Archived Story

Lakeside camping makes for great year-round fun

Published 2:09pm Friday, July 6, 2012

For all of the activities I have reported on and encouraged our readers to attend, I may have done them an injustice by failing to mention what may be the best one of all. It can happen any weekend of the year: CAMPING.

I have declared that I wanted to go camping on the lake for the past several summers. It never happened. Until this past Tuesday.

My husband, John Howell, is an Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman. The man loves to camp, hike and not shower. He was beyond pleased that I was iniating a camping trip and promised to handle all the details.

At this point, you are probably imagining all the many things that can go wrong on a camping trip, but I will preface by saying this was the most perfect experience. I did not get snakebite or catch my hair on fire.

We set sail on his parents’ pontoon a little after 6 p.m. and set off in search of the perfect spot. We did not go far; in fact, you could see Willow Point from where we landed.

The flat expanse of sand was tucked beneath a canopy of pines, and I took to calling it Sandy Beach, because every place needs a name. I jumped off the boat into the shallow water and wiggled my toes in the thick red clay.

“We’re camping!” I proclaimed.

Lightning was flashing in the distance near Kowaliga Bridge but it appeared the storm would miss us by half a mile. After dabbing on a heavy perfume of Off, we began to gather firewood and rocks to ring the fire pit. The orange Coleman tent was soon assembled, and our smores sticks were whittled to fine points.

Once both the fire and the radio were going, pops were topped and we settled into our beach chairs. The temperature had cooled because of the storm, which was a welcome relief from the heat wave. I would be grateful for packing a long sleeve shirt.

The pre-prepared hobos wrapped in aluminum foil were tucked neatly into the coals. The chicken and potatoes had been smothered and covered in a can of Campbell’s Chicken Soup. Caprese salads and a bottle of pinot noir rounded out our humble meal, which we quickly devoured. Being outside makes a person hungry.

For dessert, it had to be smores. What is camping without that classic ritual? My first marshmallow immediately burst into a ball of fire, much to my chagrin. Naturally, John’s were perfectly brown and toasty.

Our evening was a relaxing one. After snapping some pictures, I cut my phone off and we hung out beneath a full moon and sky full of stars.

I highly recommend camping on the lake next time you are looking for something to do. It is great for a date or a child’s birthday party. If you decide you prefer having access to an official bathroom and plumbing, Wind Creek is a fantastic option. All you need is a tent (or not – depending on how hard core you are), sleeping bag, cooler, chairs, lighter and a pocketknife. I may or may not have insisted that we take an air mattress and two pillows on our venture.

The next morning when I unzipped the tent, the sun was shining on the water and the birds were chirping. I took a deep breath of that fresh air, and I was so happy to be outside. Sometimes you don’t have to go far to get away from it all.

Howell works as an advertising representative for Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., in addition to writing this column. Contact Howell at to keep her In the Loop of events.