Sunday, April 05, 2009

Our 1st Family Camping Trip: Sort of a Success But Not a Failure

Warning: Long post follows, with lots of pictures!

We embarked on a bright, sunny afternoon the first Sunday of Spring Break, full of hopes and high expectations about our first family camping trip. We intentionally chose a campground that was near to home incase it all fell apart, one that had lots of short trails for hikes, along with a playground for Charlotte.

The playground and the trails were a hit... and so was the close distance to home!

The set-up went fairly easy, though we were both a little nervous about testing our communication skills while trying to assemble the tent. Fortunately, tents have come a long way in the last 20 years. It took about 60 minutes to set up, but we were also trying to entertain Charlotte and put it together for the first time ever.

I give you Camp Sabin. The tent is HUGE. It has 3 rooms plus a screen room. We decided not to put up the interior walls though and had a very generous L-shaped space to sleep in. I don't recommend clicking on the picture though... you might not be too impressed with the picnic table area. I hadn't had a chance to settle that side of the campsite yet.

For the most part, Charlotte was happy to sit in her chair and eat chocolate goldfish while we established our temporary outdoor homestead. That isn't a mole on her cheek though, just chocolate residue.

After all that hard work, it was time for some rest. Bruce with his Doritos and Charlotte in her new camp chair.
Our family had a lot of fun playing outdoors. First with bubbles, and then on the playground.

We also ate some yummy food (until random creatures of the night got their paws/claws on it!) First we have make-shift s'mores. There was a burn ban going on, so I tried to improvise by wrapping the essential ingredients in foil and putting over some hot charcoal. It mostly worked and Bruce asked for seconds.

Then, the next night, I tried to up the healthy quotient and assembles the s'mores ingredients over split bananas. I call them Banana Split S'mores. Yep, creativity abounds!
We ate these early enough that Charlotte could enjoy them before bedtime. I think this is the first time she has ever had straight chocolate. Is it an understatement to say she seemed to enjoy it?
We did eat other stuff like BBQ chicken, hot dogs, Taco Bell, and IHOP, but those pictures would have been boring. Actually, the BBQ chicken didn't turn out very well and the Taco Bell was a necessary replacement. The IHOP was a result of some scavengers prying open our cooler the 2nd night. It was a very disturbing event that kept me awake for a full hour, until Charlotte woke me up... but I'll get to that later.
The animals, probably a racoon, pig, armadillo, and squirrel posse, may have eaten our hot dogs, cheese sticks, peanut butter, hash browns, sausage, and grapes, but we got a little revenge when it made them sick. Of course, they got their revenge because at least one of them got sick from the tree above our tent and left us a present. The other animals just left their presents on the ground for us to try and avoid like mines in the dessert.
As for Charlotte sleeping... she didn't. Mostly. The trip was fun except for the lack of sleep she and I experienced. The first night, I couldn't get comfy and still hadn't fallen asleep by the time she woke at 1 am. Despite the best efforts of both Mommy and Daddy, we threw in the towel a little after 2 am and drove home to our own beds. Crawling into my own bed before 4 am and sleeping until 8 am felt good. 
On our way back to the campsite, we stopped and bought me an air mattress and decided to give it a try for another night. After lots of fun hiking (pictures below), we tried bedtime again around 8:30 and it went pretty well. Until 4 am. Then, Charlotte decided she would be up for the day. I ended up getting about 5 hours of sleep the 2nd night, to add to my 4 hours from the night before.
After playing quietly in the tent until 6:30, I woke Bruce up and decided it was time to go assess the animal carnage. It wasn't pretty and I couldn't tackle it on an empty stomach. So we went in search of breakfast and got ripped off at IHOP to the tune of $27 for 2 eggs, 2 pancakes, and 2 pieces of bacon for Bruce and I (each), and 2 eggs and yucky toast for Charlotte. Oh, and the $3 orange juice!
Here are some pictures of our hikes, in mostly random order. 
Getting ready for our first trek into the hammocks.
Exploring the wonders of nature.
The happy family. Can you believe this was the 1st attempt at a self-portrait? And that I was holding the camera?
This was near the end of our last hike. It was about 40 minutes long and Charlotte walked the entire way! We were really impressed with her stamina, especially since it was about 7 pm when we started our walk.

I think I hit enough highlights to make up for my lack of blogging this past week. Hope you enjoyed camping with us! It will be a while before we attempt it again. :)


  1. Just a tip, when camping in Florida - keep ALL food in the car or hang it from a rope several feet off the ground and away from anything those guys can climb up on.

  2. We actually knew that... and most of it was in the car. But we didn't think they could pry the cooler open. It was tough for even Bruce to get open. Live and learn.

  3. Sounds like a fun trip except for the lack of sleep. The banana s'mores look good. I can't believe Charlotte walked all that way.

  4. Our first real camping trip - the girl was close to 4 and the boy just turned 1. We also chose a place less than an hour from home. I'm the one who usually doesn't sleep well when camping and it took much longer for the kids to settle down and sleep...still the way it is today. You definitely need an inflatable mattress - especially being pregnant! We got one a couple of yrs ago and it makes a difference!

    We also had a raccoon incident the last time we also added to the overall general sleep-less-ness on my part.

    Even though the kids (and mom!) have some unpleasant moments - after the trip and some time elapses - we all want to do it again.

    I know what you mean about the IHOP rip-off...I'd love for their to be an inexpensive breakfast eat out place b/c once in awhile it's fun to do that with the kids.

  5. This is entirely TOO cute! Thanks for letting us in on what looks to be a great family outing.

  6. First of all- love the pictures. Your daughter is so adorable!
    Second of all: Eeeek! You went camping?!?! You crazy woman! We were without power for 3 days when hurricane Ike came through, and I lost it in 6 hours!

  7. we bring two twin mattresses when we camp! plus our laptops and iphones... we are wimpy campers ;D


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