Sunday, November 3, 2013

Camping Trip!

We took the kids on a camping trip last year on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. It topped out at 103 degrees and left us all very sweaty and sticky (thank God for cool lakes nearby). This year, we were determined not to make that mistake again so a couple months ago we planned a camping trip with my sister, Katie, and her wonderful family for the end of October. As luck would have it, a cold front came through and the lows for the weekend ended up being in the 30s. (Not like now, a week later, where the weather is PERFECT and the lows are in the 50s). With two three year olds and a five year old, we weren't sure how it was going to work out but we decided to go ahead with the plan and hope for the best. And I'm really glad we did :)

The trip was a ton of fun. We met the Beans for breakfast then caravanned to DeSoto Falls Campground. The camp sites were your basic no-electricity sites: picnic bench, flat area for a tent and a fire pit. We picked a nice spot (based almost entirely on how much sun was currently shining on it) and setup the Beans' "tent hotel." The kids "helped" for a few minutes but as soon as the first tent was up, they dropped the helping game and went on to more enjoyable activities.

That was also around this time we realized that in trying to decide whether we should bring firewood from home or buy it on the way, we had done neither and therefore had nothing to build a fire with. The boys were immediately tasked with gathering firewood for the weekend before we all froze.

After we got the fire started, cooked our lunch and warmed up a little, we headed to the falls. It's only a 3/4 mile hike to the upper falls but with as much as the kids ran back and forth on the trail, it was probably more like 7,000 miles. But it was well worth the hike. The trail and falls are beautiful at this time of year.

The kids trying to keep each other warm on the hike back.
 One thing that was special about this trip was that Patrick is old enough to help with some of the camp site "chores" that had to happen. Any time Brandon and I had to go scavenge for firewood, Patrick jumped at the chance to come with us. He'd help us carry wood back, or sometimes (don't tell the moms) hold the hatchet for us while we sawed wood or carried the bigger logs. He was very proud of being "one of the guys" and it was awesome to have some bonding time with him. Here's a picture of him using a knife for the first time (with my help, of course) to make our hot dog/marshmallow roasting sticks. I made sure to tell him what my Grandfather (who carved professionally) always told us when we were kids: "Never put the meat in front of the blade."

The night went surprisingly well for how cold it was (... at least, for most of the group. Katie and Angie might disagree.) We all stayed right by the fire roasting marshmallows and chatting until it was bed time. Then we bundled the kids up, shoved them way down in their sleeping bags and hoped for the best. It helped that they were exhausted from the busy day, but they all slept AMAZING the whole night.

In the morning we collected more firewood (surprise!), Brandon made eggs and bacon for breakfast and we even managed to have some coffee.

All in all, it was a great weekend. We were all so proud of the kids for sticking it out through the freezing cold weather and being great sports. They had so much fun playing together and we had a fun time watching them and getting to hang out with Katie and Brandon. Our kids have been talking about camping again sometime soon ever since we got home. I'm all for soon as it warms up a little bit :)

Even when they're too tired to walk, they still want to hold hands.
You can check out more pictures from the weekend by clicking right here or looking at the slideshow below.


KBBean said...

We had so much fun! Thanks for braving the cold with us and sharing your awesome family. We are so grateful to be able to do these kinds of things together!

Anonymous said...

What a great weekend! I love the picture of them on your shoulders and still holding hands...melted my heart.