I love this picture. At first glance, it looks like C is pouting a bit. But further inspection reveals he’s actually softly smiling to himself. Content just to be surrounded by nature, doing nothing more than breathing in the mountain air.
The family and I have been doing more than our fair share of camping lately and this photo reflects exactly why I’ve fallen in love with our weekends away. The great outdoors has exactly the same effect on me as it does on my son.
Here’s how it goes down. I spend a good part of my Fridays doing laundry and loading up the beast trailer with clothes and provisions. When my hubby arrives home from work we jump in the car and head for the hills. I can quite literally feel the tension leave my body the farther we get from the city.
The best part is much of the time we’re technologically cut off from the world. Often we have no cell reception or internet connection. And even when we do, barring a work emergency, we don’t use it. This is such a gift. Lately I’d been noticing myself becoming more and more attached to my cell phone – even feeling a bit antsy if I didn’t have it with me.
I was starting to really wonder if it was possible to play with my kids without needing to check who was texting/facebooking/emailing me at any given moment. But ever since we started re-connecting with nature, I’ve noticed the phone doesn’t have the same pull it once did. I return home on Monday out of the habit of constantly checking in and I’m finding it much easier to keep my distance.
In case you’re wondering, the trailer we take on our adventure isn’t ours. It’s on loan from the in-laws for the summer. Have you guys ever trailer camped? We always tented it growing up and, I admit, until very recently I always thought these things were just a litte bit tacky. Oh, how wrong I was!
The camping trailer is not tacky or hokey or even “cheating” as some camping purists might insist. Instead it’s an almost magical device that lets you take a two and three year old into the woods for days at a time and still have them wake up…
…looking like this! Why is little S so happy? Because she’s clean (thanks to the trailer’s small tub and hand held shower nozzle) and rested (thanks to the bunk beds which my kiddos think are just about the coolest thing in the world). Best of all, she wasn’t freezing the minute she crawled out of her sleeping bag (always the worst part about camping). Plus her and her brother have a comfy booth to sit at for reading books or making a little art while breakfast is prepared.
I’m being a little cheeky here – are American’s allowed to use that word? We are a little spoiled by the trailer and we do greatly appreciate the convenience but it’s definitely not a pre-requisite to having some family fun in the forest. It just makes it a little easier if your family contains members under three feet tall. Once we get past the morning hump, the trailer stays pretty vacant for the rest of the day, provided it doesn’t rain.
One of the best things about traveling around exploring America’s campsites is finding out how varied they are. In the photos above we were in a pretty dense rain forest and we spent our time hiking and exploring.
Last weekend, by contrast, we made a 5 1/2 hour trek to meet up with some friends at a much more suburban style campsite. We started our days as we always do, a once over with the sunscreen (see above).
But instead of hiking, the kids were on bikes and scooters for pretty much all daylight hours. C is still loving his balance bike and we had more than one camper inquire about it as he zoomed by. S was captivated by this scooter (which she “borrowed” pretty much all weekend from our friends).
The clever design with two wheels in the front and one in back allowed her two year old self to stay balanced and chug along with the big kids. She’s not super speedy yet but I could see her getting a lot of enjoyment out if it as she becomes more proficient.
At night we all gathered together for family-style dinners. Cooking and cleaning up is so much more fun when mixed with girl talk from a friend you haven’t seen in months!
And, of course, camping just wouldn’t be camping without S’mores!
Do you guys camp? Do you tent? Trailer? Sleep under the stars? Despite our love for it, we’re still fairly new to this summer way of life. Any survival tips you have would be much appreciated!
P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and connect with your family?