Katy and the kids chose to work on setting up the tents while I marched off to find a source of firewood for the night. Following a well-worn horse trail I found a downed tree that seemed perfectly seasoned for using in a fire. After spending around thirty minutes using the composite handled ax chopping the limbs from the felled tree, I used my shirt to serve as a sling to carry the wood back to the camp site.
The main tent, an eight-person, was already set up, but Kim said I would have to do the two-man Army tent. Connor was excited to get the chance to sleep in the two-person Army tent. It was also a chance to test the Army mummy sleeping bags Katy & I had just bought.
With the majority of firewood gathered we decided it was time for some dinner so the kids rounded up a few sticks to cook hotdogs on while I used the cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly to start the fire.
The popping and cracking of the fire was almost hypnotic as the sun began to sink below the horizon. The shadows of the trees stretched further and further until the sun disappeared, covering everything in darkness. The orange glow of the fire seemed to conquer only a minute part of the darkness as we readied the sticks for the kids to cook their hotdogs over the flames.
It did not take long for the temperature to drop and the fire only allowed a small circle of warmth against the coming chill. Connor decided he was tired and wanted to go to bed after dinner, though I think it was more that he wanted to sleep in the new tent. Kim, Katy, and I stayed up longer, Kim going to bed about an hour later. Katy and I sat by the fire, keeping it stoked and talking.
It was sometime after eleven that we decided to head to bed, her in the big tent with Kim and me in the small tent with Connor. As soon as I lay down I knew something was very wrong, my stomach started some hellacious cramping that nearly doubled me over. I won’t go into great detail but it was a very long and painful night that carried over through most of the weekend.
Even with the ending it had, the first part of the camping was great. It was nice to be away from everything and not have to worry about appointments and schedules and since it was a friend of mines property, there were no other campers and no disruptions to our solitude. It was nice to just sit back and gaze up at the stars without any interference from city lights or anything else.
It reminds me sometimes of how life should be, simple and that we do not need the internet, or million dollar houses to find the happiness in life. It is family that matters.