We pack our minivan until it is ready to burst with sleeping bags, coolers full of food, bug spray, fishing poles, cooking utensils, pillows, a few clothes, sunscreen, and a tent to house the six of us for the weekend.
Oh, and the six of us. And our dog.
We drive less than an hour into the wilderness and unload our deep woods essentials.
rain, wind, and cold unpredictable weather.
We cart our food out of the car for meal times, and back in the car to prevent
the bears from eating us attracting bears.
We sleep on the ground, or close to it.
pee poop go potty in a hole in the ground.
I cook over a campfire for two to three meals a day.
Each evening we cart our trash to the bear-proof dumpsters.
Each night we lay down amongst the chatting, laughing, poking, and, "Mom I don't want to go to sleep!" We try to drift off as quickly as possible because we know that morning will come soon.
We listen to the pre-dawn birds.
Did I mention that we go without showers and washing in general?
BUT boy, do we make some memories.
Like eating hot dogs covered in dirt for dinner and having to borrow ketchup and mustard from other campers because Mom forgot them.
Like s'mores, and s'mores, and s'mores.
Like Daddy making up songs at bedtime with lyrics that make all of us giggle and laugh and join in the silliness.
Like hiking up to secret ponds at 11,000 feet elevation and watching our boys frolic in the water, throw rocks, and slide down the remaining snow pack.
Donuts, real bacon, and fried eggs for breakfast. Oh, and coffee never tasted better when you're short on sleep.
Last year at Shady Dell we had a fabulous farewell to our pop up camper. Great weekend, but it was clearly time to sell the money pit.
Then we borrowed a tent and camped with the Swishers, but thought we hated tent camping because we were so crowded. This year we bought an eight person tent so there is room for us to grow and stretch out.
It is great to get away from chores, computers, cell phones, and everyday life and just have us.
The boys love to climb.