For the first time as an adult I camped and I loved it.
Smoky campfires in the mornings. Sitting on piles of gnarled tree roots in the afternoons with the sun dappling through the leaves and the river running over the rocks and pebbles while children jumped from a high rock ledge into a deep, freezing water hole. In the evening, peaceful night noises, wind through the tent screens, leaves blowing overhead, lulling me to sleep.
I am a pathetic novice newbie camper, but I'm learning. On this trip, I forgot matches and newspaper for the campfire, turkey for the turkey and cheese sandwiches, jelly for the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a flashlight for all hours between 9 pm and 6 am.
On the other hand, I remembered amazing non-essentials like a bucket, thick rope and extra tent stakes. Never needed them, but I did feel like such an accomplished camper, packing them into the van.
I had my own cozy tent and felt very much like I was playing "house." I got my "playhouse" all arranged and chose to sleep on sheets and my grandmother's old quilts rather than a sleeping bag. With the tent set up, I fancied myself Jane Goodall among her apes or Meryl Streep in "Out of Africa."
Only they wouldn't have forgotten the matches!
In the course of the week, I conquered putting up a tent, cooking on the Coleman stove, rain-proofing the campsite, building a fire and showering in the bathhouse where the warm, high-pressured water left me makeup-free for the week and with scary camp hair that remained quite out of control.
It was camping bliss! Pisgah Forest Nirvana! Pine and hemlock deliciousness! It is now in my blood. I am hooked!