Camping on Hunting Island State Park: Part One

hunting island lighthouseI suppose I need to provide some background information before I begin my camping tale.

Right now some of my friends and family members are rereading that last sentence, suddenly questioning their own literacy.

See, I am not a camper.

There are several small reasons why camping is not my idea of a good time, but it’s mostly about one large, all-important reason: the subpar shower situation at most campgrounds.

Specifically, I’ve never been one for public showering facilities. I like my showers clean, warm, and hairless. Just as importantly, I’m much fonder of my own self when I’ve recently showered. Anything else brings out latent OCD tendencies and, generally speaking, tears and dry heaves.

However, I am the mother of three small people who all believe camping in an old tent far surpasses living in a house by the beach, since they’ve already been there, done that. And, we are the parents who inadvertently bait-n-switched our boys last year into joining Cub Scouts in anticipation of campouts, only to find we couldn’t make one single one of them.

So we needed to do some damage control.

In an effort to make the best of it, therefore, I hatched a plan. The plan was to travel to Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina, located on a barrier island, and camp on the beach for a weekend in September. My thinking was this: Sand is less dirty than dirt, and warm September water temperatures would mean I’d spend the better part of the day in the Atlantic anyway, thus reducing the need for showers. Yes, clearly it was by no means a perfect plan, but it was the best I could come up with, so we decided to go with it.

Except, sometimes the best-laid plans have to be…well, adjusted slightly due to unforeseen hurdles, and sometimes, you adjust so much that you end up with an entirely different plan than your original one.

This was one of those times.

In summary, in August when we tried to book a campsite for a September weekend, almost everything was booked on weekends until well into October, and when you added in our scheduling requirements, the last weekend in October became our first possible weekend. “Okay,” I tried to console myself as we committed to the weekend, “that can still be a pretty nice time of year for camping and swimming. We often still have the air conditioning on at this point in the fall.”

As Rocks for Brains I should have predicted, that weekend we happily found ourselves instead in the middle of a cold front. So there was no warmth. And there was no swimming done, except by a couple groups of Canadians who didn’t know any better.

Oh, and one other thing. Instead of camping right at the edge of the beach, we ended up several rows back. I don’t think I saw a single grain of sand on our entire site, but there was plenty of dirt that needed to be showered off us all.

IMG_6095But before I tell of the weekend itself, I must tell the tale of the tent we used. The tent, my friends, was a family heirloom taken from LCB’s family, dating back perhaps fifty years. It had been passed through the family over the years, until his brother passed it on to us some years ago.

I’m not sure if there’s significance to the fact that, to my knowledge, no one attempted to reclaim it in the years we’ve had it. Just saying.

Anyway, it had been in storage for quite some time, so we were a little apprehensive about the condition it would be in. Consequently, LCB suggested a tent pitching dry run before the trip, so we wouldn’t be fumbling around trying to figure it out as the light waned during the real deal.

IMG_6108All things considered, the tent was in surprisingly good condition, thanks to my many in-laws who went before us and to the invention of duct tape. LCB and the boys assembled it in the backyard in short order, found it pitchable, and proclaimed it ready.

And so it was on a Friday, two days later, that we found ourselves at dusk, pitching a tent on HuntingIslandState Park.

It was only dusk, and already, I was freezing my plum fool self off.

Stay tuned for more, filled with the action-packed fun of hot dog consumption, coon fights, and “Oh, that’s right; I have acrophobia.”


2 Replies to “Camping on Hunting Island State Park: Part One”

  1. Can’t wait the hear the rest. I agree whole heartedly about tent camping. I’ve convinced my kids that park-model trailer or cabin “is camping”. You know – bathroom, air conditioning, bed with a mattress, electricity, etc. I still don’t know how to keep the dirt from trailing in. We still have a campfire therefore it is camping!

    1. Ha! I agree! And my son already wants to get an RV so he can convince me to keep camping. He, of course, thinks RV camping is lame, but he knows that way he’ll be more likely to be able to keep camping. He’s already calling it “Mom’s trailer” and plans to pitch a tent for everyone else. That’s fine by me! In fact, I do love the campfires, so maybe I’ll take up glamping!

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