Mar
16

First Night at the Camping

As I was just about to doze off, I heard it. Thunder. Somewhere outside, but not too far away, a storm was on its way. I could hear the wind picking up as it blew against the sides of our beat-up old tent. And I felt a bit of fear rise up. When the sun had set, the sky had been clear and I had no thought of rain or storms. But that was all changing and I needed to think fast.

I sat up and looked around. It was pitch black. All the fires of nearby campsites were out and, other than the wind and thunder, it was still outside. Our tent was old but had held up pretty well under most conditions. I had brought a tarp just in case, but it was in the van. I fumbled around in the bag next to me, searching for my emergency flashlight. I knew I packed it, but suddenly it was evading me.

Outside, the thunder was picking up and the lightning flashes were giving me brief glimpses inside our tent. My boys and wife were still asleep and I didn’t want to wake them. But I would need to act quick and make some noise if we were going to stay dry. Suddenly, I felt my time running out as rain began to quietly drop on the tent but then quickly turned heavy. Another lightning flash. This time, I caught a glimpse of my emergency flashlight over by my son’s sleeping bag. It must have fallen out of my bag at some point.

I stood up, snuck over, and grabbed the flashlight. I turned it on but covered the end to help mute the light and not wake everyone. I found my shoes and readied myself. Then, unzipping the front of the tent, I made my way out into the rain just as another lightning bolt lit up the sky. I bolted for my van and opened up the rear door to find the tarp. Under the overhanging door, I enjoyed a few moments of dry before heading back out.

I grabbed the tarp, some string and some tent stakes and went back out into the deluge. I could only imagine how much water was probably seeping into the tent by now. I unfolded the tarp, stretched it out and pulled it up and over the top of the tent, covering most of the seams. A few more lighting flashes showed me that I wasn’t the only one trying to keep their tent dry. Other tent campers were doing their best to shore up theirs as well.

With the tarp in place, I tied it down and staked the rope into the ground. Then I headed back into the tent. I shined the flashlight along the edges of the inside to reveal large puddles starting to form. My boys had already begun to move to our air mattress as if it was a life raft. We still had a long night ahead of us….

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