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Camping Out

Last weekend Janet and I got to take the girls on their first camping trip! We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, partly because we’ve missed doing things like this ourselves, but also because we really want our daughters to come to love the kind of outdoor fun that we enjoyed so much when we were kids. So, several months ago we jumped on a Woot deal and bought a gigantic 18×10 foot tent… And last weekend, a perfect opportunity to test it out finally presented itself.

A good friend of ours wanted to celebrate her birthday by inviting a bunch of her friends to come camping for the weekend at their boat club on the delta. To be honest, when I first heard that the location was in Tracy, I was somewhat skeptical and figured it wouldn’t be very nice at all. But I was wrong! It was great! There was a huge amount of green grass, some nice shade trees, a great sandy playground area for the kids, and it wasn’t crowded at all. It was like a huge park, and we practically had the place to ourselves.

Dusk falls on the campground

I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of us in or around the tent, and that’s unfortunate because it was (of course) one of the biggest parts of the adventure for the girls. You have to bear in mind that this was literally the first time that they’ve ever slept outside of a crib! Yes, we still have them in cribs here at home, and when we’ve traveled on vacations in the past, they’ve always slept in little porta-cribs. Yes, they could climb out of their cribs if they wanted, but we’ve told them not to, and (as far as we know) they never have. (They have however climbed over the railing to get into their cribs. Once.)

Anyway, the point is that this was not just their first experience sleeping outdoors in a tent; it was also their first experience sleeping without a cage! And if that wasn’t excitement enough, add the fact that it was a rather wildly windy night; we discovered that our gigantic tent moves around quite a bit in strong wind! The wind was noisy in the trees, the tent rattled and flapped, and strange shadows danced all over in the moonlight! All of these things meant that the girls’ eyes were very wide; it took a long time for them to fall asleep, and we didn’t really feel free to just drop them off in the tent and then go back and join the rest of the group by the campfire… But that was OK. It was really fun watching them experience everything for the first time, and I have to say they were really very good about it! Eventually they just got too tired to keep marveling at everything, and they fell asleep. In fact, they probably slept better than I did! Elizabeth woke up just once because her blanket had come off and she was cold. On the other hand, I was probably awake at least half the night worrying about how they’d react if they woke up (no cage!), and it turned out to be no big deal. Bottom line — they did great, and we can’t wait to take them camping again sometime.

Carolyn discovers the game of tetherball


Lounging around on a picnic chair is sort of an essential camping activity, right?

Bottoms up

Also, in addition to all the fun of playing at this park-like campground, our friends also had their ski boat there, so we got to take the girls out for their first tubing ride! After watching me take a short ride by myself, they were both intrigued and bravely took turns with Janet and I. They had a blast, and we had a fantastic time watching them take it all in. I’m so glad we had the opportunity.

Carolyn & Mommy

Daddy & Elizabeth

1 comment to Camping Out

  • Stacy Hughes

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! Who knew there was such a beautiful spot in Tracy? Seeing the girls having so much fun made me LOL.
    Let’s plan a trip together sometime. We really like Calaveras Big Trees. Short drive, nice campsites and just a short drive to play in the Stanislaus.

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