A few weeks ago, Dale and I were coming back from parent’s night at school and we were talking about ways that we could spend more time together as a family. I made the suggestion that we take Alissa camping over the holiday weekend.
The whole adventure was kind of a struggle to put together from the get-go. We realized that we would likely need reservations to have a site on a holiday weekend, and we struggled to figure out how to get reservations at the area we wanted. After many phone calls, web sites, and frustrated text messages back and forth, I stumbled across what we were looking for.
Then we learned that because it was a holiday weekend, we had to pay for three nights, even though we could only stay for two. Which we didn’t mind doing, until we found out that we had to check in within 24 hours of the reservation time or we’d lose our spot. It took me three days to get on the phone with the right person to rectify that dilemma.
And of course, when the clouds parted and we had an opportunity to leave earlier than we had planned, the extra two hours we got were sapped by a “quick” trip to Wal-Mart for a few last-minute items. So far, our camping trip was not shaping up well.
We finally got on the road, make the hour drive to Lake Dillon, and got lost trying to find our camp site, burning valuable minutes of daylight we had left to avoid the ever so fun task of erecting a new tent in the dark. We didn’t make it.
The first night, we ate dinner, set up camp, made s’mores and after putting Alissa to bed, we enjoyed sharing camping stories and stories from our childhood together. We turned in for the night and froze our butts off. Turns out, in the frenzy to leave, I left all the extra blankets on the bed at home.
I awoke the next morning to Alissa itching to go fishing with daddy, the best camp coffee ever, and amazingly enough, not one mosquito bite. Day 2 was shaping up to be pretty good. We hiked down to the lake, wandered along the shore, I took pictures while Alissa played in the water and Dale tried to find a great fishing spot. We returned to camp for a light lunch, reading in the sun, and an extended family nap. We opted to head into town for ice cream and a few extra items we’d left at home instead of going fishing and returned to camp in time for dinner.
On the menu, we had hot dogs and cans of ravioli (clearly, Dale did the grocery shopping), which we planned to cook over the fire. Both camping pros, we planned to cook the ravioli the same way we’d always grown up doing: toss the cans into the fire for a bit to let them heat. As we prepared dinner, Dale toasted buns for the dogs, I discovered that we’d forgotten the ketchup, and Alissa salivated over those raviolis. The three of us huddled around the campfire when all of a sudden, we heard a loud “BOOM!” like a gun went off, and the next thing I know, I’m tackling Alissa and asking if she’s okay, as I hear the “thwep thwep thwep” of raviolis raining down on our campsite.
Both cans had exploded simultaneously, shooting raviolis 30 feet from our fire pit. By some small miracle, none of us got hurt (although we discovered the next morning that Dale’s shorts were freckled with ravioli sauce). After the shock of what had happened wore off, and the ensuing meltdown upon Alissa’s realization that there would be no raviolis, Dale pondered how it could have happened, saying it had never happened before in his life.
I took one look into the fire, saw the lid of one can laying there and said, “you got the pop-top cans, you idiot.” And we both burst into uncontrollable laughter.
Despite all the hiccups, our first family camping trip was an amazing success. And we have a story that will live through the ages that Alissa will be telling her family someday.