A camping trip has been on the radar for a while, but we finally made it happen. We traveled just over an hour from our house and opted for a one night stay. I was a little skeptical it would be worth it, since the first night is notoriously the worst, but it went better than anticipated!
We did quite a bit of hiking, but the best hike was probably the first one we went on – the beach to dam trail. It was a mile one way and we went out and back. This was the trail we were the most excited about because near the beginning is the bench swing Caleb and I got engaged at 7 years ago. Abby understood the concept a little better than Evie, but they were both excitedly talking about “our swing” afterwards. haha
Here’s a “then and now” that makes me smile. The first picture is from seven years ago. It was taken right before Caleb asked me to be his wife (I said yes, in case you wondered). The next picture is seven years later on the same bench. ❤
We’ve added a few (plus Baby Boy, not pictured) to the pile since then…
The view from the bench.
We found a hilly little side trail we had to try out!
We made it to the dam, but before trekking over it we had to do some rock skipping (and throwing). Jake of course, thought he was a professional.
Elly thought it was funny when Daddy tried skipping some rocks.
Daddy even let Eliana try her hand at throwing a few rocks. haha
Our big girls looked so tiny running across the dam! They enjoyed yelling at the turkey buzzards perching on the rocks.
We did a little climbing on all the rocks lining the dam.
Elly smuggin’ at Jake.
There was a really tall, steep hill at the end of the dam that we all climbed up. It had some decently sized drop offs at the top, but pretty, open views as well.
Finding a waterfall at the end of the dam was hands down my favorite part of the camping trip! I had seen that there was one somewhere at the park and was hoping we would be able to find it!
There was a huge area of running water and rocks that made the best play area for the kids! I wished they had worn their suits and had their water shoes (it was pretty rocky and slick) so they could have splashed around easier, but it was still a blast! Of course, Evie splatted on her buns at one point and had to trek back sopped from the waist down. I’d love to go back for a day trip and just play here longer! The trail here was easily navigable for strollers too, so I could even make it happen on my own.
We made Jake haul at least one kid the entire time. It was good for him and of course I am all about being hands free for a minute. haha!
The kids did really well on the walk out to the dam. However, on the way back our wet little Miss Evelyn was overtired and extremely whiny to say the least. We did what we could to keep her spirits up and keep moving forward.
Our poor “starving” children finally got food in front of them. We had taco in a bowls for lunch. I had a moment of panic when I thought I had remembered everything BUT the taco meat. Thankfully, it was in the very bottom of the cooler so we didn’t have to live off of cheesy lettuce and cool ranch doritos after all. ha
After lunch, we sent Jake and Marci off on a hike to put the babies to sleep while Cabz and I took the big girls for a paddle boat ride! I missed a great opportunity for a picture – Marci pushing Baby Boy in the stroller and Jake nestling Elly to sleep in the carrier. haha
I had to snap a picture of “our bench” from the water too! 7 years ago, I saw the same bench from our paddle boat and told Cabz we had to figure out how to walk to it later because it looked perfect!! He helped me find it afterwards and the rest is history…. ❤
This smiley tot almost gave in and passed out on our paddle boat ride, but right at the last second she changed her mind. Boo.
The girls were thrilled to spot some real wildlife (a deer *yawn*) from our paddle boat. haha
WE LOVE THE WATER!!
When we got back from paddle boating, we took the big girls down to the beach to swim in the lake for a bit. They didn’t do much swimming, but they did enjoy sitting their hineys on the blow up raft we brought while we pushed them all around. Hmmm…
The babies found ways to keep entertained back on shore….
After some swimming, we decided to get one more hike in before heading to the campsite. We ended up doing the White Pine Trail back and forth. It was 1.38 miles one way. Abby was excited about the cool feather she found on this trail.
Altogether we hiked a little over 2 miles of trails in the morning and just shy of 3 miles in the early afternoon. Elly and I were pretty excited about that!
Following the 2nd hike, everyone was ready to be done and it was time to set up camp. We found the campsite pretty easily and it was really nice! We had picked a “walk-to” for the first time and expected to have to haul stuff a long ways from where we parked. Instead, we were nicely secluded and yet had a parking lot quite close to our site! One downside is that a highway was very close by, so we had a little noise from that during the night. There was also a camper whose occupants decided to sit out talking the actual whole night. I kept hoping they would go to bed, but instead they got louder as the morning came in. haha Oh well! Jake, Marci, and Cabz set the tent up quick while I was corralling children.
Elly raced all over directing and pointing and acting like she knew all about everything ever. Little twerp. ❤
Oh! And Evie carried her camp chair around looking official…
The girls couldn’t think about anything else until I finally had time to set the babies down and get their chairs out. CAMP CHAIRS are pretty much the reason everyone goes camping, right?!?! I mean, COME ON!
Once the tent was set up, the kids obviously needed to check things out!
We were excited to finally meet this mysterious Marci we had been hearing about. haha We were very glad to spend some time with her and get to know her a little bit. We’re looking forward to next time! Marci and Jake got the fire going and cooked us supper. Isn’t that just the cutest? We have to take advantage of Jake’s out of the ordinary helpfulness while we can. hahahaha
The girls anticipating their s’mores.
After all the excitement, the girls each handed over their s’mores a few bites in. Our kids don’t get sugar much and they can’t always handle it. haha I think that’s a good thing!
Trying to get our super overtired kids settled down for sleeping.
A little Bible time before sleeping.
Annnnd, this is what “bed” time looked like for an hour or so. Elly and Baby Boy cried/whined off and on. Then Baby Boy did a big poop and we had to deal with that. Meanwhile, Abby and Evie kept goofing and getting in trouble. Finally the younger three crashed and Abby was the lone wakeful child. This was a huge shock since she is usually our best, fastest sleeper. She managed to keep herself awake until about 11 that night (usually she is out by 8 p.m.!), but finally joined the others in sleep. Once asleep, we didn’t hear from her until the others woke her up bright and early. Baby Boy was just awake rustling a lot of the night. Elly and Evie both woke and cried/whined briefly a few times, but overall the kids did better than anticipated. I slept for a couple hours near the beginning of the night and then I was up the rest. I’m always a struggling sleeper though, especially in new places. Temperature wise, it was pretty humid, but cooler than it could be this time of year for sure! We needed a blanket sometime in the morning. It drizzled rain a couple different times during the night. It didn’t wake the kids, but I did put Elly’s blanket over her pack ‘n play at one point since she was getting kind of wet. We opted not to put our rain cover on, since we wanted the fresh air flow. It gets pretty stifling with the rain cover on, since it’s intended for cooler camping weather.
While the kids were trying to get to sleep, what better activity to enjoy then some euchre? It just completes an evening.