Camping 2015 trip #2 is in the books now. Thankfully. Egads but there's been a lot of rain. Harrumph but I sound grumpy about it. Oh my but our shoes are muddy because my brother made reservations 6 months ago (otherwise known as the-very-first-day-he-could-because-you-can-only-make-reservations-6-months-in-advance), which was the day after Christmas, and by George we were going hiking no matter what. Kudos to him 'cause I wasn't going to be that dedicated, I don't think. This trip was to a family-favorite (and state-wide favorite judging by the way reservations fill up) state park, which has some of the best hiking trails I've seen in this state. And irony of ironies. Somewhere around 90% of them were closed this past weekend when we were there because of the tremendous flooding that has ensued from the tremendous rainfall this month. It was tremendously disappointing for several members of our camping expedition.
Personally, I just wanted a good campfire and a general lack of bugs. And cooler but not too cool weather with a lower humidity. Simple needs for a simple person. I'm also one who could spend an afternoon doing not much more than watching the birds and animals in the wildlife observation room at the nature center of a state park. The sheer amount of birds and chipmunks and (if we're really lucky) a snake or turtle just give me happy feelings.
I actually missed the majority of the first slip-n-slide adventure (e.g. hike) because the Younger was fading rapidly after lunch and she was in need of some serious downtime. So I ended up spooning with her on an air mattress while she sweated on my arm (a little heat source, she is) while I awkwardly tried to fill in some of my crossword puzzles that I had gotten behind while away the week before. But the temperature was just about perfect, there were no bugs being all buggity, and who doesn't enjoy some rest time?
But then the phone tag started in a place where you take one step to the right or the left and you lose service. After the Younger woke up, we set out to catch up to the group, which fruitless. But we ended up "hiking" the beginnings of a couple of different trails, much of it me walking at a snail's pace while the Younger trudged at a glacier's pace behind me moaning about having to walk. I don't know where she's coming from, but she's not been all about the walking to anywhere on her own pins of late. Then I gave her a stick, and she was all "Well, this is better. Carry on." And after an hour, we gave up trying to play seek & find with the family group and did whatever it was that we really wanted to do. Which was sit in the observation room at the nature center. So we did.
The Younger latched onto a bird identification book and told us a story. Tell me what is better than sitting in a comfortable room, watching animals do their thing, while a 3-year old weaves a fantastic tale about animals using only her imagination and a bird guide to do so? Not a thing. At least at that moment, it was just right. And she sure didn't care if there were other people around as well. No, she did not.
And later that night, there was a delightful campfire (which was sadly missing in our first camping trip this year, though I seem to be the only one who noticeably minded that) and I didn't have to babysit the kids at bedtime, which is all it really is when you're trying to coax the Younger to lay down on your bed! and stop talking to your sister! and no, I am not going to tuck you back in! and stop kicking the tent! and great, you saw a shadow...now find your side of the tent and stay over there already! She's a bit of a wanderer for an hour or so. Or two on those special nights (like when you're camping).
And as this summer is trip-heavy, I'm only planning for one jaunt at a time. So this means that I'm gearing up for the adventure we're taking with the girls, whereupon the first two nights, we're going to be in the middle of Nowhereville, staying in a cabin-y area that has a mini fridge and a coffee maker but no other means of preparing meals for the first two days. And I'm already feeling a bit befuddled by this because we are a family that does like to eat and we'll have limited space to take my pantry with me.
And while I'm mentioning befuddlement, I'll end with a favorite sign we saw when hiking in California (which, by the way...a comparative tale of two hiking adventures). It said simply this: Don't pick up the seals. I somewhat regret not taking a picture of that because, naturally, one might be compelled to do so.