"So when did your family start camping at Roaring River, anyway?" I asked Sweet Husband, as we made the 5-hour drive to southern Missouri to meet his parents for a long weekend of sleeping in tents and eating s'mores. "Did your grandparents camp there?"
"I think that each set might have once or twice, but it was more my parents' thing," he looked thoughtful. "I really remember going a lot when I was...maybe, 8 or 9?"
"Little boy's paradise?" I chimed-in.
"You got it," his eyes crinkled into a grin.
And it still is.
The day is scheduled around the trout. The on-site hatchery stocks the river with fish each night, and catching them begins with the opening bell at daybreak. The trout are most active for about the first hour, so it pays to have your lure tied on and be ready to cast before the horn even finishes blowing.
I'm not a huge fisher-woman, but trout are more fun than most. The water is clear enough that you can watch as they approach--and, more often than not, reject--your lure. It's maddening! So much so that, when I reeled-in my first one, the Kid announced to the amused, burly fishermen standing next to me, "Mama caught a darned fish!"
Once all of the less-clever trout have been caught, it's time for breakfast. And then a hike up to the fire tower, or maybe a trip to feed the fish at the hatchery. When it gets too hot, the spring-fed river--at about 55 degrees--is a nice place to wade. Or if you're truly an irrepressible fisherman--which I think Sweet Husband might be--you can spend the afternoon trying to land a few more trout with a fly rod. (He did not, but I think it's becoming one of his life goals.)
Depending on your persuasion, dinner may involve even more fish. (We're having them both grilled and smoked this week. I'll be sharing recipes soon!) Once you've eaten your fill, and topped-up with some s'mores, it's time to go get the next day's trout license and head for the tent so you can start over bright and early.
It's not for everyone, sure, but I can understand why Sweet Husband loves it. And I think that, given a couple years, the Kid will too.