Saturday, August 2, 2014

60 - Summer Camping

Summer days are whipping past as they always do. Everywhere I go there are signs advertising back to school sales and such. And that list I made of summer things to do is whittling down to just a few things.
One of the biggest items I wanted to check off was taking the boys camping. Abel had his first camping trip at the beginning of the summer with my parents and was dying to go again. He came home filled with stories of campfires, raccoons, hiking sand dunes, and of course marshmallows. I wanted to experience all those things with him, not just sit on the sideline and hear how much fun he had. So I called Luke at work and said we should just pull the trigger. Sure the boys might not sleep all night and yes they would be absolutely filthy but isn't that what summer is for. After rummaging through the attic and basement I realized much of our camping gear had been destroyed or completely lost in the flood we experienced last year. But after a quick trip to buy a new tent and borrowing some essentials like a camp stove from my folks we were ready to take the plunge.

We woke early Saturday morning and packed up the car. It felt so chaotic and our little Forrester so stuffed I almost called quits on the whole thing before we even hit the road. But off we headed, our boys and their cousin in tow. And the further we got from the city the calmer I felt. Soon we were driving past hundred year old barns and homes made from the most gorgeous stone and through the rolling bluffs one would never expect Illinois to hold. We were headed to Apple River Canyon, a state park I've visited so often before I know every trail it holds. I forget how necessary it is to break free of the bustle of Chicago and just breathe.

After a quick jaunt into the local grocery store for some easy camp foods (hot dogs, fruit, mac 'n' cheese, and such/no way I was getting gourmet on such short notice) we headed into the park, found a nice spot and set up camp. In no time we hit the trails with the kids, exploring the bluffs and the river below. I taught Abel about wild blackberries, yum. Luke braved the river with the kids. And then we spent the rest of the weekend in classic camping fashion surrounding a fire with marshmallows included.

It may have been very last minute, totally nuts trying to pack the morning of, extremely dirty, and yes I might have sat rocking a one year old for 3 hours in the middle of the night, but I was so happy to see the excitement on the boys faces. They have such wonder for the world and I am glad to be a part of it.

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