Archive for the 'camping' Category

First Backpacking Trip

This is the story of our first overnight backpacking trip with the kids.  The cast of characters includes me and Hubby, A (age 9), E (age 7) and E-boy (age 4).  Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate lab puppy, Moose (age 8 months).  This story will be told with many words and few pictures, not by choice, but due to the unfortunate circumstance of arriving at the trailhead and finding that one of the children had unplugged the camera battery charger without the batteries getting enough juice.  So, here we are at the trailhead, ready to start on our journey:

We’ve been planning to do an overnight backpacking trip with the kids for a while.  We love to get the kids out experiencing the wonders of nature, and enjoy camping.  So after doing several day hikes with the kids we went looking for a nice trail to hike.  We wanted to hike in 5-6 miles, with a gentle gain in elevation.  We also were looking for something that was near a creek, and allowed dogs to hike along.  After much searching we settled on hiking to Spider Meadow.  We planned to spend three days and two nights, hiking in on day one and setting up camp, then spending day two doing day hikes without packs for the kids, then hiking out on the third day.  We packed up our gear into five packs (Hubby carried almost 40 pounds, I carried 20, A 11, E9 and E-boy 5.  Oh and the dog carried his food and bowls in his little pack) and set off for the trailhead.

I have to say, we picked a great hike.  The trail was in good condition and the ascent was gentle.  The main challenge was the creek crossings, which we prepared for by bringing crocs to wear when wading across.  A few of the creeks were flowing pretty high, and Hubby froze his feet by carrying across first his own pack, then each of the girls.  Halfway in we stopped for lunch on the trail, then continued on.  The second half of the trail was covered in patches of snow, which was a bit challenging for the kids to cross.  We took a pretty lazy pace so the kids could enjoy themselves on the trail, and reached the meadow after about 6 hours of hiking.

The view when we reached the meadow was spectacular!  The first thing we saw was a huge buck standing near the creek, looking right at us.  It was one of those sights you just have to be still and drink in.  Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures of it.  So sad; so very, very sad.  Here’s what it looked like:

Once in the meadow, we found a nice place to camp by crossing yet another creek.  We set up the tents and went about the process of cooking dinner.  The kids ran about the grassy meadow (amazing how setting down their packs had energized them to play tag after hiking 6 miles) while Hubby and I enjoyed the views.  We had a lot of solitude, as there were only two or three other groups of campers in the meadow, none on our side of the creek.  After dinner, we tucked the kids in their tents and settled into ours.

We woke in the morning to all that glorious scenery!  There’s nothing like early mornings in the great outdoors!  When we went to get the kids out of their tent, we heard the bad news.  A’s palate expander had come unglued on one side during the night.  It was loose in her mouth, and it was hurting.  We had two choices, we could tell her to buck up and deal with it for the next two days, or we could hike out and have the orthodontist take care of it as soon as we could.  We briefly considered just pulling it out with the leatherman tool, but that didn’t seem like a viable option since neither Hubby nor I had gone to dentistry school.

We fixed breakfast, and ate before breaking camp.  A. wasn’t able to eat much, but she drank some milk and sucked on her Cheerios.  Then we took down our tents and packed up our backpacks.  I can’t tell you how disappointed we were to have to cut our trip short, especially since we were hiking out carrying an entire day’s worth of food.  However, we did what we had to do.

The hike out went faster than the hike in, as we were going downhill.  We didn’t have time to dawdle, as we needed to reach cell phone service before the office hours were over at our orthodontist.  After reaching the trailhead it was another hour before we were able to call out.  Luckily, the orthodontist was able to meet us at his office in the evening and take out the expander for A. 

So that is the story.  I have to say it was a successful hike.  We were able to carry everything we needed in, and we reached our destination.  The kids did a great job hiking, and we can definitely plan another overnight hike soon.  This time, though, we’ll make sure we have batteries for the camera.  And A. no longer has a palate expander to pop off and ruin our plans.  Whatever our next adventure brings, I’m sure we can handle.

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One More Camping Trip

Last weekend our family headed up to the lake for one last camping trip of the summer.  It almost feels like we’re cheating when we go camping in September, eeking out an extra bit of Summer.  The weather around here is gorgeous in September, and since most of the tourists have gone back home, the lake is quiet at this time of year.

When we got in on Friday we set up our campsite.  The weather report predicted that there could be rain showers on Saturday morning, so Hubby and I strung up a tarp over our picnic table, just in case.  It turned out we didn’t get any rain, but we had a monster windstorm on Saturday night.   The tarp didn’t blow away, though, and neither did we.

Saturday morning was cool, so we started out by taking a little hike above our camp.

Here’s my attempt at getting a candid shot of the family hiking.  I don’t think the kids know the meaning of the word “candid”.

