Friday, April 22, 2016

Car Camping, Because We Win at Life

On Monday night, filthy and sitting by a campfire that my kids had built (I provided the cigarette lighter), drinking homebrew that Betsy's husband had made, chatting with other adults whom I genuinely like and who like me back, I thought to myself, "Hey, I am officially the type of person who goes camping with my friends!"

Life just keeps getting better and better, am I right?

I have no shame in admitting that while I went camping as a teenager with my JROTC group, with someone else handling all the infrastructure, and while I went camping as an adult before marriage and kids, with my only concerns being a tent, a sleeping bag, some friends and some liquor, I have never gone camping as an adult with kids. Kids who need to eat regular meals (and snacks, and more meals, and more snacks, and more meals just after you've cleaned up the previous meal, etc.). Kids who will whine and throw a fit if they're cold or tired or hungry--always hungry! Kids who need sunscreen and bugspray regularly applied, and who need their shoulders watched for pink and their armpits checked for ticks. I was a little nervous to camp with them, without my co-parent in residence, but hell--worst case scenario, town was just an hour away.

In any case, I needn't have worried. Kids are surprisingly resilient in the woods, and having other families with you makes for a helpful tribe who is more than a match for keeping a bunch of kids safe and happy and fed.

She sketched the dam using mud and a stick. My little artistic genius!
A dead tree fell over in our backyard during a windstorm a couple of weeks ago, conveniently allowing us to bring loads of super-dry wood for our campfires. In related news, Will also found an old snake's nest below that tree, with over twenty hatched eggs!
I bought the kids this portable hammock for Christmas, and it is the best. Thing. EVER.
very interesting rock, brought to me for inspection and admiration
On the second night of our trip, the kids asked if we could host the community campfire at our campsite. There's something to be said for having ownership of the flames, you know! The kids did the entire fire business all by themselves, and Syd even baked everyone doughboys, a recipe that she learned at Girl Scout camp.
See? Safe and happy and fed!

I'd thought that I was going camping for the kids' benefit, because I didn't realize how much I, personally, would enjoy all of this communal, social time with my adult friends. It wasn't quite perfect without Matt there, but still, having entire days of leisure just to hang out with and chat with other friendly adults, and eating yummy food with them (and by yummy, you of course realize that I mean half-charred, half cold sausages stuck on a stick), and hiking around in the woods with them.

It wasn't perfect without Matt, but it was still bliss.


Tina said...

So awesome! I camped most summers as a kid, and those were the best summers. We keep meaning to get back to it, but I am the only one who doesn't mind pooping in the woods.

julie said...

Well, another nice thing about car camping is that pit toilets are pretty great, at least in the early spring!

Syd has now gotten super inspired about campfire cooking, so I think that we'll be doing a lot of backyard firepits this summer!

Tina said...

Mmmm, I love food cooked over a fire. We have friends that cook most of their food during the warmer months outside over a fire (their oldest boy LOVES to do this). It's amazing what they cook up and how tasty it is. Can't wait to see what Syd comes up with!