April 30, 2015 by

Article originally published in April 2015 edition of Her Family.

Barcelona didn’t get any snow this past winter.

The soccer-crazed (make that fútbol-crazed) Spanish city that hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics is on roughly the same latitude as Omaha, but its seaside position on the Mediterranean means that its climate is a far cry from the hot-cold rollercoaster ride that is life here on the prairie. Barcelona’s record low temperature came on Dec. 27, 1962, when the mercury dipped to a downright balmy 18 degrees. 18!

By contrast—and based on 30-year averages obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climactic Data Center for the months of December, January and February—the Weather Channel last year ranked Omaha the 5th coldest major U.S. city.

Which means that I am more than anxious for the new season and all its promise of increased outdoor activity, especially camping with my grandkids, Barrett (4) and Easton (5).

I wrote last summer about my first wilderness trek (all the way to the very deepest, darkest corner of my back yard) with Easton, an ill-fated adventure that had me carrying the sleeping child back inside in the wee hours of the morning. He survived the night like a champ, but I tossed and turned due to a noisy, beery party on a neighboring deck. The boys have since been on a series of one-nighters with their parents, Eric and Lauren, in a fixer-upper camper owned by and nicely reworked by Boompa, the boys’ pet name for their other grandpa, Brian.

But I have yet to be able to go camping with my grandsons.

The plan this year is a pretty simple one. I’ll be watching the weather for the first weekend that isn’t too very chilly in the hopes that I can wrangle an invitation to tag along for a campout at an area park. Summit Lake State Recreational Area, located only an hour away and two miles west
of the hamlet of Tekemah, is one of the
usual suspects.

Now, Summit Lake is no garden spot. It’s a manmade lake in a rather sparsely forested setting with meager hiking opportunities surrounded by cornfields. I remember camping there about 30 years ago when the trees in the campsite were freshly planted. My reaction was a limp “meh.” I’ve camped there a couple times over the last two summers and my reaction is still a tepid “meh, but now with more mature, if sparsely planted trees.”

But none of that matters.

What matters is that I’ll be out in nature with my grandkids and their parents. Time, to me, both stands still and seems eternal when camping. And now I’ll be able to experience it in entirely new ways with the grandkids. There’ll be a smoky fire. There’ll be some smoky red meat above that fire. And there’ll be s’mores oozing with gooey goodness before the boys settle into their sleeping bags for the night after a not-too scary ghost story or two.

The Catalonian capital of Barcelona may have better climes, but I’ll take Summit Lake with Barrett and Easton any day.

Smore