The contest’s goal was to get people who have little or no camping experience to get outside and camp. My husband loves backcountry camping, so he’s a tad experienced, but doesn’t really dig the car camping experience. I have camped in tents, but am not an expert by any means. When we were dating, my husband took me backcountry camping. It’s amazing we continued to date after that. Carrying all of my crap up a mountain, drinking filtered water from a lake while hoping you don’t die and peeing on my shoes were some of my highlights. You don’t want to hear about the lowlights.
Our girls have only camped in their grandparents’ camper. They had never slept in a tent before this weekend. I’ve been worried we were creating glampers.
We were picked, because Dustin wrote a short essay about how he wanted to help encourage his family to enjoy the great outdoors, almost as much as he does. He thought this event would be a great opportunity to get us all into it without traumatizing us in the backcountry.
Coleman gave us $1,500 in camping supplies, including a tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, lanterns, chairs, etc. We spent the weekend at Bear Creek Lake Park, not too far from home, but far enough away we were out in nature. We were also privy to fishing, kayaking, swimming, horseback riding, star gazing with an astronomer and camp cooking lessons from celebrity Chef Hosea Rosenberg.
We also broiled under the intense Colorado sun with about 80 other campers on a 102 degree day.
The event was amazing. The Coleman people had every detail arranged and planned. They worked incredibly hard, refilling our water and ice, ensuring we set up camp correctly, organizing us into groups to cook meals and everything in between. When the event sign up sheet filled up, they simply found spaces and coordinated extra activities. They worked so hard to make sure everyone had a great time.
I’ve never been to a better planned event. Everyone noticed how hard the Coleman people worked to make our experience the best and how seamless it all appeared to go off.
The only thing they couldn’t control was the weather. The only thing that was miserable was the weather. Bear Creek Lake Park is beautiful, but it is east of the foothills, with very few trees in the campground and desert hot temperatures.
Our girls were a little hesitant about sleeping in a tent and finding friends, but jumped right in and both made multiple friends.
I’ve never been camping with friends and this was the best part. The kids ran all over the campground and at night played games with the flashlights. They were being kids – away from the Wii, away from technology in the great outdoors. While the adults sat around the Coleman lanterns (it was TOO hot for campfires) and talked.
I also made a few new friends, including Colorado Mountain Mom. I’m bummed she lives all the way in Grand Junction, but look forward to getting to know her better via the social network.
Our girls are ready to camp again and are no longer fearful of tent sleeping.
We are so thankful for those at Coleman who worked incredibly hard on this event. They pulled it off brilliantly, despite the weather, and I hope everyone went home as happy and as grateful as I did. If you get a chance to attend this event next year, I highly encourage you to do so.
And visit Bear Creek Lake Park. It’s an Off the Beaten Path destination that’s still near the city and easy to get to – it’s off C-470 and Morrison Road. The park offers a Colorado beach experience, swimming, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, paddle boating, kayaking, water skiing and paddle boarding. They also have ranger led campfire chats and hikes throughout the summer.
And even if you don’t go with NWF and Coleman, get out there and camp. It’s so much fun and unplugged family together time. If you are a novice, I highly recommend Coleman’s instant tent. Easy and simple to set up and tear down.