Why would I want to write about my Blood Mountain Camping Adventure? Well, it was one camping trip I will never forget. I learned a lot and was a little unprepared at the time but the next time I go I will have a much better experience.
I was in middle school. It was a Friday night and we headed up to Blood Mountain for the weekend. When we got to the foot of the mountain we had to hike about a mile to the top. Finally, we got to the top. It was dark when we began so everyone had their flashlights handy.
Now it was time to pitch our tents. Our tents weren’t the best ones. The troop leaders must have got them on sale or something because they didn’t have a tarp built into them so we always had to use ground tarps for protection. For some reason there weren’t enough tarps and we happened to get the last one. It was half the size we needed to cover the entire bottom of the tent. That wasn’t good. Also, we only had four of the eight stakes in our tent bag. What else could go wrong? No big deal we’ll be fine we thought.
We went to bed a few hours later and it started to rain during the night. My tent partner didn’t bring a sleeping bag for some reason and only had sheets and a sleeping pad. He woke up during the night and told me that he was sleeping in a puddle. He shifted away from it and we went back to sleep. When we woke up the next morning the tent door was above our heads and my sleeping bag was wet. Oh no! I crawled out of the bag and tent and went to survey the damage. The four stakes didn’t hold from all the wind and rain the night before.
We made a fire which was smoky the entire day. Since my sleeping bag was wet we needed to dry it out. They hung it near the fire all day and never really dried for there was a slight drizzle or moderate rain the entire day. Also, it didn’t help that the smoke was now going to be infused into my sleeping bag. How was I to sleep that night?
Throughout the day several tents experienced the wind and turned over causing gear to get wet. Around 4pm one of the leaders surveyed the situation and made the decision we should pack up and call it quits. About 70% of the troop had wet gear and were miserable.
We all quickly packed up and headed for home. Walking down the mountain wasn’t as difficult and a hot shower kept me going. I’ll never forget that weekend for I learned a few things.
1) Ground tarps are important – get a tent with an internal tarp
2) Tent Stakes – make sure you have the recommended amount. Also, make sure all your tent pieces are available before you go camping
3) Water Proof / Water Resistant Sleeping Bag – if rain is in the forecast make sure your sleeping bag has some kind of water protection