INTRO: One of our adventures, as Georgia’s Official Outdoors Explorer Crew, is camping every month of the year! We’ll experience every season in Georgia’s great outdoors, exploring our state’s campgrounds and backcountry campsites accessible only by hiking or paddling. Every camp we make will lead us to new discoveries about nature and ourselves.
The Game of Life and Twister. Unusual camping gear, but these are the two primary pieces of equipment I load into the car for our first 2015 campout. The forecast calls for freezing temps and near-constant drizzle. While that’s not entirely hopeless, it’s less than ideal for boosting morale on Episode One of a 12-part camping series.
I opt to ease into the resolution by staying in a yurt. It’s called, “glamping.” Instead of huddling in one of our tents, we’ll camp in style. The yurt offers warmth, comfortable beds and relieves us of pitching the tent in the rain. It also provides a place for us to spread out the Twister mat and play games into the night.
We venture out to explore Fort Yargo State Park, but the real magic happens when we come back to the yurt to shed our boots and coats for our favorite soft blankies – another luxury that’s usually replaced by sleeping bags on a camping trip. I use the camp stove to cook supper, on a deck overlooking the lake, as the boys warm up in the yurt. The water reflects brilliant pinks and the sun begins to set behind the trees. Then, as if Mother Nature had called them by name, my boys join me to glimpse the last rays of a sun that’s been hiding behind clouds all day.
After supper, the boys set up The Game of Life. A game that usually seems to take forever flew by in the blink of an eye – much like life. I watch as my boys encounter obstacles, setbacks and triumphs moving their little plastic cars around a game board that represents a lifetime. I’m hoping that they’re building enough resilience and resourcefulness to last them a lifetime, in the time we have together. And, just as quickly as it began, the Game of Life is over and we move on to the next big thing.
Pulling out the twister mat, I know I’m about to get schooled in the ways of a master. My Crazy Horse is as double-jointed and limber as they come. Despite bending my body in unnatural ways, they both kick my butt at Twister with some wild contortionist poses. Spending this time, just goofing off with my boys and taking it easy, is the highlight of this “glamp out.”
Sleep comes easy, in a pitch black yurt, on a rainy night in Georgia. But, morning comes early, at camp! We all enjoy a restful sleep on the futons and awake refreshed to the songs of early birds catching worms.