Friday, July 1, 2016

Our First Tent Camping Experience

Earlier in June we embarked on a new adventure.  TENT CAMPING!   Two summers ago we enjoyed a wonderful time camping in a borrowed pop-up camper but this was our first experience sleeping in a tent as a family.  We loaded up our very full van and headed to Land Between the Lakes in Western Kentucky for a new adventure.  It was wonderful.  

One of the neatest aspects of our trip was the fact that Nina & Poppy Steve (Brandon's parents) were able to meet up with us!  (They live a good 10 hours away from us so this was a real treat.)  We had so much spending time with them.  We stayed at Hillman Ferry Campground and I would definitely stay there again.  

Hillman Ferry Campground has a lovely beach with an area roped off for swimming.  The kids enjoyed playing in the sand and I even took them swimming in the lake.  I have been swimming many times in a lake but I think this was my children's first real time swimming in a lake.  (The closest lake to us no longer allows swimming.)  Brandon and I also enjoyed walking around the campground together.

Land Between the Lakes is also home to The Elk & Bison Prairie.  Although we didn't see any elk while we were there, it was so neat to see so many bison up close and personal.  It reminded me a lot of the summer I spent living on a Lakota Native American Reservation as a missionary.  The kids were enthralled with the bison.

One of the most memorable parts of our trip was when we were startled to find intense winds ripping through the campground.  We stayed very close to the water and I was blown away by just how powerful the winds were.  I woke up and the first thing I remember thinking was, "Oh no.  We didn't stake the tent!"  Brandon and I were in a frantic rush to stake the tent before the storm blew in.  Thankfully we were able to stake the tent right as the wind really began to pick up.  I was so surprised (and thankful) that Eli & Eva slept right through it!  I still can't believe they didn't wake up.

The water was simply stunning.  If only we would have had a way to take our kayaks along with us!  Maybe next time.

We also really enjoyed the Woodlands Nature Station (not pictured).  Eli was thrilled to see that they even had Bald Eagles which are currently his favorite animal.

Before heading home we all enjoyed a hearty lunch at the Kentucky Dam Village State Park Lodge restaurant.  It was fantastic and I am sure we will be visiting there again the next time we are in the area.   

Overall our first tent camping experience was definitely a success and very memorable!  I hope that tent camping turns into a yearly tradition for the Emerson family.  (Especially since we are now the proud owners of a tent and many camping supplies.)  The kids are already talking about our next camping trip!

Have you ever been tent camping with your family?  

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