To most of our friends and family, it is no secret that Rob and I are in love with camping. It floats our respective boats! In fact, it goes beyond love, it is a deep passion. It is a lifestyle that we seek out! We are aware that there are a lot of different definitions of camping and that it means something different to different people. We are not snobbish about it, and really, we love all of it! Backpacking, car camping, RVing, overnights, extended trips, State Parks, National Parks and private campgrounds, they are all wonderful and serve their purpose. In my opinion camping is the best way to travel and see the country.
My exposure to camping came at a young age. In fact there is a distinct possibility that I may have been conceived while my parents were camping. When I was a baby, my parents took me tent camping, according to my mom, camping is a great activity to do with babies.
When I was a kid, from the time I was 7 until I was about 14, I went to summer-camp in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at Camp Nicolet for Girls in Eagle River. I spent the whole summer in the National Nicolet Forest. We stayed in cabins but went on hikes, cookouts and overnights, this served to enhance my love of camping as well as sharpen my skills in the realm of packing a backpack, making a fire and general outdoor survival.
When Rob and I met in college, I shared my love of camping with him. My sister gave us a tent for Christmas. Planning and going on camping trips quickly became one of our favorite pastimes. We got to see and experience places that we never would have gone to or even thought of going to otherwise.
Our first camping trip was a three day trip to Ocala, National Forest in FL. We went to Lake Eaton and Juniper Springs. They were both amazing. At Lake Eaton we heard something big in the woods at night and it scared us, branches were snapping under the feet of whatever creature was lurking. We imagined that it was some sort of large wildcat, it was probably just a raccoon…? We hiked the Lake Eaton Sinkhole Trail, which was magnificent. It is about 80 feet deep and 450 feet wide. The flora and vegetation completely changed as you hiked deeper into it. It is similar to an Oak Hammock, featuring magnolias, live oak, dogwood, lobolly pine and sabal palm. The temperature and humidity even changed…It got a little cooler, but more humid. It was fascinating!
At Juniper Springs the water was so impossibly clear that it was almost invisible. We swam, we hiked and explored, we cooked our meals and ate outdoors. The scenery and the sense of relaxation that came from spending time outdoors was beautiful. Our love of camping as a couple grew. We knew this would be something that we continued to do together always…