On Father’s Day, dads get celebrated for all we do for our kids. New gadgets have supplanted gifts of cologne or ties. This year I was determined to make it a special day because my birthday, once again fell on Father’s Day. That double whammy gave me the opportunity to ask for a different type of present; I wanted to go camping with all five of my kids! While you might be saying, “What’s so hard about that?” Let me share that I have a blended family.
Father's Day Camping Trip
My older two kids are from my first marriage and they are both college age. I’m blessed that all my kids enjoy and love each other, yet, we have never really been camping together. Yes, my daughter has enjoyed some time with her little brothers at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, and who wouldn’t? But never have I had all my kids on a camping trip.
Do you want to know why this trip was so important to me? I truly love just about every minute I’ve spent RVing with my wife and 3 young boys. It has meant so much to our family and we have created and experienced some incredible, memorable things. While my older daughter and son have only seen those experiences through our social media or pictures, I’ve always felt a little guilty that the older two weren’t getting the same experiences or sharing in the memories with us.
This Father’s Day, I was determined to give the same gift of family memories to all my children. That gift of all of us together doing something I love would be the perfect Father’s Day gift.
I had such lofty plans, a 150-mile trek to nearby Chattanooga, TN. We would visit a few of their best local sites, while still leaving plenty of time to enjoy and relax at the campground. Since, I assume, Father’s Day would be a busy weekend of camping I made reservations well in advance. I have to say, I was very proud of myself (patting myself on my back).
Then Murphy’s Law decided to turn my trip upside down. Thank goodness RVing has taught us to be flexible in travel plans. To save money, I decided that we would move the trip back in state and take advantage of our awesome local state park, Stone Mountain. Bonus, we are members of Stone Mountain, so we enjoy discounted campgrounds fees and full FREE access to everything the park has to offer.
So, with that change, I just shifted our plans and we were all set. I planned a weekend of the typical fun things we do while camping such as hiking, swimming in the pool, a fun excursion, etc.
Hiking to the Top
Knowing the temps would reach the mid 90’s, we decided to hike to the top of Stone Mountain for Saturday morning. We gathered at the base of the walk-up trail and took the “before picture”. It had been more than 5 years since I made the trek to the top.
This is a very known and well-traveled hike. I’ll admit, I was nervous. The entire mile would be a mile up and all hard rock. I wasn’t sure if my back and knees would survive.
My wife assured me that if I made it up I could take the sky ride down if I was hurting and I was….HURTING.
Ride the Ducks…
We have always enjoyed excursions like “Ride the Ducks” tours to learn more about the area we are exploring.
So, of course, I felt compelled to take my oldest two on the ducks ride. They had never heard of Ride the Ducks let alone taken a ride. My 20-year-old son, Storm, even got to drive the duck!
I was very proud of them both for really getting into the ride loudly quacking the horns along the way.
Campfire Cooking & S’mores Anyone?
What’s a camping trip without a campfire and some s’mores? Well sometimes Mother Nature just doesn’t work with you while you are camping. This weekend she wasn’t on our side. The first night the charcoal fire got completely washed away in a thunderstorm.
The next evening, I at least got the chicken kabobs basically cooked before the skies opened up.
Finally, we were able to enjoy some campfire s’mores time.
With the temp in the 90’s each day, we certainly had plans to take a cool dip in the pool. That weekend the pool was the most popular place in the campground.
I’ve always enjoyed Father’s Day weekends. I truly believe being a father is one of the greatest honors that God has given me. To spend that weekend doing what we love to do, camping, as an entire family was priceless. The memories of all five of my kids and me hiking, swimming, and camping together will stay with me forever. With my older kids reaching the age where they are living their own lives, it was so nice to take a weekend to slow down and just be a family together; sweating together, swimming together, eating together, and just plain being together.
Father’s Day camping trips will be a new tradition in our family. I hope this weekend has given my older kids the same appreciation and love for the RV lifestyle that their dad so enjoys…
We’ll see you and your family at the campground…
Soulful RV Family Dad