Baby's (and Mommy's) first camping trip

Those of you who know me, know that I am not an outdoorsy type of girl. I freak out when I see a bug, I have horrible seasonal allergies, and I’m not a big fan of being out in the elements if it’s too hot or too cold or even remotely unpleasant. I’m a big wuss, basically.

In light of that, I’m not quite sure why I agreed to go camping this past weekend. I guess because it’s becoming Dave’s latest hobby, and I’d like to be included in it. Plus, springtime means the weather is nice and moderate. And Dave told me that the campsites have electricity, water, and a building with toilets and showers, so it’s not like I’d have to pee in the bushes or anything. Heck, some of the campsites now offer wi-fi. So it seemed like something that I could handle. Maybe.

Let the record show: I’ve never slept in a tent in my life. I mean, sure there was once at a slumber party that we set up a tent in the neighbor girl’s backyard, but I was back inside the house with my sleeping bag on the floor of the playroom before midnight. My family took “camping” trips when I was a kid where we’d go hiking in state parks, but we stayed in motels or cabins. And honestly, all I remember of those trips is blistering heat (summer in the South, not the best time to plan an outdoor vacation) and feeling like I was dying of thirst (since this was before people carried bottled water with them, so there was nothing to drink until we stopped for lunch or dinner).

Mostly, I remember the fighting. There was always lots of fighting. I hated those trips. But like so many other things, I thought that this might be an opportunity to do something for Catie that’s completely different than my own childhood. Turning my bad memories into happy ones, something like that.

So we set off for Asheboro, North Carolina, and set up camp at the Deep River Campground. It was very pretty.

view from our campsite

Check out our fancy-pants accomodations.

our accomodations

I know you’re jealous.

It made me nervous to be camping right by the lake, since Catie doesn’t always seem to understand that she can’t jump into any body of water like it’s her own personal bathtub. But we told her that it was ok for her to throw rocks and twigs into the lake, but she absolutely could not go in there, and she seemed to get it. Still, we had our eyes on her pretty much constantly.

Catie by the lake

And really? The camping was not so bad. Only two complaints:
1) The bathrooms were gross. Really gross. I sort of wish I’d taken pictures so I could prove my case, but I didn’t think of it until later. But I quickly decided that since we were only going to be there one night, I’d be ok with just skipping the whole shower thing until we got home, thank you very much.
2) Sleeping in a tent actually sucked worse than I thought it would. It dropped down into the 50’s that night, which is pretty darn cold when you’re basically outside. We got a sleeping bag for me before this trip, but the zipper wouldn’t come more than halfway up, so my legs were sweaty and my upper half was freezing. And poor Catie was miserable. She started crying from being so cold around 3 a.m., and it took almost 2 hours to get her settled back to sleep. She woke up in a pretty good mood, though.

SERIOUS case of bed-head

She also woke up with a horrendous drippy, snotty nose, which I’m hoping is just a reaction to sleeping outside during the peak of pollen season, and not the onset of a full-blown cold. Especially since her asthma tends to make colds about ten times worse than the average kid’s.

Since we were in Asheboro, we decided to stop by the North Carolina Zoo on Sunday, to wear Catie out in the hopes that she’d sleep the whole drive home. We’d never been to the NC Zoo before, it’s really beautiful. We only hit the Africa exhibit, since we knew that’s where the animals Catie likes would be (elephants, zebras, giraffes, monkeys, etc.), and I think we made the right call. She had a great time.

Catie & me with the zebra

Dave & Catie on the elephant statue

Catie playing in the display helicopter

Catie & me on the carousel

Oh, and the plan to exhaust her so she’d sleep on the way home? Worked like a charm. Easiest road trip with a toddler ever.

Here are the rest of the pics from our camping and zoo trip. Overall, it wasn’t horrible and I might go camping again. But I think I have to exchange this stupid defective sleeping bag that I got, and maybe wait until it’s a little warmer. Generally, though, I think I’d prefer to rent a cabin. Even a really rustic cabin would be ok – as long as there are walls to shield us from the wind. And an attached bathroom. That’d be nice.

8 thoughts on “Baby's (and Mommy's) first camping trip

  1. I’ve only been camping twice. The first time sleeping in the tent wasn’t so bad. It was July in Wenatchee so it wasn’t cold at all. The second time I was so cold. I had to get up to use the restroom at like 3am and it was so cold I thought I was going to die.
    I’m considering doing it again for our one year anniversary, but this time we’d get a yurt rather than sleep in a tent.

  2. You even cooked on an open fire? Next time you can borrow our (never) slightly used 2-burner propane camp stove.

  3. No, we made a fire for fun, but we didn’t cook on it. Dave was worried that it would stress me out too much (first big camping trip and all), so instead we headed into town for dinner (gross dive-y Italian place) and breakfast the next morning (mmm, IHOP).

  4. Sounds like it was a fun trip. We’re going to have to start shopping for a tent for DH and Miss C to camp in the back yard in. I am not sure I am really ready for that. What is it about our husbands and their camping? LOL. Loved the am pic of C-baby, my gosh she sure has some great hair!

  5. Todd and I go camping about once a year. I always bring a pair of waterproof flip-flops if I’m going to be showering at a campsite. They’re always gross. 🙂

    As for the sleeping part – if you decide to try camping again, maybe a different type of sleeping bag would suit your needs better. There are different types (polyfill vs down, etc), different temperature ratings, different shapes, etc. I tend to get very cold at night, so I have one with a temp rating for lower temps. But I have the same problem with my feet getting too hot, so my bag has zippers at the bottom so I can unzip the foot area even when the rest is zipped all the way. I got mine at REI and I love it. You can also get liners for them, which are basically like thin fleece blankets that you put inside the bag for extra warmth without a lot of bulk.

  6. I rgew up camping 4 or 5 times a year, any season and I always loved it. I camped a lot in college, too, but something happened after that which made me less tolerant of the discomforts of camping. Probably because I always have to pee in the middle of the night, and then I can’t get back to sleep.

    If you were sleeping in a crappy sleeping bag without any thermarest underneath, then you are hardcore.

    Next time, maybe we’ll go with you, if you want company. Tony and I are good outdoor chefs. Maybe a trip to the mountains in the summer?

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