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I have so much to be grateful for and excited about in this new year. I just retired, and adventures await! I have a lengthy list of places to go and things to do.

I had to start somewhere, but uppermost on my mind was ensuring that I could pitch my new tent (REI Quarter Dome SL2). Understand that I grew up in New England, on a farm, in the middle of nowhere, and yet, I have never been camping. I mean…pitch a tent and sleep outside kind of camping. So, this is a new concept for me, and it would not do me well to hike into the wilderness only to discover that I could not put up my tent in a reasonable amount of time and spend the night.

I decided that to test myself, I would stay close to home and camp at a site where I could park next to my tent–you know, just in case. The John Prince Park Campground in Lake Worth was the perfect location.

John Prince Park Wildlife

I arrived at 3:00 and had a beautiful spot near the water. I was one of only two tents in this RV-crowded campground. As I pulled out my supplies, wind gusts challenged me and turned my tent into a wind sock before I finally staked out two corners. Somehow, I still managed to raise my tent in less than an hour! (For me, this was an accomplishment.)

Morning Comes at John Prince Park

Because John Prince Park is so close to home, I often go there on walks, but I had never been to the campground area. I spent an hour discovering several small, dirt trails that took me through the peaceful Florida scrub before I returned to my tent for the evening. My family stopped by to ensure the iguanas and alligators had not gotten to me. That night, I snuggled into my sleeping bag in the quiet campground and fell asleep (eventually) listening to the distant traffic on I-95 and the wind slapping against my tent. I awoke early feeling confident that I could do this again and ready to tackle my retirement list!

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