It will not surprise anyone to know that Jon is an expert camper. He went on lots of camping trips as a kid, and obviously his Army training has equipped him well to fend for himself in the woods. That said, he had never been responsible for our entire crew in a tent, so he was anxious to give it a go. For whatever reason, he has persisted in his assumption that I don't like camping. Not true. I just haven't done it as much. (He must have forgotten all about the stories of an epic camping trip in Prince Edward Island, Canada with my college roommate.) I was and am totally on board with camping, although I am very glad that we did a "practice run" by sleeping in a tent in our backyard.
We decided to camp for two nights over Memorial Day weekend at the urging of some friends who also were ready to try camping with two small children. We arrived at Fort Pillow State Park, about an hour and a half northeast of Memphis, on Friday afternoon. We set up camp--and by "we," I mean Jon, as I mostly baby wrangled during this time--and had dinner. Jon was certainly in his element with all his cooking over fire, fancy knot-tying, canoe packing, and general camping expertise. I think our friends were impressed...and grateful for his knowledge.
|Our home away from home|
Luckily, the distraction of fun activities kept the itching at bay. After breakfast, we headed out for a "hike." I use the term loosely because there's just as much whining as there is walking with little ones. At any rate, we walked through the woods for a bit. Elsa was jazzed to try out her new "bee-noculars," and we got to see some cool caterpillars, too.
|Nothing could possibly go wrong in this scenario|
Once the moms and little ones returned from the playground to pick up the boaters, it was time to head back to camp for a dinner of delicious shish kabobs. The kids continued playing at and around the campsite. Who knew that gravel and cooking utensils could provide so much entertainment?
After dinner, Jon took Elsa back to the lake for the ranger-planned sunset canoe ride. While it ended up being less organized than expected, it was a special time for dad and daughter.
|Check out the cool lantern set-up|
It was certainly wet on Sunday morning, but it didn't rain any more, so we had a leisurely breakfast and took our time packing up. Overall, the trip was a success, and I foresee more camping trips in our future...
...in fact, last weekend, we camped out again, this time via bike.
A local bike shop organized the trip as part of a larger adventure promoted by a bicycle bag company out of Seattle. Jon was interested right away, but it took us a while to figure out the logistics and keep our fingers crossed that the weather would hold (we were not interested in a repeat storm story). We finally decided that Elsa would ride on the back of Jon's bike, and Lena and I would drive, meeting the group at the campground. According to Jon, Elsa did great the nearly two-hour ride to Shelby Forest.
|And they're off!|
While we may not be touring western Europe or basking in Norway's midnight sun these days, we're still having adventures, and we wouldn't have it any other way.