Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Camping with Toddlers: A How-Not-To Guide.



HELLLLLLOOOOOOO!!

I hath forsaken this blog for quite some time, and all I can say for myself is #life. My hope is to slowly revive it from its state of withering frailty into something a bit more colorful. Unlike the flowers NOT blooming in my yard because of the week of 110' heat we just endured.

Seriously. That was just mean.

I know it's normal for the desert, BUT WE DON'T LIVE IN THE DESERT. We moved OUT of it for this very reason!

Anyway. Back to the topic at hand: Camping.

(No cringing!! Camping is not a four letter word!!)

I happen to love camping.

I mean, would you look at that campsite view!

I love being outside in general, really. Particularly in the mountains. The woodsmoke and pine. Poking at glowing embers. The dark sky and the countless stars. Shutting off the world, and just... being.

Ben and I used to camp a lot, but, well, the addition of children stifled that a bit. Plus, living in the desert for four years, camping just didn't have the same lure for me. I like to camp near (1) trees and (2) streams and (3) mountains.

Yeeeeeeaaaaah.

I'm a spoiled California girl, what can I say?

So, now that we're back by the good ol' Sierras, and the boys are a little bit more... independent (i.e. I was PRETTY sure Brennan wouldn't spend the entire time eating dirt, which, thankfully, he didn't), we thought we'd give it a go. We went with some good friends of ours, with a big group from church. It was awesome for all sorts of reasons, but one of those reasons, which happens to be more important to me NOW than it ever was before, is food prep. A few in our church DID IT ALL! (they should be sainted.)

Cooking is the only snag for me with camping, because #dishes. I HATE DOING THEM. And who wants to deal with cooking and dishes after a day of wrestling with dirty toddlers, who are whiny and overtired because they're too excited to fall asleep at night, and then the dang crows laugh you awake at 5 AM?

Yeah, not feeling the cooking, people... (side note: a prime example on importance of commas.)

Having the cooking handled made ALLLLLLL the difference. We were able to just... enjoy the day, drink the coffee, see the sights. And in Yosemite, there are PLENTY.

We took the boys on a few hikes. I tried to keep my expectations realistic (No, Barbara, your boys are *still* probably too young to hike Half Dome... No, you can't do Cloud's Rest, either... Yes, sixteen miles is too much for a three and four year old). But three miles? WE CAN DO THREE MILES.

I bribed them with Werther's and Skittles and Twizzlers to keep them moving when ALL! THEY! WANTED! TO! DO! WAS! STOP!

It was really important to me that we hiked the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall (read: THEY WERE GOING TO DO IT EVEN IF I HAD TO DRAG THEM BY THEIR EARS). I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Mist Trail, because you're hiking up steps carved directly into the rock, right alongside a waterfall, whilst getting HOSED. It is SO COOL and SO HUGE and SO POWERFUL (like everything in Yosemite). Really, I think that's part of the reason I love being in the mountains. Nothing makes me appreciate God's power more than seeing the magnificent landscape He's created. Yosemite is awe-inspiring.

The drought has kept Vernal Fall to a sad trickle for too many years, and there was nothing remotely misty about the Mist Trail. The name was almost a mockery. But this year - a year of 170% snowpack - it MORE than earned its name. Ben ended up having to carry Brennan on the uphills, but I'm happy to report that the boys made it - 3+ miles! - and we were all properly soaked by the end!

VERNAL FALL: It's hard to see just how WET everything is, but that is all spray! If you look closely, you can see people in ponchos, upper right.


Another side trip I've always wanted to do, but we've never before stayed in Yosemite long enough to do it, was Glacier Point. It's got incredible views of Half Dome and the Valley. I mean, it's kind of impossible to appreciate the sight of Half Dome when you're STANDING ON TOP OF IT. (There's a metaphor in there somewhere...)

Someone told us to try Sentinel Dome, which is a "short" hike off the road to Glacier Point, so we did that instead.

I have learned that words like "short" have a different meaning when you have toddlers.

The boys weren't enthused about a second day in a row of hiking. (No one wanted to hold my hand by the end of it. I can't blame them. I only walk at one pace. It's hereditary.)

Me and Brennan


My boys shed their share of tears, and I ran out of candy too soon, but they made it. THE VIEWS, though! So worth it! Hopefully, when they're older, they'll agree with me...



There ARE showers in the Valley, for those of you who MUST. SHOWER. At $5 per person, they're pretty pricey. The Yosemite Lodge pool was offering a free swim, so we opted for that instead. Plus! Views of Yosemite Falls while you're swimming! ...Except right before we left, someone pooped in the pool (eeeeeeeeeeeewwww), so we ended up having to shower anyway.

Like I said: I LOVE camping, and camping with the kiddos is a completely new experience. Before, when Ben and I would camp, it was more for the purpose of hiking. Pushing ourselves physically, conquering some new height, reaching a vantage we had to earn.

That's changed, obviously. It's HAD to, but I find myself loving the other parts. The simpler parts. Just getting the boys outside, letting them play in a stream for hours, helping them explore the incredible world God's made, and teaching them things like how to roast a marshmallow (and try not to get stressed by all the STICKY.) Being together WITHOUT the daily chaos and noise. WITHOUT all the things that demand our attention. Remembering what's important. (like sleep, haha)

Inside our ten-person tent, aka The Taj.

Speaking of important, when I asked Brahm what his favorite part about the trip was, he quickly replied with, "Wyatt and Everett!" (his friends)

Sometimes I feel like my four year old has a better grasp on priorities than I do.

Where the Wild Things are...
Briana, and a cup of liquid sanity.






I'll end with this: After four days and three nights of camping, I tucked Brahm into his own bed and asked:

Me: Did you like sleeping in the sleeping bag in the tent?
Brahm: *thinking* *nods* Yeah, but... *hesitates* There are so many people in the tent. I like sleeping in my bed. There are not so many people in my bed.

I hear ya, kid. No matter where you go or what you do, it's ALWAYS good to be home.

I'd LOVE to hear YOUR camping stories!!

3 comments:

  1. The way my wife and I deal with cooking on camping trips is to pre-cook and pre-prepare all of our food. We pick food that carries well like that. Yes, we still have to heat it back up, but that is amazingly simple to do.
    Last camping trip we took:
    chili (that's actually an amazingly simple thing to heat up over the fire if it's already cooked)
    meatballs (Swedish style but without the sauce)
    and... oh, I forget what else. Stuff that went with the above.

    We did this whole gold country trip back at the beginning of May, and there's a lot of it on my blog. But not the food. I didn't go into that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YESSSSS. Pre-make EVERYTHING. I love how you guys eat!! You should totally go into your food menu on your blog!

      Delete
  2. Next trip, I will make sure to make notes about the food so that I can give details about that.

    ReplyDelete

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