June 13, 2013

Tent in the Mud


Our family camping trip got off to a late start due to a fairly brutal rainstorm. We did consider going for it, rain and all, but flood warnings and predictions of lightening finally appealed to our sense of reason and we waited until the worst had passed. I knew there would be mud, so I brilliantly packed galoshes and plenty of extra clothes and braced myself for the mess.

When we arrived we were actually surprised to see that most of the campsites were in good shape, nice and dry. Then we pulled into our site, lucky number 26. We reserved this site nearly a year ago and selected it for the gorgeous lake views. It was indeed a beautiful spot with easy access to the lake and there's nothing quite like gazing out of a tent towards the water's edge. However, it was also very low lying and the fire-pit and picnic table were a giant mud puddle. We pulled the picnic table to dry land and assumed that, since the storm was over, things would continue to dry out. Not so much, and once we realized that the mud puddle was spreading to our tent and being actively fed by a stream of runoff, we gave our site the affectionate title of 'a river runs through it' and embraced our life in the mud. Thank you rain boots!

Mud aside, Little Smith had so much fun. He is an amazing camper this year. He entertained himself poking at puddles and bugs, completely respected the dangers of the fire, ate seated in his camping chair with his plate balanced on his lap, and generally impressed me with what a big boy he has become. 


As for the belly, camping at 31 (and a half!) weeks pregnant was actually easy and enjoyable. I should clarify that we were car camping, meaning our site was only a short walk from the car and we didn't do any extreme hiking. The biggest challenge was getting a comfortable sleeping situation, and it was a challenge. 

We typically rely on very thin 1/4" back-packing sleeping pads. They roll up small, are light, and perfect for more ambitious camping trips... but this time I was looking for something a little more luxurious. After lots of air mattress begging on my end, James borrowed one from a friend. Luckily we also  brought our regular pads along as well, just in case. 

As it turns out, you need a little cap to hold all the air INside an air mattress... and that cap did not make it on our camping trip. James insisted he could solve the problem, no worries. After countless attempts to inflate this thing, many trips up and down a muddy slope from the tent to the car with a giant air mattress overhead (the pump plugged into our cigarette lighter), and an entire roll of duct tape... my love for the air mattress came to an abrupt end in the middle of the night when my head was swallowed up as it deflated. Little Smith was in a travel bed next to us and excited by the late night high jinks  James appealed for one more shot to make the mattress work, but sometimes a girl has to take matters into her own hands and call it a night. We went with our old thin pads... he slept like a baby while I tossed and turned my extra thirty pounds from side to side all night long. In fairness, I'm not sleeping so well these days anyway so it really wasn't too different from the average night. I would however recommend a properly inflated air mattress to all other pregnant campers out there, if one is available!

In the end, the trip really was perfect; good food, crisp air, warm tea, a crystal lake, and mostly clear skies. I'm hoping we will sneak in another before the baby arrives, there's just no vacation quite like camping!

*same campground last year here.

14 comments:

  1. I love your adventurous spirit at 31 weeks pregnant Lilly! Camping has a special way of bringing a family together doesn't it? Every child should experience balancing a meal on their lap in a camping chair!

    Is it always necessary to book a camp site so far in advance in this area? I am just curious as we have never booked a camp site before and I have not heard of it in Australia.

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    1. I completely agree Jane, it's such a fun bonding experience for a family. We've never reserved a campsite this early before, but this particular spot is quite popular with families and the good spots book quickly on the weekends. It's always easy to find sites mid-week, but it seems more and more common for people to book weekend stays way early here. I blame the ease of Internet reservations!

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  2. I love camping, but last time we went we had a river running through our site too. I cannot stand the combo of rain and camping, with a wet tent and rain coming down when you're trying to prepare food. And an air mattress is essential at all times, pregnant or not! :)

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    1. It's not for everyone, and the rain certainly adds to the challenges. I still have yet to regret a camping trip though- it's just my favorite!

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  3. Oh, no! The mud, the air mattress... what a disaster. I would be in tears if I were you, especially 31 weeks pregnant!

    It sounds like you made the best of it anyway, and what a beautiful site! Glad that W was such a trooper. It must be wonderful to share the passion of camping with him!

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    1. I know, it was one of those trips where a lot of little things went wrong, but in complete honesty we all had a great time. The air mattress did make me tense at first, but it quickly just became funny... and mud? I can do mud just fine :)

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  4. It´s awesome to take the kids out in the nature!

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  5. The mud and the air mattress don't sound like a good time but otherwise...it's beautiful out there! We've never gone camping with Gus and every time you post your camping pictures I'm really encouraged to try it. I just worry he'll never sleep...and that sounds like a nightmare to me. :)

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  6. Oh my gosh. I'm not sure I would have braved that when I was 31 weeks. Phew.. sounds exhausting, but looks so beautiful!! :)

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  7. What an adventure!! I adore the picture of Little Smith in his chair, leanin' back like it ain't no big thing-- you have quite the little outdoorsman on your hands!

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  8. Oh my! You made the best of a not the best situation! Poor little pregnant you. But it sounds like you remained on the sunny side of camping, so good for you. And it is SO much easier to camp with the littles as they get bigger, isn't it? We had the worst time of it when Fletcher was 14 months. He kept running off and refused to eat. Little W is going to be such an experienced camper as he gets older!

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  9. Wow you're such a trooper for camping during your pregnancy! Glad to hear that all of you had a great time. :))

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  10. Great pictures! And your little camper boy is darling.

    Alice is definitely NOT ready to camp this summer... but next summer? We'll definitely try it!

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