No more camping for awhile

I had my reservation booked weeks in advance, and on our day to pitch the tent, conditions were perfect--no rain in the forecast and daytime temperatures in the low 70's with evening temps in the 40's.

So a couple of weeks ago we drove up to Red Top Mountain State Park late in the afternoon and checked in at the lodge. Despite being nearly full, we were able to get a campsite with a fantastic view of Lake Allatoona. The view is much different than normal, however, as the lake is incredibly low.

Grilled hotdogs over an open fire were on the menu for dinner followed by smores for dessert. Sleep came early as we had big plans for the next day. I had a new gas stove to cook scrambled eggs & bacon on, and what is fall camping without hot chocolate? After breakfast we were then going to go on a nature hike, but first we needed a good night's sleep.

By the light of a full moon, we all trecked up to the bathrooms to brush our teeth and then climbed into our cozy sleeping beds. Everyone slowly dozed off to sleep... except for me. I heard the fall leaves rustling in the trees as the wind blew across the lake. I heard the crunch of fellow campers walking along the crushed rock path next to our campsite. I heard the metal zipper in the corner of the tent tapping against the metal teeth. I heard the polyester tent whipping in the wind. And I heard the owl, which couldn't have been but 50 feet from our tent, hooting throughout the night. The hours passed slowly: 10:00pm, 11:00pm, midnight, 1:00am, 2:00am...

And then around 2:30am, my youngest daughter stood up in her pack-and-play. We got her back down, but then my oldest declared that she wasn't tired at 3:00am. "Close your eyes and go to sleep," was our retort. By 3:30am, I had a full mutiny on my hands. After consultation with my wife, whose idea of 'roughing it' is staying in a Holiday Inn, I asked, "Who wants to go home?" It was unanimous, except for me. I wasn't about to pack up camp in the middle of the night and wake up other campers. So I loaded the family into the minivan, and they left for home. I then had the good fortune of falling to sleep and not waking up until my wife called at 10:30!

I did get to cook that breakfast and drink hot chocolate, albeit alone. I packed up the gear, and was especially careful in folding up the tent, knowing it will be several years before I try to push camping on the family again.