When I asked my daughter what she wanted to do for her 10th birthday, without hesitation she said “I want to go camping with Kaitlyn!”. So, I arranged a camping trip for her birthday weekend with her best friend.
Morgan and Kaitlyn have a very special friendship – they’ve been friends since they were in daycare. After daycare, they went to different schools, but Jackie (Kaitlyn’s mom) and I recognize how close and special their relationship is, so we make an effort to get the girls together as often as we can. No matter how long they’ve been apart, as soon as they see each other it’s as if they had never been separated.
I booked a campsite for the weekend at Highlands Hammock State Park, which is our favorite Florida state park. Both Jackie and I had to work all day Friday, so we didn’t get on the road until dark, which meant we had to set up camp in the dark as well. I’ve done this many times, and while it’s not ideal, it’s really no big deal.
After a night of listening to Mariachi music from another campsite who was partying it up until 3am, we got up, hung the hammocks, and enjoyed some hang time.
The kids got antsy to go explore, so we set off to hike around the park. Highlands Hammock offers so many beautiful trails, usually full of wildlife, and a fantastic CCC museum. The catwalk is my favorite area of this park!
Later that night after dinner, while the kids were playing with glowsticks (an awesome idea for kids while camping!) about 5 truckloads of men in BDU unifroms pulled up in the campsites next to us and set up camp. We had no idea what was going on, but we just sat and watched, puzzled. We found out they were an Army Reserve Unit there for fun after a long day of a 9-mile ruck run.
The next morning, Morgan’s birthday, I got up early and decorated our campsite for her and we made our traditional birthday pancakes (just pancakes with sprinkles).
In the midst of this, the Army unit came over and sang Happy Birthday to her! It was seriously a magical moment that none of us will ever forget!