No air conditioning for me during camping trip in 100-degree heat wave
Updated: September 3, 2012 1:06PM
Last weekend, my husband Bill, my son Andrew and I went on our sixth annual “Dubin and Friends” camping trip with seven other local families.
Although I always say I loathe camping (since I’m the extreme opposite of outdoorsy), I actually look forward to our camping expedition each year. As the date comes closer, however, I do tend to freak out and come up with excuses of why we should all cancel the trip. And this year was no exception.
A week before the big camping trip, my just-as-outdoorsy-as-me friend, Esmerelda, who always comes with us, called. “Did you hear the weather report for next week?” she asked, sounding very panicky. “You’d better check it out.”
“Oh, my gosh,” I exclaimed as I saw the report. It said it was supposed to be 104 degrees the first day, 100 degrees the second day and on the last day a cold front would move in and it would only be 99 degrees. This was a true weather emergency and there was no way I could camp under these horrific conditions. Esmerelda and I looked into alternative plans in case the weather forecast remained the same.
“You and Esmerelda can stay here while the rest of us go on the trip,” said my husband Bill, annoyed at this year’s avoidance plan.
“Bill, this year I really don’t think we should go,” I said with a very serious tone. “People die in these conditions.”
“Susan, I’ve been camping in deserts, the bottom of the Grand Canyon, mountain ranges… and I survived.”
“Bill, this isn’t just about survival,” I said. “I want to have fun. And if it’s 100 degrees outside, I might just spend the entire 3 days alone in the car with the air-conditioning blasting.”
“You’ll be fine,” Bill assured me.
As the week went on, the forecast did vary a little. Sometimes it said 100 degrees and no rain and sometimes it said 100 degrees with rain. I totally expected all the other families to call up and cancel due to heat-fear but Esmerelda and I seemed to be the only ones concerned. Finally, although Esmeralda’s family cancelled, I had to accept the fact that we (and the other seven families) were, in fact, going camping.
So, we headed out to Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. Right before we arrived at the campground, I checked the weather on my phone. When I read “89 degrees,” I was relieved. Then, I read, “Feels like 112.” OMG! I ignored the daunting temperature and tried to have a positive attitude as we entered our site. Fortunately for us, our campsite was shaded in the later afternoon, so it only “felt like” 108!
Turkey Run State Park was actually wonderful and had plenty of activities to keep all of our families busy and cool. There was hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, a swimming pool, an air-conditioned nature center and loads more!
On one of the days, I suggested we go on a bird-watching hike led by two women at the nature center. (I must have had heat-related amnesia because I really don’t like hiking, due to bugs and other possible animal sightings.) There were about 40 people on this journey and we literally saw no birds. The leaders kept saying, “Oh, do you hear that sound? That’s a such and such bird up at the tippy-top of that tree over there.” Then people would “ooh” and “ahh” and point but I didn’t see anything and I’m sure they didn’t either.
After a while, we ditched the bird ladies and decided to try one of the other nature trails. We ended up on a trail where I normally would never have gone. It was called The Punch Bowl and the walk to it was incredibly beautiful. I actually climbed rocks and stepped through rocky streams! And there was not a strange animal or creepy insect anywhere! It was definitely a successful hike.
The strangest part about the trip was that at all the various campsites everyone was holding their cell phones, iPads and iTouches. And instead of looking at the most beautiful, clear sky one could ever imagine, with stars so plentiful you could even see more clusters of stars behind the stars, people sat around their campsites playing on their various gadgets. I wondered if this should be allowed but even I found myself texting Esmerelda to let her know the weather was fabulous and I was more than just surviving. All of the families had a blast and can’t wait for next year’s camping trip.
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