[Guest post by Michelle Rise: I absolutely love Michelle’s story about winter camping and the unexpected family bonding she experienced on the trip! Praise God for such a chance to connect.]
Camping was recently a new thing for our family and going in spring and summer for the occasional weekend was adventure enough for me, or so I thought.
When we purchased sleeping bags, we chose the ones only for temperatures down to 30 degrees for the simple reason that camping in frigid weather was for mountain climbers only. Then our kids discovered snowshoeing on a trip with their youth group to Rock-N-Water Christian Camp. They wanted us to go camping and snowshoeing as a family.
The idea of strapping tennis rackets to our feet and tramping around in the snow wasn’t all that appealing. But my kids pleaded and my husband thought it was a good idea.
Psalm 37:5 says “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He shall bring it to pass.”
I definitely had to commit my way to the Lord on this one. Obviously, snowshoes aren’t really tennis rackets. In reality, snowshoes are expensive footwear absolutely necessary for trekking across the snowy landscapes of winter. That reminds me, we needed trekking poles too, along with multiple layers of the right type of clothing. As usual, time was spent researching and we bought rather than rented our supplies. Always looking to save money, most of it was gently used. Our supplies included a new tent and sleeping bags designed to withstand temperatures below 0.
Winter camping is so different than spring and summer. I wasn’t prepared to like it as much by comparison because honestly, I’m more a warm weather person. I don’t mind cool nights following a warm day but all day freezing cold plus snow simply didn’t hold much appeal. Boy, was I was wrong.
There is something majestic, almost otherworldly, about being surrounded by snow covered landscapes. The very air feels different. The conversation and laughter of our kids sounded reverent. And talk about good sleep! We never experienced a better night’s sleep.
I will admit it didn’t start out perfectly smooth. On our first day, we set up and decided to take a short walk into the woods. I simply couldn’t get warm, despite having all the right clothing and gear. In addition, my head hurt. In fact, we were all uncomfortable and cold.
We went back to the tent and my husband reminded us we should stay hydrated as well as eat properly. For city folks like us, remembering details such as that is a learned behavior. We learned the hard way suffering cold fingers and toes and experiencing headaches. The second day was much better. We made a point to stay hydrated and eat proper food regularly.
As a result, we thoroughly enjoyed our day followed by sound sleep. There is no comparison to being snuggled up in a tent with the ones you love most.
The hushed sounds of winter were like God’s voice just to us. When the wind picked up to a howl, it wasn’t scary but more a sturdy lullaby.
Another bonus to this kind of camping, or any family camping for that matter, is that kids will open up to you in the wilds of nature much more easily than when surrounded by the comforts and distractions of home. We treasure the opportunity to listen to their thoughts and questions. It gives us a chance to speak wisdom into their lives without sounding like a parental lecture machine.
Psalm 127:4 Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
I’m so thankful for the memories we’ve made and I hope we continue for years to come. I know time with our kids is short. They grow up so fast.
We need to stop our busy lives from time to time, leave the city and electronics behind, and commune with God and family. The result is worth every bit of effort and money spent in the process.
Michelle Rise is a homemaker and Mother of 5 and travel enthusiast. With many years of experience exploring parks with her Family, Michelle has become an expert on navigating families through the wonderful adventures of life. When she’s not chasing her 5 kids, Michelle can be found chasing the family dog up rainbow mountain with her husband of over 25 years, Ben. You can follow Michelle on Twitter, @Rise7Up, for all of her latest writings.
Photo provided by Michelle Rise.