Wednesday, September 25, 2013

into the woods

Over the weekend we went camping with our friends.  Brian and I both grew up camping, and while he's, um, a little more passionate about it, we both want our kiddos to experience the joys of communing with nature.  And this camping trip was filled with joys and just a few lows.
My favorite part about camping is sitting by the fire.  Sitting by the fire drinking coffee, eating, roasting marshmallows, or just chatting.  Best part.  And we got lots of that in with the littles and our friends, Dan and Lacy.  The littles just adored them, and I think Fletcher may be just a little sweet on Ms Lacy.

The sleeping in tents went well, and the littles really like the novelty of sleeping outside.  There were a few wake-ups from Rowan, but it really wasn't too bad.  We stayed at St. Francois state park (in Missouri), and it really was a beautiful park.  We decided that a long hike was in order to fully enjoy its beauty.  And that is when the camping trip hit a snag.
At first all was well.  Rowan found pretty rocks in the stream beds on the hike, Fletcher enjoyed finding bugs and lizards, and it was just a gorgeous day.
But then it started feeling a bit long.  And we asked hikers coming the other way if we were close to the end.  They laughed and told us: NO.  It was a 3 mile hike, and we knew we'd by carrying littles through some/most of it, but we were really planning on it taking about 2 hours, tops.  As we stretched toward the 2 1/2 hour mark, the littles got a little cranky.  Snacks and drinks helped soothe the cranks.
 But then it happened.  The trail just dead ended at a creek.  The guys ran forward a bit, trying to get an idea of where the trail headed, and we all rambled through the woods looking for a path that seemed to run out.  At one point I just stopped, pretty certain that we were just going to get ourselves into trouble if we kept on going on a pathless path.  And then we were introduced to a new Missouri delight, the seed tick.  Fletcher and Lacy were COVERED.  I mean dozens upon dozens of teeny tiny little ticks all over their ankles.  Seed ticks are basically baby ticks, by the way.  A nuisance with really awful itchy bites, but not dangerous or disease carrying.  But really, just GROSS.  Luckily I had tucked my jeans into my socks, so I wasn't swarmed.  But at that point we all just really, really wanted to get the fuck out of there.  Excuse my f-bomb, but I really just need to convey how desperate we all were to find our way out.  At that point, Rowan started screaming, "I WANT TO GO HOME AND TAKE A BATH!!!"  And we all agreed with her.  Yes, a bath WOULD be nice.
We tromped back to the place where the path had ended at the creek, and there it was.  Not in plain sight, mind you, but the trail picked up on the opposite side of the creek.  We hurried on out of there and back to the campsite, where we picked off MORE ticks, and tried to drown our sorrows in beer and marshmallows.  The 2 hour hike had turned into a 4 1/2 hour hike.  Which is fine for adults.  But for a 3 and 5 year old, not so much.
The next morning was very chilly, and the littles were a little cold and grumpy.  Hot cocoa and campfire-made donuts helped the situation.
 Although Rowan didn't end up with the tick infestation that Fletcher and Lacy had (and later found Brian to have) she did get stung by a yellow jacket.  Poor little thing.  But she was a trooper, and didn't cry long.
Despite the hike gone awry, it was a really fun camping trip.  We all loved it, and the littles keep talking about doing it again!  So thanks to Dan and Lacy for inviting us and for making it all fun, even when we were lost in the woods.
Now let's plan the next one!  But with shorter hikes.


  1. I cannot help this...Into the woods, the way is clear, the light is good, I have no fear, nor no one should.
    Oh my, your trip looked so fun! Except for the little seed ticks which I never knew existed and am still scratching my ankles from reading this. I hope you all had a wonderful time and that Rowan got her bath. Loved this post!!

  2. I love me some camping, glad you guys gave it a go... and aside from the hike had fun! We can't trust W to go on much of a hike, especially if there's any climb. We still put him in a big back pack, which he likes less and less all the time. Those seed ticks do sound icky, never heard of them!

  3. Sounds like a great weekend! Who did the campfire donuts? Those look delicious! Wouldn't mind that recipe... seems like they would make camping more tolerable.

    1. They were just the pillsbury biscuits you pop out of a can, with a hole cut out with a shot glass, fried in oil, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. A little trick I learned from you, Kelly!! But a great success for camping- quick and easy.

  4. Ooooh - this remind me that it has been too long since we did this!

  5. These pictures make me yearn for the woods! It is one of our absolute favorite places to be. So glad you had this wonderful time with your family. It looks like a blast (except for the bee sting, of course)!

  6. Goodness Ruthie!!!

    1. I can just FEEL your frustration at the damn trail ending. And the ticks. And the little people reminding you how tired they are. UGH to the enth degree!!

    2. You make donuts when you camp? I wanna camp with y'all.

    3. Your camping friend is an Auburn fan and I like her already. ;)

  7. You poor things. I know just how you felt. We once got lost in the woods not too far from our house. With three kids. That's the worst part, because you wonder how they can go on. Plus, we felt like losers because it really wasn't a big forest. Luckily we found a forest guide doing a tour and he led us out!

    I'm glad the rest was fun for you though. Great pictures!

  8. I'm glad that hike didn't ruin the experience for you all! My favorite part about camping is sitting by the camp fire as well. It's the best!


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