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Ryan Trares: Campout interrupted

Jun 11, 2023Jun 11, 2023


This wasn’t exactly roughing it.

We were just staying in a tent in our backyard. At the slightest hint of discomfort, we could be in our comfy beds in a matter of minutes.

But we had a campfire and sleeping bags and ghost stories, and enough snacks to feed an army. I’m going to count it.

We spent last weekend continuing what has been an annual tradition — the Trares boys’ summer campout. Facing a Saturday with absolutely no commitments and nothing planned, we figured it would be an ideal time to create some fun.

Everything lined up. My wife had planned a girl’s night out sleepover with some friends, leaving Anthony and me on our own. Outdoor camping is not my wife’s forte, so this was a way to sleep under the stars without leaving her out.

First things first — we had to load up on food for our experience. That meant bags of the biggest marshmallows I’ve ever seen for roasting, juice and other beverages, and bags of Doritos, Chex Mix, popcorn and more.

Fully provisioned, Anthony and I went about making it the most summer day imaginable. We headed out to the pool, spending hours in the cool water while we splashed, dove and played for a few hours. When we’d finally had our fill of sun and swimming, it was off to dinner to recharge.

Finally, we made it home and went about setting up our campsite. Anthony chose a nice flat spot next to our vegetable garden, and I went to work putting the frame together through the nylon cover. We blew up our air mattress, and each of us loaded our sleeping bags in — a warm green Coleman for me, a Paw Patrol one tucked into a backpack for Anthony.

Last but not least, we brought out the snacks. We were ready to camp.

Only it was 6 p.m.

If it were up to Anthony, we’d have zipped up into our bags right then and there. I convinced him to wait until it was a little darker, or dark at all. Luring him away with marshmallows and a campfire, we told jokes around the flickering flames. Once the marshmallows were gone, I put out the fire and we played a quick game of backyard soccer.

Anthony was searching for fireflies, but no luck this time of year.

Finally, I gave in, and we got ready for bed. We dug into our snacks, and I told Anthony a story while he lay in his sleeping bag.

It had been a perfect day and would have only been better sleeping all night under the stars to the sounds of crickets all around.

Alas, it was not to be.

Our slumber was repeatedly interrupted by a nearby rock concert, which sounded as if the lead singer and drummer were standing right next to our tent. Neither of us wanted to give up and move inside, so we tried to tough it out. But as the evening transitioned to twilight, and eventually to full-on dark, we both realized we’d never sleep if we stayed outside.

Anthony was bummed out, but I promised him a make-up — one more campout before it became too cold in the fall. I figure we have a couple of months of suitable weather to plan it, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find a weekend where it will work.

First, though, I have to make sure there are no concerts planned for that weekend.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].