We had our first family camping trip last weekend and were joined by the rest of the Douglas family too. A new family size tent, purchased just that day, was our home for two days. It was quite roomy and you could even stand up in it, provided you were shorter than Sven. As we pulled up to the campsite there was a little skepticism at the success of our trip, as the area was surrounded by poison oak and Chris seems to catch it by just looking at it. Sander quickly learned the lesson, do not touch anything green. We proceeded to set up camp, including a lesson in how to set up a pop up trailer. Sander was a lot of help with both tent and trailer set up.
The first night of sleeping came with a little restlessness inside the new tent. In part due to a squeaky air mattress. It kept some of us up more than others. We were also visited in the middle of the night by a large, Sasquatch type creature, later identified as a deer. Nicole bravely, and unintentionally scared it away by unzipping their tent because she was hot. In the early morning I heard another new noise. At first I thought it was animals (perhaps skunks or raccoons) running around the campsite, next I thought people raiding our camp stealing our yummy food and then I thought oh, Sven must be up early getting a fire started. Soon Chris woke up and heard the noise too and said oh must be dew dripping. Guess I should of thought of that.
After breakfast a few of us set off on a short, clearly identified hike.
We did reach a nice vista. I mean thought to be nice, but since it was still a little foggy we can’t be certain. We were able to get a family shot.
As we walked on we realized our short hike might be slightly longer than originally anticipated and that we might not make it back to ride the steam train. After continuing downhill for sometime and reaching the steep path back to the campsite we realized we indeed were not going to make it back in time. So Chris let Sander down for some running around time and an ‘o’ break.
Chris and Sander soon discovered that hitting a redwood trunk with sticks could disturb something that might be living inside or around it, in this case bees. Unfortunately one stung Chris and even more unfortunate he happens to be allergic to them. Slight panic set in as we realized we were at the bottom of a ravine unprepared for a bee sting. Luckily Sander was unaware of the bee trauma and was not stung himself. After I removed the stinger Chris headed back to camp ahead of us. Along the way Chris felt a tingling on this inside of his arm. Turns out another bee got caught in his shirt and stung him three more times. Not so good. Gran caught up to Chris and they were able to reach Nicole and Sven at camp via smoke signal (or the cell phone, unclear which worked best) who met them at the top of the trail with medicine and water. Meanwhile, Papa D carried Sander on his back and we made our way up the ravine behind them. Sounds like fun? Chris and Sander both took a nap after returning to camp and having some lunch. Luckily Chris did not break out in hives and recovered well for the rest of the trip.
We were able to adventure to the redwood grove that afternoon, which was a fun, low key trip. Sander did well, walking the whole .8 mile (1.3 km) loop (aside from brief moments of flying with Uncle Sven). There were some beautiful trees, which I would be able to tell you more about had Nicole grabbed the tour guide. But alas I can tell you there were some really big trees, some with holes big enough to walk through. All fourteen featured trees had signs that were perfect resting points for little boys. Sander made use of many of them.
Well after a day like that how could we all not sleep well that night? We did. It also helped that we fixed the squeaky mattress situation. Sander enjoyed his camping trip, didn’t seem to mind being dirty at all, loved Gran and Papa D’s new camper, had his first roasted marsh-mellow, enjoyed walking to the water faucet, thought sleeping inside a tent was great, and on the way home had his first happy meal (not exactly sure how we feel about that). None of us returned with poison oak. You can be assured there will be more camping in our future.