 After our hike, the weather had warmed up a bit, so the kids had fun paddling this raft around.  Hubby took E-boy for a ride.  Me, I sat in my camp chair on the dock and knitted on a sock.

Do you see that nice rock wall around the fire pit?  We built that!  By the afternoon on Saturday the wind was starting to blow, so we needed to make a little wind break for our fire.  Here’s Hubby building up a fire for me to bake a birthday cake for E., who turned seven on Saturday.  The plan was to bake a chocolate-raspberry cake in the cast iron dutch oven.  It was a good plan, but next time we’re going to use a different recipe.  Luckily, the birthday girl enjoyed her cake.

 Here’s the finished cake, complete with pink candles.  I didn’t keep track of how many were blown out by the wind before the birthday girl started blowing.  Inside the pretty pink box was a new webkinz unicorn, which E. thought was a pretty good gift.  This picture makes it look like the unicorn is whispering a secret in E’s ear.

E-boy still has a thing for throwing rocks in the water.  I don’t think there are any more rocks near the beach that are throwable by a three and a half year old boy.  You can see here how the wind is starting to whip up the water.  It kept blowing all night long, and didn’t die down unitl late the following morning.  It was a pretty crazy night, lying in the tent wondering if it was going to blow away in the wind.  The kids didn’t seem to have trouble sleeping, but Hubby and I didn’t get much rest.  Luckily, we’d battened down the hatches and were prepared to wait out the storm.

This last picture is of our dinner on Sunday, beef stew cooked over the campfire.  Seriously, this was yummy!  I precut most of the veggies at home and brought them in a ziplock.  The beef was leftover from the last dinner cooked at home.  At camp, all I had to do was put the meat and veggies in the pot, and cut the potatoes.  Then I tossed in a packet of seasoning and some water.  It only took about half an hour over the fire to cook the carrots and potatoes.  I’d brought along a loaf of homemade bread which we sliced, buttered and garlicked, then wrapped in foil to heat over the fire.  It made a delicious dinner served at a lake-view picnic table.

In Which We Go Camping

I had a little bit of a blog break there…actually a little bit of a break from everything.  The family took a camping trip to the lake.  We did some boating, fishing, hiking, biking and genral relaxing around a campfire. 

Hubby made a friend right when we got to the campground.

We did a little fishing in the creek:

And found a little snake:

Here’s hubby “walking on water” a.k.a. standing on an old pier right under the water that he found while snorkeling.

A. and E. were practicing their casting:

My girl is getting so grown up!

Here’s E. acting goofy when she sees the camera:

And E-boy’s cheesy grin:

And one more, just ’cause he’s cute:

It’s Summertime

And apparently I’ve been to busy to keep up on blogging.  With three kids underfoot all day, it’s no wonder. 

We did manage to get away for a few days camping, but only ended up taking a few pictures because I didn’t know where hubby had stashed the camera.

And for the last few days, we’ve been watching the smoke in the sky to determine exactly how close the wildfires are. 

I took this picture last night from my own front yard:

And here’s one Hubby took:

One Last Hurrah!

My kids LOVE camping!  Maybe that has something to do with their daddy loving camping…  We’re back from our last camping trip of the summer, and the kids had a blast!  On Friday, we loaded up the boat, and took off for one of our favorite camping spots on the lake.  This trip was estra special because we got to bring along my father-in-law, whom the kids adore.  Here’s where we spent the week-end:

And our boat, safely in her slip at the dock:

My darling husband is quite an adrenaline junkie.  He and some buddies came up to the lake earlier in the summer and found this great rock to jump from, so here he is showing off for us.  I think this picture is of the first jump.  After that he wanted to make a second jump.  Then, I (the photographer and boat driver) talked him into doing it another time, just to make sure his fun was adequately documented.

And we spent some time fishing (by “we” I mean, “everyone but me”).  The girls, along with dad and grandpa, had a lot of fun.  These pictures remind me of the sappy “Take me Fishing” campaign….”Take me fishing, because my wedding will be sooner than you think”.  Yeah, I’m sappy like that.  Hubby and Grandpa were so proud of the girls!  Each of the girls caught and reeled in their own little fish.  Grandpa caught several little fish, and Hubby was left without a single one.

Here’s A. with her catch (it was dusk…why can’t the fish bite when there’s enough light to photograph them properly?):

And E. fishing with a little help from daddy:

Not to leave out E-Boy, here he is, throwing rocks into the water.  I am convinced that in just one weekend my children have contributed to raising the water level of the lake by all the rocks they’ve thrown into it.  I’m glad they found a way to keep occupied and out of trouble.  We only had to stop them a few times to keep them from throwing the rocks at each other.

Now we’re home, the boat is put away, the cooler emptied and the kids all bathed.  It was a fun weekend for us all, and a great farewell to Summer.