Last weekend brought fantastic weather to the area, and so we decided to take an impromptu Saturday night camp trip out to Clinton Lake State Park in Kansas, specifically the Rockhaven area. So often, when we talk about camping with friends, they express how they find it difficult or unpleasant. I'm pretty convinced that this comes from not having the right gear, or not knowing how to camp with ease. When I observe other people's sagging tents or a layout of snacks on the picnic table, I see a damp tent interior (dew will soak the interior of your tent if the two layers aren't tight and separated, easily done with proper set up) and a bunch of racoons and mice (keep food sealed up and in a container). A few easy fixes- like putting away chairs beneath the picnic table at night to keep them dry, using a self-inflatable mattress to prevent sleeping on rocks, and ventilating your tent will make camping much more enjoyable. Learning how to build a proper fire (without the cardinal sin of lighter fluid) and bringing along proper dish-cleaning materials will also bring amazing rewards.
We really enjoyed our time in the woods, and even had a visit from friends who live in Lawrence and brought their kiddos out for a campfire dinner and smores. We took a short mile-long hike through the woods in the late afternoon, and had a lovely time relaxing with coffee and pancakes in the morning. There really is nothing like fresh air and time outdoors to recharge the soul.