Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Have Tent, Will Camp

Camping is one of my favorite childhood memories. Heading out to a remote location, setting up camp alongside a creek, river, or lake. Building a campfire, roasting marshmallows, watching the stars at doesn't get much better than that.

Suprisingly, it's something I haven't done a lot with my own kids. This year, I set out to get at least one camping trip in. We live in an area made up of 75% national forests and miles upon miles of water. With 300 days of sunshine per year and little precipitation, Klamath is perfect for camping types.

I'll start by saying things have changed since I was a kid. Growing up, Mom and Dad selected a remote spot (usually one my dad found while working) and we set up camp there. No neighbors, no predetermined firepits, and no store to rescue you if you forgot something important. As an adult just getting started camping "on my own," I decided an established campground would be a good place to start. A tip for the beginner like me - start early. Reservations fill up fast!

I finally settled on Howards Prairie. According to many "experts" the fishing is good, the campground is fantastic, and it's close yet far enough. My review in a few minutes. . .

We headed out Friday afternoon. In my typical fashion, our camping party grew. My cousin Heather, her boyfriend Neil, daughter Jaelie, and Neil's nephew joined us. And if that wasn't enough extra people, I decided to take along my niece and nephew plus Rob and I's kids. Yikes!

The lake was absolutely breathtaking and I am pleased to report - not a single mosquito bite amongst all of us.

Now for my review of Howard's Prairie.

  • easy to make reservations online
  • clean and well-taken care of
  • nice bathroom facilities and showers available
  • beautiful lake
  • marina for fishing supplies and boat rentals
  • store with soft serve ice cream
  • Too many people!! With 300 or so campsites, it felt like I was in a small town.
  • Campsites packed together.  I could hear our neighbor snoring. We were too close
  • Campsites along the water made it hard to the lakeshore without feeling as though you disrupted someone
  • Lots of traffic (again probably due to all the people)

In an attempt to find some seclusion, we drove about 2 miles down the road to the Grizzly campground and were pleased to one. There wasn't a single soul except us on the lakeshore. (Until the overweight, middle aged guy showed up in the speedo. Seriously. But don't worry - I spared you the picture!)

I forgot how much work camping is (but totally worth it). After setting up the tents, setting out the chairs, making dinner - it was finally time for the very best part of camping - the campfire!

Our camping trip was fast and furious and 100% fun. The kids swam, played in the water, fished, ate, ate, and ate some more. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the weekend.

Marcus getting ready to go fishing
The girls soaked up some sun. The big girls were kind enough to let the little girls hang out with them.
Marc and Zach got some quality canoe time in.
We treated all the kids to ice cream at the little store.
Aw, love this kid.

I'm really not sure what they are doing but it makes me laugh.

Nate enjoyed playing with cousin Paige.
I'm so glad we went. It was a great time building some memories. It also gave me a long, long list of things to get for next time. And things to leave at home. And ideas for making our next camping adventure even better!

I'd love to hear tips for making camping a great time. Recipes, shortcuts, tips I may not have thought of. Spill the beans - give up your camping secrets.


  1. tips:
    don't ever pack raw eggs. buy egg beaters instead!
    Pre-grate cheese for taco night and spaghetti night at home... less dishes to clean and less work while your new romance novel is calling your name.
    bring peanuts - it attacts squirrels and birds which are fun to watch... I would suggest throwing the peanuts in the neighbors site for added pleasure.
    Be aware of camp robbers - both the birds and the teen boys ... the birds take things that are shiney and the teen boys take beer. lol.
    Bring a spool of rope to build a clothes line for wet towels and swim suits.
    and lastly: pray you dont have to pee in the middle of the night while tent camping! ;)

  2. Oh good one about the eggs. I've never thought of that!