laugh about that happening.

We learned so much that first year.  

  • We learned to make sure and buy matches or have a way to start a fire so you don’t have to borrow from the neighbors.
  • Invest in camp mats and leave the air mattress  at home.
  • Good sleeping bags are essential!
  • Be prepared for any kind of weather.
  • Good hiking shoes are a must along with hiking socks (merino wool is our preference)
  • If you might need it….take it!

I have decided to share the knowledge we have learned over the years camping.  Each year we have learned more and experienced do’s and don’ts and some of our stories are just plain hysterical.  Many of my friends have asked me, what do I need to do to go camping? I have decided to blog about our adventures and what we do, and what NOT to do! I hope you enjoy our adventures, and I hope it inspires you to take one of your own.

I will leave you with a snippet from my journal on our first camping vacation.

June 26, 2012, I woke up early (5:00 a.m.) and it was freezing. Brady had scooted up on our air mattress during the night.  The poor kids sleeping bags were directly on the tent floor.  I wasn’t thinking of the ground being frozen all winter. Emily was curled up in a little ball with her teeth chattering.  It was 34 degrees! Instead of breakfast (because we had forgotten matches) we dressed in the bathrooms because they were warm, snacked and drove to the gift shop.  Emily bought a fleece blanket and Brady bought a beanie hat that looked like a stuffed bear.  That night they wrapped up in double layers.  Emily wrapped her blanket around her feet and brady had his hat on.

Needless to say research the weather before you go.  Freezing that first trip made such an impression on my 12 year old son that anytime we go on a trip he is more than prepared.  He takes jackets, rain gear, shorts, swim trunks and everything in-between.

These are some of our  best memories! It has been so much fun looking back over my journals from vacation.  I am amazed at how far we have come.  Look for more about how to camp and what you need in the coming weeks.

Blessing, Cathy