September 12, 2012

A Camping We Will Go


As much as I love camping, when it rains it's a pretty giant bummer. Our final trip of the year, up in Franconia Notch NH, got off to a great start. We set up camp, ate lunch, and headed off for a fantastic hike that we could walk to from our campsite (so convenient)...

...And then it started to rain. I grabbed some snacks and climbed into the tent with Little Smith. We watched through our mesh window as Big Smith attempted to string up a tarp over the picnic table so that we could cook and eat without getting  wet.

There are no shortage of opinions in this family, so there was a lot of back and forth over how that tarp should be hung, which trees would be involved, whether to cut our rope, whether to use the car, where to drag the picnic table... all the while the rain was getting heavier and Big Smith (who wins the best-sport camping award) was getting soaked.

Once the tarp was up we all sat in the tent for a while waiting for the rain to let up. Little Smith kept throwing himself against the fabric walls which made them even more wet, it's really tough to discipline in a tent by the way.

We waited, and waited... and finally decided to pack it in and go out to dinner in a nearby town. It was just too difficult to think about entertaining a toddler and cooking and staying dry. As we ate dinner the storm got worse and the power even went out in the restaurant for a few seconds. There wasn't any lightening though so we still felt safe camping.

Once we got 'home' to our campsite we basically piled into the tent as fast as we could to stay dry and cozy. There isn't a whole lot for a little guy to do in a tent, we made a million shadow puppets (and I am giving myself the shadow-puppeteer camping award since apparently Big Smith's repertoire consists solely of some kind of pinching motion), we drank hard cider (not Little S obviously), we played airplane, and then we decided just go to bed.

I held Little Smith in the dark, reciting some of our favorite books through the sound of the heavy rain against the tent until I felt his warm little body get heavy with sleep. It's been a long time since he's drifted off to sleep in my arms, such sweetness. 

The morning was chilly but thankfully dry. We woke up early (sorry to our fellow campers who probably wished they could have slept a little later!), put on every piece of clothing we had packed, lit a fire, and had a breakfast of grilled cheese and hot tea. Little Smith climbed trees and chased bugs. A very bold chipmunk stole some of our veggie chips. The sun finally started to beak through and we were met with one of the most beautiful cool and clear early fall days. This was the best reward for sticking it out in the crummy weather.


We drove along  the Kancamagas highway, seriously one of the most stunning stretches of road in New England, and then suddenly we were home again.

It's always sad to pack the tent up, and I do wish there had been a little more sitting under the stars by the fire. Still, even when things aren't perfect, family camping trips make for great memories. It's the best and most affordable way to vacation (at least that's how I'm casting my vote). See you again next year tent! 

*wondering why there aren't any pictures of this serious rain? i was super paranoid to expose our camera or phones and risk wrecking them, so they were safe in the car... kind of wish i'd snapped a few but at the time we were just trying to stay dry!

17 comments:

  1. looks beautiful, i also love camping. put this on my list for next summer!

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  2. So fun. Even with the rain.

    We went to Franconia Notch two summers ago and did part of the Appalachian trail and saw the cutest campground a few miles up (and UP) the trail on decks suspended on the mountainside. Have you seen them? I'd love to camp there although with a baby (or toddler!) it'd be quite the trek.

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    1. Yes, I've seen those and they're super cool! We actually know someone who did one night with their 1 year old up at one of those and it went great- I haven't been quite brave enough to leave behind the car with the little guy :)

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  3. Beautiful pictures. I love camping...and hate it too. Because of rain. A bit is fine, but if it doesn't dry up the next day, it is misery. We had a river of rain running through our site once, and now I am so afraid to book a site. Will it rain??? We packed so much stuff that time, and ended up going into town for food, like you. I want a trailer! ;)

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  4. I went to Franchonia Notch years ago, and it was beautiful. Your pictures make it even more so! Sounds like you made the best of a rainy weekend, and it makes me hopeful that we can be successful with camping next month with Rowan... Fletcher is a great camper, but Rowan... yikes.

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    1. You will have so much fun! If R is anything like W she will run around in circles and Tucker herself out. Once they are clear in staying away from the campfire it's pretty much toddler heaven out there.

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  5. I love your account of this trip! Even though it rained, you still made the best of it, and the description of Little W falling asleep in your arms is so touching. You will surely read this in 5 years and tear up!

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  6. The picnic... and your babe! So precious! Camping is so dreamy this time of year–chilly nights and mornings! Sweet all around!

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  7. I would love to go to that camp with you, rain or shine. I haven't been on camping trip since 2010, when we moved out of Washington state (where it rains quite often, so we had our share of raining camps). Can't wait to go back! Lovely photos. Here is a camping tip from the Washington camper: we had always two tarps (Costco deal) in our car, and at first signs of rain one dry tarp would go directly over the tent, and the other would be stretched above thus keeping us relatively dry and campfire going... :)

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  8. Love all these stories you are accumulating for little S when he gets bigger-- what a fantastic memory to share!

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  9. Beautiful Lilly! Camping is great and when the weather is bad it just adds to the experience don't you think? Something to talk about in years to come! I love the chipmunk...unheard of in our part of the world :)

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    1. Really!? No chipmunks? We are overrun with them here, but they are pretty darn cute.

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  10. Thank you for sharing all of these pictures! We've been talking about going camping lately + now that it's starting to get chilly at night, I think now would be the perfect time :) These pictures reminded me of that plan we talked about + I'm going to talk to Thomas about making it happen soon!! xoxo, eliza

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  11. Ahhhh! Chipmunk stealing a chip! That's the best.

    We camped a lot in California and had several trips ruined by severe sandstorms. People's tents were flying into the ocean, and the paint jobs on their cars would be ruined. We had to buckle down and stay in the tent with toddler Julian until it all passed, and you are so right about how hard it is to discipline in a tent.

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  12. (Catching up on older entries!) This made me laugh: "Apparently Big Smith's repertoire consists solely of some kind of pinching motion." Sounds like quite the night! Your family is so adventurous. :) I bet it was wonderful having Little Smith fall asleep in your arms like that. Audrey is already getting so independent and when she crawls into my arms for a cuddle it feels like such a treat. I know one day she won't want me to just hold her!

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