30 Before 30: #25 Camping = Done!

I can officially cross off my first 30 Before 30 item…camping!

I’ve been “party camping” before, but one of my requirements for truly camping was the lack of bathrooms, and well…there was no bathroom this time. There was also no electricity, food was cooked on rods or in a cask iron skillet held/placed over the fire, and I froze my tush off while trying to sleep. Perhaps that means I need a better sleeping bag? So other than hiking in and out of our camp site, I was told this was considered real camping. I’ll take it!

My friend Nicole from Omaha was down for Memorial Day weekend and both of us were really looking forward to getting out of the city. As soon as she arrived in town and I got off work, we south of St. Louis to join seven other friends and stay at a campsite along the Meramec River. It was quite the drive actually to even get to the camp site. My car wouldn’t have made it, so I had to park it in the closest town and be picked up by our friend with an SUV. I knew there was a reason for those big, honkin’ SUVs.

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Since the campsite was on a piece of property owned by one of our friend’s family, there was a raised pavilion there that we took full advantage of.

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We had arrived at the campsite right before the sun started setting and was able to take advantage of the golden hour down the river’s bank. Nicole, who has a stress fracture in her tibia, was a camping champ with her crutches. The crutches situation caused quite a giggle fit every time nature called. Thank goodness for head lamps.

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It ended up being a full moon that night, so a few of us made a short trek down to the river to try skipping rocks and get a closer look at the steam rising off the water. Sadly, my photos of that time didn’t really turn out. :(

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It was a really enjoyable evening with the group we had…sitting around the fire, music playing, having a few drinks, eating, telling stories, and lots of laughs. You know, the usual camping stuff. (I think.) Except no ghost stories. Or bears. I was actually kind of worried about bears or snakes at first. I was reassured that neither one would be bothering us.

We cooked brats and hot dogs for dinner, made banana boats and s’mores as snacks, and tested our camping cooking skills the next morning at breakfast. One of the guys wanted to try making pancakes in the cast iron skillet, and let’s just say that it didn’t go so well. Burnt parchment paper pancakes was the result of that attempt. So sausage links and the remaining brats were cooked for the hungry ones. Clearly, it takes all four of the guys to figure out how to cook something :)

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I can’t say I woke up feeling refreshed that next morning. A storm was starting to move, so we ended up packing up our stuff and heading back to the city. Other than being really cold that night after crawling into the sleeping bag, I had a fun time! I would definitely camp like that again. So with that, I’m counting my #25 item done!

—m.

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