When we planned our camping trip to Cobscook Bay State Park in the beginning of the summer, we assumed we wouldn’t have much of a connection to the outside world while we were there.
We were not disappointed.
Located in the easternmost part of Maine (and the United States as a whole), my phone assumed I was in Canada as soon as we pulled our car into the park ranger station. My trusty iPhone switched over to Atlantic time, and Verizon sent me a text reminding me of the charges I would incur if I used my phone while roaming. Not that it mattered. We had no service at the campground or in most places we visited, and we left 3G behind somewhere near Bar Harbor.
My husband and I enjoy real camping in a tent with as little amenities as possible. We look for places with vast woods where we can’t see our neighbors and don’t offer things like a pool or mini golf. We want campfires in the morning and at night to keep us warm and cook our food. We want hiking trails to enjoy with our dogs that were born to travel long distances. We want a place for our kids to get dirty and pee freely in the woods (my kids probably want this more than I do).
We were not disappointed.
Instead of getting work done on my laptop during the 4+ hour drive to get to the park, I read a book (made of paper) and enjoyed the scenery outside my window.
Instead of hanging out in a hotel room, I watched the tide roll in and out from my campsite and noted how the light changed throughout the day.
Instead of eating in restaurants, my husband and son cooked gourmet meals over campfire and our travel grill and stove.
Instead of having my head in my phone at night, I craned my neck to count shooting stars.
Instead of playing on their tablets, the kids used the firepit to make a steel drum.
Instead of watching television, we played Yahtzee by the campfire.
Instead of shopping in town, we hiked the challenging “nature trail” and played in a creek.
Instead of complaining about the rain, we went on adventures in Eastport and Lubec and got really, really wet. (We also had a run in with fire ants, but getting stuck in the driving rain while on a beach full of glass was probably more uncomfortable.)
Instead of leaving in the big rain storm the last night, we secured the tent and made do as Kailua kept the tent from flying away.
Some people think camping is crazy. My husband noted that many of his friends told him their wives would never go camping. A friend told me his idea of camping was staying at a 2-star hotel.
Because sometimes you need to unplug and just be. Being in the woods and living simply for a few days clears your mind and shows you what’s important in your life.
I probably wouldn’t last much more than the four nights we stayed in Cobscook Bay State Park. By the end, I was getting pretty itchy from the mosquitos and lack of hot showers. But I noticed my kids hugged me and told me they loved me more times than they normally do when we left.
That’s why I love camping.
If you need me this week, I’ll be answering emails, enjoying hot showers, doing laundry and attempting to convince my kids to pee indoors.