Camping with kids is MUCH different than camping with people over the age of 20. And as this weekend approached, I have to admit that I was not looking forward to trying to cram all of our stuff, plus Jaia’s stuff, plus the dog and his stuff in to the car for two nights in the great outdoors. I may have even complained once or twice about it.
But then, once the packing was done and we were on our way, I started to get excited. I love camping. I really do. But it’s a lot of work to get ready, while you are there and then to pack up to go home. I would no longer call it a relaxing weekend away. But the upside this time was the weather. It was beyond phenomenal and not even one cloud passed by, nor did one drop of rain fall. It makes things a lot easier compared with the other years that we’ve been stuck under a tarp city. With a toddler? Impossible.
The sleeping in a tent with Jaia was no picnic either. Imagine camping from her point of view. PLAY! PLAY! PLAY! GET DIRTY! CHASE DOG! PLAY SOME MORE! EAT! PLAY! SWIM! And then go to bed in a strange blue dome while everyone else stays up laughing and having fun. She would have none of it. Finally in bed by midnightish, asleep closer to 2 and waking up every half hour or so. Sleep eluded both Jaia and I that first night.
We went to the same site, on the same we weekend, with the same friends as last year. Sharbot Lake is a great campground that is less than 2 hours away and is very well maintained, as most of the Ontario Provincial Parks are. This once has a people beach and a dog beach, which our fisher-dog adored. And Jaia, my little aquabat, was in heaven. She and her dad took swimmimg lessons when she was just a teeny bean and has since spent a good deal of time in swimming pools, lakes and oceans. And she’s always loved it. This was the first time though that she took flying leaps forward, dunking herself with each one. And though I lost my breath each time she did it, after Dan scooped her back up, she’d laugh out loud and try to immediately do it again. This kid does not have any fear of water.
The rest of the time camping is spent preparing food, cooking, eating, snacking, cleaning up after meals and preparing for the next meal. And making a fire. And, as far as Michelle is concerned, poking the fire. But we all eat so well and pull away from the campground happily hauling around a few extra pounds with us. My weakness this time: Cheesy Poufs (a.k.a. Corn Puffs). Delish. And SO salty.
We have not made plans for next year yet (we are all procrastinators) but there was mention of a week away at John’s dad’s cottage instead. (It is in Ontario, Dan. You can’t call it a cabin). As much as I love the idea of a cottage stay so much more than a week in a hot, sweaty tent, I will miss the ‘rugged’ outdoorsyness of tent camping. But not that much. After a few washes I swear I can still smell the campfire in my hair. So, bring on the comforts of home that come with cottage life. I’m in. Is Humph invited? 😉