A campin’ we did go; tent camping that is. We loaded up all the gear and headed down to Key West ready to rough it, yet relax. Camping in the Florida Keys can be tricky as timing is crucial. The Keys can have crazy high heat and terrible bugs. While we didn’t avoid these two things completely, we did manage to have a somewhat minimized version of it.
After getting through the blood, sweat and tears of setting up the 8 person tent and all the camping gear, we played and relaxed. I went paddle boarding (until my son knocked a hole in it!), the boys fished, the girls took turns laying in the hammock and we all swam, ate, read, laughed and enjoyed each others company.
My husband typically makes friends everywhere he goes and this trip was no exception. He made friends with an older fisherman who was very skilled and took him and my son under his wing. This very nice man showed them how to properly catch fish, what bait to use, which type of fish is good to eat and even gave them a hands-on lesson on how to properly clean a fish. What a wise and kind gentleman.
When it came time to cook dinner we quickly realized that we were in a bit of a mess. We had hamburgers and freshly caught fish ready to throw on the grill. Problem was that they didn’t exactly have grills at this campground. They had fire pits. Even though it took what seemed like forever, we were able to put the skillet directly on the coals and eventually have a tasty dinner. Man, there is nothing like eating freshly caught fish. It literally melts in your mouth! Unfortunately, this was not the case for cooking breakfast the next morning. After a very sweaty, buggy and sleepless night we attempted to cook breakfast on the remaining coals the next morning. There were just not enough coals left to cook the entire meal and our patience had worn thin. Tired and hungry we decided to go for one last swim, pack up our gear and head to the next town to find a local spot for a big breakfast.
Lessons learned: make sure the campground has full grills and go late in the year when it’s cooler with less bugs (I have more bites than I could ever count). All in all, we had a great time. As much as I love nature and the outdoors, we may have to look at investing in a small camper before venturing on this type of journey again.