It has been 30 years since I last went camping so I’m not really a novice at this – but I’ve forgotten alot in that period of time.
One thing we never had to be concerned about in our previous camping experiences were bears. When our son was young and we went camping it would be in Arkansas or Louisiana-not many bears in those areas. However, when we started doing research for our Smokey Mountain adventure we discovered that almost every page of every website on camping warns you of black bear activity in the area. It took a lot of prayer on my part before I was willing to consider going camping with bears.
When we arrived at Elmont (a campground in the Smokey Mountain National Park) we were again warned about bears and told to be sure all food was packed in the car overnight-even toothpaste!!! How very reassuring this was, but we persevered.
We arrived at the campsite and began pitching our tent (yes, you read that right a TENT).
The weather report was for the possibility of rain so we fixed the fly (a water resistant cover for the tent) since neither of us wanted to try and attach it in the middle of the night while the rains decended.
This story would be more interesting if I could recount a tail of woe but all went without a hitch, no probems, no surpises (not even rain, thank you, Lord) – if you didn’t know better you might have thought we actually knew what we were doing.
We started a fire to cook over and fixed our first meal without a hitch. At bedtime we said our prayers and layed down for the evening on our COTS. It was then when we encountered our first surprise – BUGS. No they hadn’t invaded the tents they weren’t carrying away the food – they were LOUD!!! I couldn’t believe how loud they were. We had trouble going to sleep because of the noise! Of course, we heard lots of bugs the other nights we camped out but nothing even came close to this. It was unbelievable.
We finally drifted off to sleep and I am happy to report did not see or hear any bears all night. The next morning we packed up and headed over the Smokies!