We have become a family of campers.

This fact is fine with me, as I happily grew up in a family of campers.  I’m actually a third generation camper, and possibly a fourth.  I’ve camped in the desert, as in right smack in the middle of nowhere on government land I was free to roam to my heart’s content.  I’ve camped at Rocky Mountain National Park and Yellowstone and Mammoth Cave.  And I’ve beach camped in Galveston.

When my husband Chip crossed over the line, from non-camper to one of us, I was quite pleased.  He was skeptical at first.  Now he’s become a pro, and he even purchased a pop up trailer last year.  He loves it.

I recently came across this really cool plan Kentucky State Parks offers:

Family Adventure Quest offers prizes for photographing Kentucky State Parks and answering trivia questions related to to the parks.  Since we’re campers, daughter Allie is a photographer, and lastly, we’re always up for an adventure quest, we signed up.

Some of Allie’s work at Blue Licks State Park
Family Adventure Quest requires a team name.  After discussions and input from the fam, I had no plan.  I had almost submitted the necessary paperwork with us labeled as the Minor Keys.  We like music, we like songs in minor keys, so why not?  Then I realized there’s a band named The Minor Keys.  So…..not wanting to copy or be classified as fans of a group we know nothing of, I chose another name:
what matters most
More than at any other time in our family’s past, I currently realize nothing matters more than cherishing our time together.  Our eighteen summers are nearly up with the first kid, and the last few with the second will fly.  The times stolen away are priceless.  
Enjoying beautiful Kentucky [or wherever we end up setting up camp] is refreshing.  And we’ve developed some camping rituals as of late such as listening to NPR podcasts [This American Life, Wait Wait….Don’t Tell Me, and others].  While many outdoorsy types like to grill burgers and hot dogs, 75% of our family is vegetarian.  So…..we’ve found pasta with a store bought vodka sauce makes for a nice camping dinner.  Yes, I know…. not your typical campground fare.  But, for some reason, our kids have taken a liking to vodka sauce.  Sometimes we find a restaurant in the closest town.  We’ve tried the lodge restaurant at Blue Licks State Park.  The kids have also introduced themselves to Clif Bars, and there’s no better place to enjoy one than in the wilderness, right?
We try to hike at least one trail at every campground.  Our purpose in this is to prepare to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.  [not really, although it would be fun]  Honestly, I like hiking and I think the family humors me.  
Hiking at Green River Lake State Park

Some people, with big rig trailers, bring along televisions.  I find myself feeling sorry for folks who can’t leave the tv at home for a weekend.  Kind of like I feel sorry for people who have to play a movie in the mini van while transporting their kids across town.  But then, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of television. And the point of this entry isn’t the pitfalls of too much technology.  No……it’s simply that time away is refreshing.  Even time away from one’s shower.  
Sunset over Green River Lake

Strange as it might be to some, I’d always choose the extended camping trip over Disney World.  Who needs Gatlinburg when you’ve got the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to explore?  Give me vodka sauce in the wilderness over waiters in odd costumes any day.  There’s an old song, Silence is Golden, and it’s oh.so.true.  Just look at the above sunset.  

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