So, so beautiful I'll bet if I just stand right here and turn my body to the left it will be just as beautifulOHMYGOD!
THE OHANAPECOSH RIVER IS NOT EVEN KIDDING IT IS GOING TO KILL YOU.
Seriously. Our reserved space was at a gorgeous little greenblue bend in a run of vicious white water. Even where it is relatively calm, this river hauls ass. There was no question of fishing the three year-old out of the water if she waded in. Shudder.
Thankfully we were able to move sites easily. Unfortunately, that seems to be due in part to the fact that Ohanapecosh Campground is very much designed for hikers. There were a couple of very short hikes at hand, but for the most part the campground seems to be designed to accomodate people taking longer, more strenuous hikes in the southeast corner of the park. Good for those people!
My kids were very bored.
This was also our first (very?! first?!) trip away from home as a family, and I will totally admit that it was awkward. My husband isn't used to being with the kids away from home, the kids were dealing with FIRSTEVERFAMILYCAMPINGTRIPSUPERFUNTIMEEXCITEMENT! and NOT BEING ABLE TO SLEEP BECAUSE OF THE NAP IN THE CAR ON THE WAY UP! and BEING BELIGERENT BECAUSE OF EXHAUSTION FROM NOT BEING ABLE TO SLEEP UNTIL 10 P.M. AND WAKING UP AT 6 A.M. ANYWAY! and THERE IS VERY LITTLE FOR SMALL CHILDREN TO DO HERE! sorts of moods and behaviors, which is not my husband's forte in any case, let alone when there is an open fire and a meal plan to stick to and Things To Get Into.
We also had to bring our dog.
And then the drive that took us two and a half hours in somehow ended up a (very scenic) six hours back. The girls fell apart in the last hour of the drive. It was rough.
The good news is, we went camping! I love camping. We went quite a bit with my mom and stepdad when I was a kid, and (thank all that is merciful, and my big sister for bringing me and the two girls on an extended family camping trip last Labor Day weekend) I didn't feel the least bit ill at ease about all the mechanics of the exercise. For car camping, our packing was minimal. We don't own a camp stove, camp chairs, nor sleeping bags for the girls, so we left the house with a tight regimen of nonperishable food, eating utensils, lights, our old one and two-man tents and the various sleeping things we cobbled together.
Even without being equipped with nice gear, everyone was comfortable, we ate well and no one got cold at night. Thank you, mom, for letting us sleep outdoors when we were young! I want my kids to experience camping and I'm grateful that it feels as easy and comfortable as it does.
Big mountain. Big, big mountain. Snowy mountain. Still snowy in July. No walking up it. D'oh! Bloody gorgeous scenery there and back again, though (this was the detour part of the trip, which unfortunately included rather an abundance of road work).
All in all, yeah, we're doing it again. Next time will be even better. I will start gathering nice gear. And maybe doing some actual research on good places to take small children camping in the area. And arranging dog care.
But know this, my friends: I do not screw around with s'mores. I do not. Screw. Around.
Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of my sister and my brother-in-law, the girls and I are headed to Florida tomorrow night - all the way to the other corner of the continental U.S. The last time I traveled somewhere for fun was before I was married, in September of 2001, when my then-boyfriend and I went on a road trip along the west coast of the U.S. along Highway 101 in his mother's white Chevy Metro, camping and moseying and eventually checking into a couple of five star hotels in central California carrying external frame backpacks and reeking of campfire (another story for another time).That was a lovely trip. I think you know you're going to do fine with someone when you can do a road trip really well, whether you both like a fixed agenda or, like we did, you have a loose idea of what you'd like to see and go where the road takes you every day. We still have a bunch of in-jokes from that trip, and the best, easiest memories. I think we were engaged about a month after we got back. I remember coming home to call my mom to tell her we'd made it back and finding out that the family dog had died quite suddenly and I couldn't stop crying enough on the phone to tell my boyfriend that it was the dog and not, like, my nephew. I loved that dog so much.
We fought a lot in Paris, though...although that was some fierce jet lag and we were only there because his mom was dying.
We've been around a little bit since then, but always to visit family (although admittedly having family in a distant nation and in sunny Phoenix there were distinct "big life experience" and "get some sun" vibes to those visits). At this point travel is not in our budget, at all, so this is huge for us. Huge. I'm going to take my daughters to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, to the white sand beach, and, the really truly real reason for our visit, to introduce my girls to my great aunt and to see her myself again, probably for the last time. She's quite old now, and the memories of her in my childhood are powerful stuff. Comfort and sweet tea and Spanish moss and thick Florida grass. Grapefruit, and love.
I'm terrified of flying, I have a list of things to run around and do tomorrow that makes me tired to think about and I'm leaving Mr. Terrible at home for nine days with the cache of bachelor chow that I bought for him today, so I feel anxious and sad and tired at the same time that I'm feeling thrilled to be actually going somewhere with my kids and my sister and her family.
We're away tomorrow!
The knitting is packed.
Apparently there was a reason why I didn't delete the "Travel" category from my tags.