Roughing It


We spent the weekend at Mohican State Park, in an effort to “get away from it all”. I can’t accurately claim that we went camping, since we stayed in a cabin (and if we weren’t camping, the folks next to us really weren’t camping, with the electric coffee maker they brought with them!). We arrived late Friday night, well after dark, so not having to pitch a tent was a real boon.

The cabin was small, but comfy. It had a ceiling fan which went a long way to keeping us cool enough to fall asleep. There was also a mini fridge and a microwave, neither of which I felt compelled to use (we brought two coolers, and had a fire!), but Carina found them both useful. The beds were not entirely comfortable, but they were completely flat and level, so there was no worry about rocks or sticks poking one in the back.

We did some hiking on Saturday, then drove through Amish country to expose the kids to that culture a bit – I’m a bit embarrassed that their only knowledge of the Amish prior to this weekend came from Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise”. The girls were genuinely interest to learn about the Amish, and they were delighted to see the horses and buggies driving down the road; and we were all tickled everytime one of the Amish waved at us. The kids swam in the camp pool for about an hour, then we had dinner, played some card games, and went to bed.

Our cabin, we found out later, was “the new one”. The door had two locks: the lower one was a typical latch mechanism, the kind you might find on a fence, where a single crossbeam rises above a hook to release the door; the other lock was a keyed self-latching mechanism, for which we were given the key. The very first time we entered the cabin, Carina set the key down on the table and then promptly pulled the door shut tight behind her as she left, engaging the lock and preventing us from gaining re-entry. Thankfully the window screen was easily removed and the key was retrieved. This door proved problematic for the entire weekend. You needed to pull the door shut tightly to engage the lower latch, but not so tight as to engage the top keyed lock. The kids consistently slammed the door shut, which meant I needed to fumble in my pockets to procure the key on a regular basis. When we left to go hiking, I found the door hard ro secure, so I slammed it shut. When we returned from the hike, we were unable to unlock the door. Camp maintenance was finally dispatched, and the door was removed from its hinges. It turns out that my slamming the door kicked up the lock’s safety mechanism into the activated position, completely shutting us out. We all shut the door with tremendous care from that point on … until Sunday morning, when Tayler woke up late, and came out to join the rest of us by the fire. I had left the key inside the cabin, thinking surely everyone fully understood the door’s idiosyncracies by this point. Tayler, in her groggy state, forgot and slammed the door tight. So one again out came the window screen…

We didn’t get to relax nearly as much as I would have liked. Owen teased me Friday morning for not doing real camping. Camping is a lot of work with our kids, and I sometimes question why we do it. But without the struggles of setting up or tearing down two tents (one for sleeping, one for food) this time was a much smoother process than prior experiences, and to be fair the kids bickered and complained less than the last time we went camping. At this rate, camping may well be the enjoyable experience I want it to be in a few years! ;)

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