Hitting the road in a moment’s notice for an impromptu camping weekend is easy for us to do. We are a family of five who are always ready with our gear organized, compacted and stored in a convenient location. In a matter of fifteen minutes of deciding to leave we can have the car completely packed up. This includes all the essentials plus little luxury items that make camping with three girls six and under a little easier. The only thing we ever need to grab is a change of clothes or two, but even then it takes little time thanks to our designated camping drawer. Camping is second nature to us. When we are not in school or working we are always out in the wilderness pitching a tent and roasting marshmallows. My girls can probably start a fire quicker than some grown adults.
When the girls and I signed up for a camping weekend through Girl Scouts I had no idea how difficult it would be to go through all of our gear. Dividing out only the needs for the twins and me was frustrating. We did not need much just sleeping bags, our spare tent, and tarp. I opted for taking different bags outside of our normal camping packs because we were not dependant on packs to make it through the night. Truthfully this trip was a trial run for a future camping event and wouldn’t even require half the gear we would usually bring since we would have access to a kitchen and bathroom. 90 percent of the girls have never even slept under the stars so bringing hardcore packs seemed like a waste. We even brought pillows.
There were twelve girls and two other adults with us. They all divided up between three tents with my girls sleeping with me. I ended up collecting an extra kid in my tent. She had never even seen a tent fully erected and was homesick and overly emotional when she could not figure out little things. My girls were coaching her through the experience, sharing their knowledge and some of the little things we learned to bring with us, like glow sticks. After the giggles settled we finally fell asleep around 11:00. It was a warm night and all the windows were zipped open to allow for a nice cool breeze to flow through the tent.
I woke up startled from a sound of water forcefully hitting the tent. I assuming it was a quick rain storm passing through so I laid my head back down. It stopped within seconds. Then returning but this time I felt moisture on my face. I discovered that the sprinkler system had popped from the ground at precisely the right angle between our tent and tent roof spraying a steady stream directly into the tent. I did not feel it at first because the girl we had taken in was directly in the line of the spray. She had quickly sealed herself inside her sleeping bag as I hastily unzipped the door yelling at all the girls to get out. As I threw all of our gear onto the picnic bench the troop leader ran inside to turn off the sprinkler system.
The inside of the tent had puddled. Most of our stuff had not been affected due to the way we positioned ourselves in the tent but our guest was drenched. She served as a water shield soaking up the initial cycles of the sprinkler. Feeling horrible that this little scout just had an extreme mishap on her first camping trip, I found myself with a sly smile. It reminded me of summer camp and how common it was to pull pranks on other’s bunks and tents. The idea of mischief filled my head while we moved our belongings inside the community Girl Scout building making make shift beds out of pads and fabric that we had planned to use for crafts in the morning. We settled down and I went to bed again around 3:00 am with a smile on my face. At least we offered the scout a valuable camping lesson: Always be prepared for anything when camping.