02 August 2015

Camping with toddlers (and friends)

We are driving the open roads from Ketchum to Boise, cruising past hay bales and leaving the ridged Sawtooth Mountains in the rear view mirror. We are dirty but feeling refreshed after a weekend camping in our beautiful state of Idaho. It was our first camping trip as a family and I conquered another "fear": sleeping overnight in a tent with a toddler.

Just like any other parenting hurdle we have jumped, it wasn't as scary as I imagined. And I dare say I wish I would've been more open to the idea a year ago. We all had a wonderful time.

Our friends Ben and Lizzy, their girl Isabel and Labrador Bob, invited us to join them just north of Ketchum (the ski town where Sun Valley Resort resides) at the Wood River campsite. We bought an 8-man, two-room tent and said we'd join them! 

The campground had bathrooms and running water, which made life a little easier. We were well-stocked with Dutch ovens and camp stoves, and comfortable with hammocks and Pako pads (a thermarest on steroids). The weather was warm during the day and cool at night with a bonus blue moon lighting the night sky. 

The girls loved roaming the camp ground, holding hands or "hiking" single file down the paths. They learned to stay away from the campfire and quickly became interested in the nearby water fountain. Both of them slept in their travel cribs and were especially worn out by Saturday night. 

On Saturday, we chose a hike to the mountain lake named Baker Lake, where we could eat PBJ's and find some rainbow trout to fly fish for. The girls rode in hiking backpacks on their dads' backs and we all enjoyed mountain scenery. It is so refreshing to leave cell phones turned off and hike a trail. I hope that these girls learn to love the outdoors as much as their parents.

The first night at camp, we ate a gourmet camp dinner of grilled Salmon, a Caprese salad and forbidden rice salad by chefs Prier. Dessert was gooey s'mores, as a camping trip without them wouldn't be right. The second night was supposed to be pizza in the Dutch oven (by yours truly), but we were all feeling a bit lazy after a hot day in the sun and instead drove into Ketchum for pizza (and the luxury of not having to do our own dishes). Some may call this cheating but I think it's the plus of car camping...options.

We are lucky to have the vast wilderness of Idaho surrounding us. I was admiring the mountains as we drove home from our hike and again as we relaxed at camp last night. I had been so paralyzed by my own irrational thoughts of being in the woods with my child overnight, that it caused us to go a couple years without camping. Just like any night outside of your own home, camping can feel overwhelming, but I guarantee that in 20 years we won't be remembering any of the tears from this weekend. We'll remember that sweet-faced 2 year-old, marching around camp with her new pink Camelbak...a very happy camper. 

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