A Night of Camping
Full disclosure, I am not a big fan of camping. I’ve grown accustomed to
the comforts of my bed, running water, and lack of insects in the house.
But when you have children sacrifices must be made.
My three boys–Avery, who is 6, Brendan and Caden, 3 year old twins–and
also my wife Christy, have wanted to go camping for quite some time.
Needless to say I didn’t have much of a choice.
We’d heard about camping just off the beach at Assateague and thought
that it sounded like a cool place for the boys’ first real camping trip. The
beach is right there–the boys love the beach–and there’s also a bath house
right next to our campsite. Yay! Running water!
So that’s what we did. Just before school started up for Avery we went for
a one night camping trip to Assateague.
After crossing the Verazzano Bridge and arriving on the island we check in
at the ranger station to get to our campsite. I was informed by the friendly
lady behind the counter that there are wild horses on the island, so be sure
to not leave any food out, or in our tent, because they will come in. Ok,
food stays in the car, got it! Now let’s go pitch our tent.
Almost immediately the boys were ready to hit the beach, so we hurried to
get the tent set up before things get ugly. Lucky for us the cool ocean
breeze and pleasant water temperature was perfect for extinguishing the
potential of flaring tempers.
When the boys weren’t trying to outrun the waves, they were busy trying to
stand up to them. Avery mostly held his own, but the twins began to enjoy
getting knocked down by the surf. We started to suspect they were falling
We had snacks on the beach, and when Brendan and Caden were out of
the water, Avery I attempted to body surf the waves. It was a blast.
Finally, it was time to begin the actual camping portion of the camping
trip. But first we head to the conveniently placed bath house to get the
pesky sand off of everyone.
Somewhat clean and sandless it’s time to start building a campfire and
get the hot dogs ready for roasting. The horses must be aware of the time
because they are wandering through the campsite. And they are not shy.
One of them was sure to let me know that we were on her turf, walking
between our car and the tent, I had to move out of the way or risk being
trampled! I’m not sure if I’m relieved that we had not yet heard of the well
No one was kicked at our campsite, but the horses did score a loaf of
bread from some neighbors who didn’t get the door closed in time.
Maybe it’s because we were starving, but the hotdogs we roasted over the
fire were some of the best I’ve had. They were followed by s’mores, a
must have with any campfire. The boys washed their food down with tiny
beers–just root beer in small cans.
With the moon nearly full and the sun long gone it was time for the boys to
hit the sack. In our early stages of camping we haven’t graduated to cots
or air matresses yet, so stuck with the ground, which is not the most
comfortable of surfaces to sleep on. However it doesn’t seem to bother
the boys as much as mom and dad.
Despite their exhaustion it takes Avery, Brendan, and Caden some time to
fall asleep, but it is inevitable that they do. Before we turn in for the night,
Christy and I get to sit around the campfire for a bit, which we’ve kept
going since our delicous dinner of roasted hot dogs.
A couple times during the night we had some visitors. Those wild horses
were back, and thought for sure we’d look up and see one standing over
us, but they remained outside the tent. I’m glad we listened to that
friendly lady behind the counter in the ranger station. There’s no food in
The plan all along was to get up in the morning to see the sun rise over the
ocean. We knew waking up the boys was going to be risky, but just before
6am we all got up and went on the beach to see the sun come up. It was
worth it. Every sunrise is different, and I’m glad the boys got to see one. I
hope they get to see many more.
After that it was time for coffee and hot chocolate. Since we are roughing
it on this trip, we built another fire and boiled water. There were only a
couple of spills, but most of the cocoa was consumed.
The only thing we really missed was a bed, but that can easily be
remedied on the next camping trip. That’s right, I think it’s safe to say we
will be going again. The insects were not a concern, a bath house full of
running water was next door, and most important of all, the boys loved it.
Avery said it was the best day of the summer.
And that’s enough to make a camper out of me.