One thing that Kev and I have learned to do during the course of our 16 years of camping together is the art of packing light for a three day adventure:
In my home, I am a minimalist.
On a camping trip...one just never knows what one might need.
Throw in four children and a chance of rain, and we are McGyver times two. Ready for anything.
Every possible thing we could ever need is on that trailer. Bam.
All the makings for a cozy Home away from Home.
End of School, Start of Summer, Birthday Camping Tradition.
Boys off by themselves in their own tent, included.
Rain also included. Always part of the tradition. Without freaking fail.
The weather likes to mock me on these vacations.
I've learned to see the humor.
For at least about seven years now, we have always had our yearly family camping adventure at our local Peaks Kenny State Park. We call it gourmet camping. It's pristine and lovely. There's electricity in the bathrooms. And showers. It's fairly well populated -- except for the weekends that we have always chosen to camp, because we like to go during torrential rain storms. The one perk of these weekend adventures, is that we tend to have the entire campground to ourselves. Most people have enough good sense to cancel their expeditions when they watch their local forecast for the weekend.
Not my boys.
They think it adds to the fun.
For some reason, I just found this to be highly awesome and hilarious compared to what I'm so very used to from past camping experiences. The campground is under new ownership this year, and needless to say, the new manager of the place is very "chill."
The river really was a little wild. No roped off swimming area with a lifeguard, here.
Only one large uncle to rescue two wild hoolie boys who kept threatening to float downstream.
The other Littles stayed pretty close to shore, and Aunty Julie and I stayed on high alert.
My boys informed me they could live here...
Kaden, Jesse, and Wyatt's birthdays! Woot!
School's out! Yippy!
Father's Day! Yahoo!
Family together in the WILD! Good times!
I like tradition. And candy...
I'm pretty sure it's the only thing in the world that I am absolutely addicted to when it's made.
But only when it's brown sugar fudge. And only when Dad makes it.
I especially love it made over an open fire.
I think I ate
Exhibit B for fun camp food that is also tradition:
Take a crescent roll and wrap that baby around the foil.
Cook it over an open fire like you would a marshmallow until it's golden brown.
Ease it off the stick and fill that hole as full as you can with vanilla pudding.
Slather some nutella on top for garnish and you have yourself one rockin' party in your mouth.
You're welcome for this.
Move over, S'mores. Mama's gone gourmet.
Until I go home and try to run a few miles.
Then for some reason, my body rebels and betrays our friendship...
Fun fact: When luna moths hatch, they only live for two weeks. They have no mouths, so they do not eat. Their sole purpose is to reproduce. Kind of crazy.
And a sweet little snakey with a chubby belly full of.....something.
It rained one night and and one full morning, but by midday the weather cleared off pretty decently.
And in the meantime, there was this super funky, kind of old, "recreation building" that was full of fun games and books, and air hockey tables....so we all went and hung out there until the rain stopped.
Julie and I beat Aaron and Kev in some beanbag toss game that was super fun.
We had snacks, the littles ran around, my brother had a crank radio....it was really kind of cozy and fun.
It was a fun change from our normal tradition of Peaks Kenny.
(Although, we really really missed our "Darrah Day" that always came with that tradition.)
It's a little farther away and far more "rustic."
The bugs were significantly worse, and the campsites were wild and wilderness-y.
But, they really had a sweet charm, with rustic lean-to's everywhere, to boot.
The river was a fun change, and the four-wheeling trails were amazing.
It was very quiet and private...we practically owned the place.
And other than the outhouse doors being locked for the first few hours of our stay, I give it a rousing two thumbs up....for anyone who likes going into the WILD.
For anyone who doesn't, I might stick with the state parks...
It was fun.
Love tanks filled. Up to the tippy top brim.
Another year in the books.