Saturday, May 28, 2011

Well, that was a wash...

Our first camping trip of 2011 wasn't a total flop, but we can't exactly call it a success either. The culprits:
Wow. The state park was crawling in ticks and we were picking them off of us and the dog every minute (it seemed). Way too many ticks. Way too creepy, crawly feeling.
"Who, me?" Yes, you, Daisy Dog. She may be the perfect family dog, but she is a timid camper which results in her having stage fright when it comes to elimination. We have a dog that won't pee in the woods. WTH? We feared secret packages in the tent corner by night, but we were finally able to convince her that the campsite was "home" by taking numerous walks in and out of the site. Neurotic.
Oh, don't let these adorable faces fool you. You're not looking at angels here, but pure Camping Monsters through and through. We have a curly-mop almost 3yo who shouts, runs away, and eggs her brother on and a 5.5yo almost Kindergartener who used to be a good camper but is still a loose cannon who is easily affected by a rebellious 3yo. "She used to be so sweet..." "He got awesome reports at the end of preschool..." Scrap it. They are pure evil together.
Click to enlarge to see them in action mode
(Okay, fine. Maybe not pure evil, since they did do a lot of hiking on our own personal campsite path together. But I still think this is where they made their plans for campsite domination.)

The rain was the last culprit, and possibly the biggest. We're happy to report that our new McMansion tent held up beautifully with not a drop of water inside the tent. But it was a wet, soggy camping experience with two small kids and a dog. Fun.

Some parts were indeed fun though and it was a gorgeous campsite with a super soft tent pad. Very secluded too (good thing, given all of the parental shouting towards the end--i.e. "STOP SITTING ON THE DOG'S HEAD!!").
Spirits still high upon arrival
"Naked" tent
It extends quite a bit with the rain fly and add-on vestibule--
two extra "rooms" outside the tent
We started camping in teeny backpacking tents so we were
all "wow..." at the space in this baby.
Silly in the tent
Dinner in the Trail Center the first (and only!) night due to rain
Spoiled dog--she nestled INTO my sleeping bag
and wound up at my feet
Chilly morning
Walk-in site--this was our private path to our campsite
"Are we having fun yet?"
"Cheers?"
Despite the annoyances, we ARE raising little campers
(who like to waste their flashlight batteries by using them
when the sun comes out, but, whatever...).
Working on the State Parks Junior Naturalist Badge workbook
Spoiled dog again
At the interpretive center--Jackson's got the
wing-span of a red-tailed hawk


Verdict: We are NOT camping with these small creatures again until they're a little older. The combination of Aspie-oppositional-defiant boy and 3yo crazy, rebellious, whiny girl is just not a good idea for camping. (The State Parks thank us for this, we know.) But we do want to keep these urban kids used to being in the woods, so we're going to go with calculated, planned out day trips to the State Parks this year instead. Same gear except the tent and the sleeping bags. We'll leave at 6 or 7am and return late. Eat all of our meals outside and plan to use the picnic areas near the playground at the parks for grilling (WAY easier to keep kids occupied around a fire at a playground than a boring old campsite). We'll hike, swim, shower off and then return home. Easy. Right?

Maybe we'll wait til after tick season has passed...

P.S. Dan and I have a camping trip for the two of us planned in two weeks that we are NOT canceling and that we are looking forward to with great anticipation. To us, camping means long hikes, good food cooked over a fire and plenty of time to read. Without the kids along, we will be much more likely to achieve this simple goal.

P.P.S. I would still entertain the notion of camping with just Jackson, as I did last year. Just not with his short partner-in-crime disguised as Shirley Temple.

1 comment:

Hege said...

We've finally bought tents, two small ones to keep our monsters apart from each other when it's time for sleeping. So we are hoping for some great hiking trips this summer.
And I am so glad we don't have ticks here! Gives me the creeps just to hear about them!