Camping for the win

We got back yesterday from a long weekend of camping at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. We’d wanted for a long time to go camping with my Uncle Peter, an avid outdoorsman from Durham, so we decided to meet him at this spot near the North Carolina border. Jon took a couple days off work and we made the six-hour drive on Thursday, arriving in time for a late dinner.

Travel of any kind with little kids is hard work, and camping has its own set of challenges. Getting everyone packed up is a huge pain, and there is just so much that can go wrong. But to our pleasant surprise, the last couple trips we’ve taken have been remarkably smooth. This drive was the longest we’ve done with both kids, and it was – dare I say it – almost easy. (I know, I know. I can hear the groans of parents remembering car trips that left permanent emotional scars. I’m not trying to rub it in, I swear.)

Grayson Highlands was, true to Uncle Pete’s word, an absolutely gorgeous place. There were several hikes of a manageable length for young legs, complete with wild ponies and rewarding views. The campground itself was lovely, and we took advantage of a couple programs they offered over the weekend: a welcome bonfire with s’mores on Friday night and a salamander hunt Saturday morning. We ate some fantastic camp meals, everybody slept relatively well, we had a little down time to relax, and it was generally one of the nicest camping trips we’ve taken. (There was the Shower Horror of 2015, in which an attempt to bathe myself and the toddler in the campground shower resulted in wailing heard the next mountain over – hers, not mine, although I admittedly felt like joining her. Needless to say, she just stayed dirty the rest of the trip.) The kids had a blast, which makes us feel like perhaps we can achieve our goal of teaching them to really appreciate the outdoors.  I call that a win.

And now we’re home, with kids in need of catch-up sleep, adults with a bit of sunburn, and mounds of camping laundry to fold. Oh, and some really great memories, too.

IMG_3222

IMG_3226

IMG_3229

IMG_3246

For all his many faults, he’s been a faithful camping companion since 2003.

IMG_3251

Playing superheroes: Somebody’s The Hulk or Thor, somebody’s Iron Man, and there is always an army of bad guys waiting to be defeated.

IMG_3255

IMG_3261

IMG_3263

IMG_3266

IMG_3290

IMG_3294

IMG_3300

IMG_3306

IMG_3308

Pregnant mare

IMG_3312

“Don’t pet the ponies,” the signs said. But what to do when THEY pet YOU?

IMG_3323

IMG_3328

The head of his herd, aptly named “Fabio” by the rangers, letting us know who’s the boss. 

IMG_3330

IMG_3332

IMG_3345

IMG_3349

IMG_3352

Wearing her food, so pretty much a normal day

IMG_3355

IMG_3240

She loved playing in the tent.

IMG_3360

Salamander hunting!

IMG_3361

IMG_3362

IMG_3363

IMG_3368

IMG_3371

IMG_3376

Nap time

IMG_3380

Snack time

IMG_3384

IMG_3390

IMG_3419

Red trillium

IMG_3395

IMG_3410

IMG_3412

IMG_3421

Orchid

IMG_3425

IMG_3428

Tennyson looking down at the Christmas tree farms below

IMG_3420

Painted trillium

IMG_3432 

One thought on “Camping for the win

  1. Teresa Thompson says:

    What an experience to remember–and lovely photography!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s