Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Turns out, camping with a two-year-old can be successful.

So, we went camping this past weekend. This trip was planned a few weeks ago when the weather looked like it was going to be great. John's parents invited us to go with them and we said sure we would love to go. John and I used to camp a lot before Jenna came along. We talked to Jenna about what we would be doing: sleeping in a tent, hiking, fishing, and yes, even peeing in the woods. As the big weekend got closer, the forecast also got colder. I was starting to get worried, but John and his parents assured me it would be just fine. Papa went out and purchased a very warm mummy sleeping bag for Jenna, one that cost more than mine and John's put together, to ease my concern for her warmth.

The morning of the big day Jenna was very excited. We got all of our gear packed, and Jenna even had her own backpack to carry. Mommy made sure she would stay very warm. She had thermals on under her outer clothes and wool socks. At this point I am still very apprehensive about the cold weather, but going along with it.

We met Nini and Papa at their house and went to Cracker Barrell for breakfast. Then we would make the long drive to Bankhead National Forest in Winston Co. It was about an hour and half drive. The last three miles consisted of a bumpy dirt road that dead ended into the main trail. This was no park and dump camping trip, we parked, hoisted our packs full off everything we would need onto our backs and hiked in about a quarter of a mile. We would be completely cut off from the world with no cell phone service AT ALL!!

(John and Papa holding Jenna, who got a little tired after our hike)

It was BEAUTIFUL. Our campsite was right next to a flowing creek that look more like a river from all the rain, it was so peaceful, and the fresh cold air was great.

After we got set up and settled we had lunch and went on a hike to search for some dry wood. Jenna loved hiking. She was the "leader" because apparantly Swiper was in the woods and he was going to try and swipe our firewood. We did have to make a potty stop, and yes Jenna successfully went potty in the woods and thought it was the greatest thing. We found lots of places for some great pictures.

Jenna even found a critter and couldn't wait to hold it. It was to biggest millipeed I had ever seen.

After we got back to camp Jenna was dying to get into the hammock that Papa brought and put up. She thought it was the coolest thing.

After a little swinging/rocking we were shocked as to what would happen next......

Yes people, there she is NAPPING in broad daylight, on a camping trip, in a hammock....praise God!!

Fast forward to sunset. We did find some firewood and got a nice little fire going. Heated some water for hot chocolate, and roasted weenies. We were all having a great time and staying warm despite the cold.

It finally got dark and we pulled out the s'more ingredients.

And then....................


It put our fire out and we all huddled under a rain tarp Papa had thankfully thought to bring and put up. We kept waiting on it to stop, and waiting.......and waiting some more, but it was really starting to get cold, so into the tent we went. We sang songs, and wrestled with daddy, and had some great quality family time. We went to bed early of course, but Jenna was full of giggles and "wanted to talk." We did eventually fall asleep and she only woke up about three times, but only because she got lost in her sleeping bag, and as soon as I pulled her back to the top she went right back to sleep. I, of course, slept horribly. I did get enough sleep to function the next morning, of which Jenna decided to sleep in.

Papa cooked breakfast for us that morning, and we began the packing up process, which is the worst part, because all I wanted was to be in a warm house drinking a coke, and eating a Reese cup. Jenna was a little tough to get moving, but once we told her we were going "hiking" again she was ready to go.

My final thoughts??
I'd do it all over again because it was a great experience, but maybe when the temps are about 15 degrees warmer!!


  1. That's awesome! We've always wanted to tent camp with Ali, but we're not brave enough...we're going "camping" with a big group of people in a couple of weeks, but there's a lodge on site that we're staying in!!

  2. Sounds like you had fun. The pictures of Jenna are great. I'm glad she was able to enjoy the trip. :) :) Hopefully next time you go it won't rain.

  3. Great story! Love the pictures. You are very, VERY brave to attempt this with a two-year-old. I have trouble taking my son to a restaurant, let alone an overnight hiking trip!