The other week we went camping with some friends, and it was a reminder of how sometimes it's worth it to just block off a weekend for something out of the ordinary. There were burgers, and bunny sightings, and children playing around in a lake, and even a little birthday celebration for our friend's sweet (now) three year old, and mandatory smores.
The single thing that was probably the most marked for me was the fact that open space is the most perfect natural habitat for children. There were, let's see, fourteen children, and they were all off gathering sticks or chasing each other around, or making piles of the dry earth. And, aside from keeping an eye on all of the little ones because of all of the mountain lions in these parts (!!!), everyone was very independent and happy.
The nights are cool, drastically so (is it because of the dry air? The breeze from the ocean?), and by the time the sun was going down, everyone was in sweaters and socks, and covered from head to toe with dust and marshmallows. If you lined our family up, we could have been cast as a family in the dust bowl, complete with bare feet, determined faces, and many little children. Isn't it the craziest realization that children don't need a bath in the evening for their health and well being, they're just fine sleeping a little dusty. It feels at once rebellious and totally natural.
We happened to be out camping during a heat wave, and that meant that the days were hot. Up in the hills, it gets dry in the summer, the tall grass that was verdant with rain in the winter are yellow and parched, and during the summer the heat can be pronounced. We went fishing in the little lake in the afternoon, and we left woozy with the heat, happy to cool off with cold water and fruit at home.
It was a pleasant little camping trip, and I hope we have more of them in our future (and now that we have a big old family tent, I'm feeling optimistic that it might be the case!).
Do you have any favorite camping memories? Or any tips for camping with kids?