Roughing it in Luxury


Last week was Valentine’s Day, but sadly I didn’t get to go out on a nice romantic date with my husband because he was working out of town. Instead, he and I made plans for the weekend. A nice, romantic getaway, just the two of us…in the woods. That’s right, we went camping.

Prior to this I had only been camping once before when I was a little girl (I think I was eleven) with my dad. That was a very long time ago and, to be honest, I don’t remember all that much about it other than I had fun. So when my husband suggested we go camping this past weekend, something we have been contemplating for a while, I enthusiastically agreed. When I got home from work Friday evening we loaded up the car to near overflowing and headed out for the campgrounds of Ginnie Springs.

It was well past dark when we got there, which meant that we got to set everything up with nothing but the headlights of the car, a lantern, and two flashlights to help us see what we were doing. Thankfully, my husband is a smart man and made us do a trial run of setting the tent up earlier in the week, so we at least knew how to do it. In much less time than I would have suspected, we had everything set up and hamburgers grilling over the fire. Once our bellies were full, we crawled into our sleeping bags (which were situated on top on some lovely camping cots) and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Saturday was our day of exploration and fun. After a HUGE breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, and grits, we hiked all around the woods (a dangerous endeavor for the clumsy, which is why my husband fashioned me a sturdy walking stick with his axe and machete), then went to look at the springs where we discovered we could rent kayaks. We were all over that. We got to spend two of the most peaceful hours paddling along the river taking in the beauty surrounding us. It was absolutely gorgeous. I could barely lift my arms the next day, but that was a small price to pay.

For dinner that evening we skewered chicken on palmetto sticks and grilled it over the fire. It felt very primitive, so naturally I loved it. I had pretty much spent the entire day pretending I was a number of different characters from my favorite fantasy books – Katniss, Hermione, Kahlan, Pippin (yeah, I would have been the mischievous hobbit always causing trouble). I thought that I was some grand adventurer on a noble quest of bravery, surviving on the land. Until my husband went to go take a shower. And I was alone. In the dark. In the woods.

Before I get into my story I should explain that I wasn’t actually alone in the woods. The campsites at Ginnie Springs are all right off the road, so you are surrounded by other campsites and campers, and the sites are more on the outskirts of the woods, not deep within. There were several other groups of campers near us and the property fence line was not very far behind our camp. I was perfectly and completely safe.

Now back to my noble quest of bravery.

There I was, sitting cozily by the fire texting (they had cell phones inĀ The Lord of the Rings, right?) two of my friends, one of whom I was discussing the latest episode Glee with, when I heard a rustling noise behind me. I picked up the flashlight and slowly moved its beam across the treeline.


I sat back down and continued my conversations when I heard it again. This time I was more meticulous in my examination, but I still didn’t see anything. Wait…I think…yes, a pair of eyes reflecting in the light. I trained the light on those reflected eyes and waited for the creature to move so I could see what it was. Finally, it emerged and I saw that it was a fox. The creature stared at me before running into the trees again.

I sat back down and told my two friends of the close call. One laughed at me and the other started quoting taglines from horror movies (I know! Insensitive boys, right?!). By that point my adrenaline was pumping and I started to see things in the shadows being put off by the fire. I was very tense and kept scanning the area. Then several things happened at once: I heard another rustling sound, but this time in front of me, and I saw something bounding for me out of the corner of my eye.

I screamed.

Flashlight in hand, I hopped to my feet and shone the light to my left and the approaching shadow.


I had quite literally screamed at a shadow. The fire had created a patch of light and when I shifted in my chair it created a shadow that I turned into an unknown creature coming to attack me. Yeah, I felt dumb. But I really had heard a rustling noise. My good friend Fox had circled around and was trying to gain access to our camp from the front. He stared at me for several seconds before finally giving up and scampering off for good.

I, of course, filled my friends in on what had happened and they continued in their cruel laughter and taunting. I spent the remainder of the time it took for my husband to return on my feet, revolving in a slow circle, shining the flashlight into every corner of the woods it would reach. I think it is now safe to say that I wouldn’t last five minutes in the Hunger Games.

