Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Camping 2010 at Lake Louise State Park

This year's annual camping trip with friends brought us down near the Iowa border to Lake Louise State Park. This was also Nathan's first camping trip. Camping with a 9-month old was certainly a change, but overall I think we adapted fairly well. Thankfully one of our friends brought the our bins of camping supplies this year, otherwise there would be no way we could have driven down in one vehicle.

I worked a full day on Friday (maybe I'll take the afternoon off next year), and after our usual evening routine at home, we headed out just before Nathan's bedtime so he could sleep on the way down. We arrived around 9pm and despite our hopes, Nathan didn't sleep through our unloading of the car and instead got to play with our friends while we unpacked and set up the tent with the help of our car's headlights. We stayed up for awhile around the fire and Beth put him down to bed. He had trouble sleeping each night but we think it was mostly due to teething issues lately.

I love our new tent. It's huge. We knew we would need space for us and a pack & play this year so we upgraded to a new big tent. It took a little troubleshooting to get it set up just right, but it worked out great. There were even poles for each door so we could have doors that swing open. A little hard to get used to, but very nice.

Saturday was a beautiful day for camping. Our friend Amanda brought a portable highchair that hooks on the edge of a table, and we used it to feed Nathan at the picnic table and it worked great for every meal. While he enjoyed his pureed food, the rest of us had fruit, bacon & eggs (a new addition to this year's menu) and my fried donut. I fry up biscuit-dough donuts on the camp stove each year and coat them in sugar. They're always a big hit.

My sister let us borrow her baby backpack and we used it to go on a short hike with Nathan later Saturday morning. He loved riding on my back and checking out the scenery. We stopped at the beach for snacks, and headed back for his lunch. After he ate rest of us had our Tacos in a Bag using a bag of Doritos, taco meat, and taco fixings all mixed up in the bag.

In the afternoon we played with Nathan on a blanket with his toys, and I went for a hike with a couple friends while Beth and Nathan went down for naps. The highlight of our hike was an unexpected river crossing. The trail was marked as a horse and hiking trail, and all our our previous river crossings were over bridges... except for one. We ended up stopping and enjoying the cool water for awhile, and then kept hiking until our feet dried so we could put on socks and shoes again. After the hike we took some much-needed showers and got ready for dinner.

Like previous years we made our "Hobo Dinners" (aka Foil Dinners) consisting of meat, cheese, and veggies roasted in a packet of foil on hot coals in the firepit. Nathan slept well for the first part of the night while we enjoyed s'mores and good conversation around the fire. He had a rough time sleeping later that night, though.

This year a bunch of our group had tickets for Wicked on Sunday and had to leave right away in the morning, so Sunday was a quick scramble to pack up first thing in the morning. We managed to take down the tent and stuff all our gear back in the car and made it back home before lunch, with a brief stop at a rest area on the way home.

As always, we had a great time camping with our friends, and I think our first attempt at camping with a baby was a success!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Camping 2009 at Whitewater State Park

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!