I am a city girl with a love for fashion, dining out and, well, anything you can do in the city, but when I met my husband, a small town guy, he opened my eyes to a world of sleeping in the woods, outdoor activities and tasty camping food over a fire! We have incorporated camping into our summer activities for several years now and have found much enjoyment from just being in nature for a weekend at a time before returning to the hustle and bustle of our lives in the city.
This year our first camping trip was in Brown County State Park, just an hour or so South of Indianapolis in Nashville, IN. Despite the fact that the temperature was abnormally low during our stay, we enjoyed two nights of camping with great company!
I am not sure what I like best about our camping experiences - the hiking? the fire? the food? ... there is something so relaxing and calming about being outside in nature. It gives me time to think and veg out for a bit. Brown County State Park is beautiful! There is a campground inside the park, hiking and mountain biking trails galore as well as horseback riding and more.
Hiking is quite soothing for me. I enjoy just walking around in the woods looking at the trees and listening to the wind and the birds. During this particular trip, I hiked a 2.2 mile trail twice. This trail winded through trees, a creek and had several changes in incline. It was a bit challenging but still very calming.
I had to snap a photo of myself on the trail because it was just such a beautiful day!
Hanging out around the fire is another part of camping that brings me closer to nature. The fire is necessary for warmth, cooking and has a knack for enhancing conversation. Half the fun (and work) of camping revolves around building and maintaining the fire. My husband is the fire master and highly enjoys this part of the camping experience.
The wildlife around the park is always unpredictable. We always have to be on the look out for raccoons looking to steal our food throughout the night - during this trip a raccoon somehow unzipped by sister-in-laws backpack and stole peanut butter crackers! The first night we camped we heard some type of animal brush by our tent and the next morning my dog discovered this deer antler! It was pretty neat!
My husband and nephews, along with the pup, went on a search for deer tracks to see if they could find another antler - they only found one track but had great fun tracking the animal - I love this picture of the boys!
A good portion of our experience is always spent on cooking. We like to try new recipes on each trip and sometimes think we eat better camping than we do while at home! Breakfast usually consists of bacon, sausage, eggs and coffee slow cooked over the fire. It is a great way to start our day.
During this trip we cooked hot dogs for lunch, chicken kabobs for dinner one night and marshmallows for dessert, of course! The first night we cooked foil packs of cubed steak, shrimp, red onions, red potatoes, banana peppers, lemon pepper marinade and a bit of salt and pepper. This concoction was my husband's masterpiece, and it was delicious! We had never tried shrimp over the fire and this combination turned out to be extremely flavorful! We prepared individually-sized foil packs for each person prior to leaving for our trip. To cook, we simply put the foil packs directly on the fire to cook. After 20-30 minutes, dinner is served!
I sometimes can't believe that I enjoy camping as much as I do - like I said, I have always been a city girl through and through. I attribute my change in attitude to my husband who has encouraged me to try the things that he finds pleasure in and then make up my own mind if it is an experience that I enjoy. I discovered, with his help, this particular idea of allowing myself to just be - be peaceful, be with nature, be active, be relaxed ... it is a feeling and an experience that I will continue to find pleasure in for years to come!