In spite of my close call with death by shadow, I had a ton of fun on our camping trip. We are already making plans to go camping again in the near future. Maybe next time I will bring my bow so that it’s more likely the odds will be ever in my favor. ;)

Have you ever been camping? What are your favorite things to do on a camping trip? Least favorite? Any funny stories? Let me know in the comments.

12 responses »

  1. I dub thee . . . . Lady Jessica, the Shadow Slayer!! hahahahahaha I shared your fox encounter at lunch on Sunday. Everyone thanks you for the good laugh. :-))

  2. During spring break back when I was in college, my roommates and I decided to take a road trip to the Grand Canyon. We arrived late in the evening, much too late to get a spot at the camping site, but someone at a local store told us about this spot we could go to in the nearby forest. It was a national forest, or something like that, and we weren’t sure if we were allowed to camp there, but we did it anyway, prepared to explain our ignorance of these facts should anyone show up and yell at us.

    After a rather cold night – cold enough to stop my windup alarm clock from working unless I kept it in my sleeping bag with me — we woke up to discover a “National Forest – Camping Forbidden” sign within ten feet of our tents. Somehow we had missed it the night before. Glad nobody came by to yell at us.

  3. I remember a night camping in a field near a forest. Three of us after a night at the pub and a few beers (alright more than a few ha ha) settled down in our tents. Well during the night I woke to a sound of woo oo Martin, wooo oo Martin, my torch went on and called hello hello what is it what’s the matter and the call came back woo oo Martin woo oo Martin, “What do you want!” I called only to receive silence in return.

    In the morning the other two said they had not been calling me, and then I heard it again, yep you guessed it ~ A wood pigeon cooing ha ha ha woo woo Martin ha ha !!

  4. Oh my gosh, that’s hiliarious! Not a country girl I’m gathering.

    I have coyotes, foxes, skunks, rabbits, deer, possum, even an occasional bear and mountain lion in my yard quite often. The fact that a fox got so close to you is kind of cool. Good thing it wasn’t a skunk.

    I love camping! Nothing like eating food that’s been cooked over a campfire in the great outdoors! Everything tasts so much better. (If there’s a shower, your’e not really camping by the way.)

    And kayaking is a blast. You should try in on the ocean some time. That’s really fun when sea otters and stuff are scurrying around you. Good times!

    Sounds like Valentine’s Day was a blast. I’m so glad you got to enjoy it.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Definitely not a country girl! But I do like doing outdoorsy things like this – as long as I get to go back to my city girl comforts in a timely manner that is.

      There really is something about eating food that was cooked over a fire. It’s so good. I am not ready for camping sans toilet and shower. This is why it is called “Roughing it in Luxury”. ;)

      I would love to kayak in the ocean! I think I need a lot more practice before I am ready for that, though. I don’t trust myself in actual waves quite yet.

      Thanks for all the comments!

  5. My husband taunts me because I love everything outdoorsy, but can’t stand camping. I think honestly it’s the public showers/bathrooms or lack thereof. If I could just have a tent equipped with hot running water and plumbing, I’d be fine :)

    My one experience with a fox wasn’t nearly as fun as yours. When I was 10, my brother and I came face to face with a rabid one. While I was trying to figure out whether it was smarter to try to run or stay perfectly still, a farmer with a shotgun sped into the driveway, trained his gun on the fox, and told me not to move. (Don’t worry, he didn’t shoot it in front of us.) He told my dad afterward that he would have shot it had it gone for us, but as long as it kept walking away, he didn’t want to traumatize us.

    • Goodness! That is really scary. Thank goodness you had an adult there to make sure you were alright.

      You know, they do make these shower tent things that you attach to the water faucet that is present at many campsites. Eddie told me about this after we were already there. I would have much preferred this to the public showers. Next time maybe. :)

  6. Pingback: VLOG: Camping Adventure « Jessica O'Neal

  7. Totally up my alley and looks like sooo much fun. If we weren’t buried under 5 feet of snow, I’d be camping. It’s one of my fav things to do. Love seeing different places and the adventure…it’s always fun and exciting!! LOL!!

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