Monday, June 16, 2008

The Camping Excursion (story)

Well, we made it back alive. The camping excursion turned out pretty well I think. I'd go so far as to say the non-rainy part was great. Here's the story:

Friday we had planned on leaving at 4:30 but didn't end up leaving until more like 6:30 because I wasn't feeling great and Richard's back needed a break. The kids did fine on the hour and half drive since it was nearly bedtime. Naomi actually snoozed most of the way. We got there with just enough time to unpack the van before it got dark. Thank goodness Kevin and Grant (Richard's brother and Dad) had already set up our tent for us. Or really, they set up Grant's tent for us. We have a 6 person tent - which would be fine were it not for the fact that we wanted to put two Port-a-crib's in it. So Grant and Margaret switched tent's with us so that we could have their great big, three-room tent. That was perfect since the boy's could each have their own room and not see us when they woke up in the night. I attribute much of the success of this campout to that, so a big, BIG thanks to Grant and Margaret for that. Oh, also on "unpacking", the campsite was, I would guess, nearly half a mile from the parking lot. So unpacking and packing were quite a big deal. Lot's of walking and carrying heavy things. Anyway, that night the kids pretty much just went to sleep and the grown up's hung out for a little bit and then pretty much just went to sleep. Everyone was tired.

The next morning we had a nice slow morning. The boy's actually got their usual morning naps and then we went swimming in the nearby river. We thought it would be more like wading, but the river was really a great temperature with a super slow current and we found a place deep enough to swim in. That was a very fun morning. We went back to camp, had lunch and put the kids to bed. And about ten minutes later we scrambled to throw things into tents and under tables as the sky darkened very ominously and quickly. We made it just in time. Kevin and Kelly came into our tent since there was room and we thought it might be fun. (So much for the boys' naps.) We played "Ghost" (a word game) and chatted. The kids crawled all over us and jumped on the mattress. After about two hours it had lost it's charm. And the kids were tired and feeling trapped. Finally, after an unsuccessful attempt at naps for the boys, we decided to go for a drive and let the kids watch a movie in the car. I know, I know, very un-camping-like. But it was still raining and we were desperate. We thought it might blow over while we were driving and we'd be able to come back and do hot dogs over the fire for dinner as planned. So off we went. We drove around for nearly two hours. While we were out we bought dry wood so we'd be able to build a fine. When we got back to the campsite, nobody was there! One of the cars was gone and nobody was in their tents. So we figured they'd given up on hot dogs for dinner and gone out to eat (there was a town not too far with plenty of restaurants). So we did the same. After driving through the parking lots looking for them, we went to Friday's for dinner. We were totally gross looking I'm sure. I wanted to scream out a disclaimer to the other patrons. Something like "I've been camping for 24 hours now with three kids under four, no running water, and a hole in the ground for a toilet!") But dinner was good and it stopped raining while we ate. So we headed back to camp. And the rain started again as soon as we turned into the forest. It turned out that the others hadn't gone out to eat, they had just been driving around also. Ooops. So we put the boy's to bed but had promised Naomi she could stay up and eat Smore's. It wasn't raining much, just enough to drop a big fat drop on you every 30 seconds or so because of the tree cover. So we hung out by the fire, roasted marshmallows and hot dogs and told stories and jokes. It was a pretty typical night for camping and I'm glad we got that chance. There had been talk of breaking camp that day and heading home but Kevin and Kelly hear a weather report in their car that said the rain should end by morning - plus our kids were already asleep, right? Better to just wait til morning. That night was pretty bad. Naomi wouldn't sleep at all (probably because she heard us talking about how to keep our food away from bears, read a bedtime story about bears, and sang camp songs about bears). And when we woke up it was still raining. So we decided on a fast-pack plan. The kids ate breakfast in the tent and then we took them up to the car, strapped them in, and turned on a movie while we trekked back and forth packing. It took us about two hours to break camp but the kids did OK in the car. Richard and I were totally exhausted by the time the car was packed. Oh, also by the time we finished packing the car...the sun was shining. Ugh. If it had just stopped raining an hour earlier we probably could have had a fun morning at camp and packed at a more leisurely pace. Oh well. We got home in time for some relaxing, naptime, more relaxing, Father's Day dinner of frozen pizza, bathtime, and bed. *sigh*

It really was a pretty good trip. The rainy parts weren't exactly highlights - but they could have been much worse. Really, we were drier when we went to bed the rainy second night than we were the hot and sweaty first night. Gross but true. And at least we had fun in the morning with the swimming. And at least we decided to go Friday night instead of Saturday morning. Because if we had arrived Saturday just in time for the rain I would have been really bugged. And at least we had great company to play with and help us with the kids.

Anyway, overall this trip isn't anywhere near the worst camping experience I've had. And the kids really had a blast. Did I mention this place was covered with rocks? Asher was in heaven. And Naomi thought it was a big adventure.

Stay tuned later today for the pictures. I don't have the energy this morning to do pictures.


Kelly said...

slight correction. . Kevin and KELLY put up your tent, not Grant!! I had to get that in because just after we got all of our stuff set up and sat down and cooled off, along came Grant and Margaret and we helped them unpack and then they told us to put your tent up. :)
I think Kevin decided it was a 30-40 yd walk from the parking lot to camp, wasn't too bad but pretty exhausting!!
We're glad you came both nights, we had fun!

Grandpa Earl said...

I figure there are 2 things you get out of camping. 1. A change of pace from the daily grind. You got that one, so check. 2. An adventure. That one you usually have to work at a little bit, but you got one for free. Not the one you expected, but adventures are to be enjoyed when they happen. So, check.

Congratulations on a great camping trip.

angela michelle said...

Sounds hilarious--with all the movies and restaurants, not all that much camping! But it does sound exhausting. Sounds like you did a great job finding ways to keep everyone happy no matter what happened.

Rebecca said...

Sounds like a fun adventure! They won't forget the "camping" trip.

I think I see why our family camping trips were always only one night. By the second you're ready for something movies and restaurants.

Farmer Joe said...