I have never gone camping so when I a few friends of ours planned a camping trip this year, we decided to join them. After some research, we found Fisheating Creek as the ideal spot for our first weekend camping. My husband and I bought our first tent and all the camping gear we needed. We were jumping with excitement. The kids stood with my parents so we can have some much needed adult time. The campgrounds are located in Southwest Florida so the drive was about two hours or so.
The campgrounds were beautiful, with luscious trees and a cute little river. It was a busy weekend with Boy Scouts in the main camping area. We were stationed at a campground near a pond. Each campsite had its own fire pit. We really wanted a campsite near the river but those get booked months and month in advanced. We were happy with our little campsite and we all have plenty of space to lay out. We did break the first rule of camping – building your tent before so you know how to build it. We got there around 4:30-5pm so we had very, very limited sun since it was (insert month). Our friends built their tent in 1-2-3 but we on the other hand had some difficulty. Our tent was lopsided. I was getting worried at this point as we were losing light fast. We also didn’t have a lantern as the one we bought broke the day we were leaving! Just our luck right?! I told my husband that we were doing it wrong and should look at the directions but you know men, they think they can figure everything out themselves! Well night time came and out tent was still not built properly. We decided to get the fire started and go back to fix the tent.
We had brough meat and corn for dinner that night. We started the portable grill our friends bought to start eating. The guys had been trying to start a fire but were not having luck getting it to stay on. The weather had been a little muggy so the wood we bought from the camp store was damp which means no fire is going to light up. We tried using lighter fluid but only had one bottle so we wanted to conserve it. The temperature was dropping and we really didn’t bring proper attire for cold weather – we’re in Florida! Well it got really cold and the fire still wasn’t staying lit. It would burn for a bit then turn off. We decided to venture back to the camp store to see if they had dry wood. We bought a bushel back to our campsite. The guys decided they were going to get the fire lit one way or another. They packed the fire pit with wood, wood lighters, and the lightening fluid. Finally, the fire was blazing and felt so good against our cold skin. After we ate we borrowed a lantern from our friends and got to work on our lopsided tent. We figured out the poles that we used to hold the tent were the wrong ones. We quickly switched them and our tent was perfect! Everything was going great now.
We shared stories around the fire and looked at the beautiful night sky something we don’t get to appreciate in our city. It was a beautiful night with twinkling bright stars and a huge moon. It felt great to be away from our normal every day lives and appreciate nature. We heard all sorts of critters and creatures out there. Skunks, yes skunks roaming around. We also heard boars and raccoons. I am terrified of all creepy crawlies so it definitely was a big change for me. I’m lucky that my hubby isn’t afraid of those things. He is definitely an outdoorsy guy. I know he would protect me! We got to bed late that night but we appreciated the adult conversations. Our tent was pretty comfortable and spacish for the two of us. We made another mistake by not buying 2 sleeping bags. We only bought one as we thought it would be too hot. My husband being the macho he is insisted we only needed one sleeping bag. Needless to say, he was cold!
You are probably wondering about the bathroom situation, well its hole that is covered by 4 walls. It was not pleasant but luckily there were some normal bathroom not too far from our campsite. We brought our bicycles so it was an easy few minutes to go to the bathrooms. The bathrooms also have showers which was nice.
The next morning we had breakfast, we brought sandwiches before heading out to get a kayak/canoe. My husband was so excited to try the kayak since he was in the market for one. We did the tandem kayak and our friends did the canoe. I was scared as there are signs telling us about alligators. Yes, alligators. When we got on it I was terrified, the gators were not too far from us but they never approached us. They would just dip back down under the water when we got near. We was shaking and screaming at my hubby not to get near the gators. I was ready to go back but with some reassurance my hubby calmed me down. All of us girls were frantic. After our nerves were back to normal we enjoyed the ride. It was nice seeing the greenery and the birds. It was so calm. We docked our kayaks and explored a little island. It was all very beautiful and peaceful.
After kayaking/canoeing we headed back to our campsite to eat lunch. We decided to relax by the lake. The guys saw there was a swinging rope on the other side of the lake so they ran over and jumped off the swinging ropes like two little kids! They had a blast. The girl stood back to tan and chit chat. We had brought our hammock so I spent the majority of the day on it catching up on my never-ending list of novels I wanted to read.
When night time arrived the guys were able to get the fire started very quickly. It could be because my husband and I took a trip to Walmart early that morning. We drove a good 45 mins to the nearest Walmart to get more lighting fluid, fire starters, and warm clothing. We were prepared for the night! I know, I know we totally broke the “roughing it” rule by going to Walmart but we did not want to freeze our tush! The night was perfect – good friends, great conversation, and an amazing backdrop.
The night morning we got up early to explore the trails. We brought out bikes with us to see more since we were leaving that afternoon. The views were amazing. It was a beautiful sunny day with luscious greenery. Old trees with Spanish moss and little streams of water leading to gorgeous ponds. It really was a scene out of the movies. We wished that we would’ve explored more in the prior days as the trails went on and on. Next time we go camping there we will go deeper into the trails. Definitely a must see if you stay at Fisheating Creek.
We had such a great time and cannot wait to go camping again when it gets cooler. It was a great experience for my first time. Next time we’ll be more prepared!
What are some of your camping tips?