Friday night, August 15th, we set off down the road for Whitewater State park for our 5th annual camping trip. This year the group grew to 11 campers including our youngest addition, Mikey, at 7 months old.
We arrived before sunset, set up our tent and got settled while we hung out with Bill & Sara. We soon noticed that the park's claim of "no mosquitoes" was true, and very nice. The rest of the group arrived later and we begin to fill up our 3 campsites. The biggest challenge (and most entertaining) part of the evening was putting up Jean's new tent. She bought it after last summer's trip, and didn't open it until this year, only to find that all the elastic cords in the tent poles were cut or broken. It took everyone to hold lanterns and sort through 40+ pieces of tent poles, and figure out how to assemble the 5 different poles to make up the tent. We eventually got it up and Jean had a place to sleep!
Saturday we enjoyed some good hiking, good food as usual, and great time with friends. We tried making donuts for breakfast this year, but some of our cans of biscuit dough got too wet in the cooler and exploded... mental note for next year. Tacos in a bag for lunch, simple and tasty.
The afternoon hike took us up to a high point in the park where we could see for miles. The view was excellent and we got to see some cool rock formations. Beth took it a bit slower, but did very well on all the steps, rocks, and rough terrain for being about 7 months pregnant. After we got back she relaxed and some of us went to wade in the river and skip rocks.
Our foil dinners worked especially well this year. Nick found a local firewood supplier and we got some good hardwood that doesn't burn up too quickly, and our fires burned well and made a good bed of coals for dinner. We were actually eating our foil dinners before dark! That may have been a first, or at least the first time in a few years.
We also learned that camping is not the best experience for somebody who's 7 months pregnant. Sleeping on an air mattress is not very conducive to staying comfortable and sleeping on your side. Beth hadn't been comfortable on the mattress or the camp chairs, and had worked pretty hard on our afternoon hike. Having been through this unusual stress, Nathan wasn't moving as much as he normally did and didn't respond to the usual ways of getting him moving. Since we knew Beth wouldn't sleep well that night and we were concerned about Nathan, we decided to leave after dinner and s'mores. Thanks to everyone for helping us pack up so quickly.
Rochester happened to be on our way home, close to the state park. For our own peace of mind, we stopped at the emergency room at St Mary's hospital in Rochester. The staff was excellent and got us in and out quickly. They set up a monitor so we could hear (and measure) Nathan's heartbeat for 20 minutes of observation. Thankfully, Nathan was just fine. Once Beth was able to recline to a comfortable position and drink some cold water he started moving again like normal. The best part of the experience was when I started talking to him. We usually talk and/or sing to him at night, so when I talked to him at the hospital, his heart rate immediately slowed down. It's pretty amazing to see how your unborn son actually knows and recognizes you, even if it's such a simple level. We're excited for the day we get to meet him.
After leaving the hospital we sent messages to the rest of the group to let them know all was well, and headed for home. At about 1am we pulled into the garage, came inside, and headed right to bed. I slept until 11am the next morning. I guess I needed it. We got to enjoy the bulk of the trip, made sure Nathan was OK and got to spend some quality time with him, and got out of camp just before the rain came. Overall it was another great (and memorable) camping trip. Now we get to look forward to Nathan's first camping trip next year!