Before the boys were born, Jeff & I camped all the time. I am an awesome car camper and if you’re looking for a fun, food-filled camping weekend in the wilderness somewhat close to civilization . . . I’m your gal. I can cook a mean meal on a campfire or my camp stove.
We loved these weekends away, exploring our favorite places and recharging ourselves. We kept it up with Will, our first son, and when Ben was born, we took a hiatus from camping. Let’s be honest, it takes a special skill set to camp with tiny babes. Now that he is a little older, he has gotten to the stage where he’s gone from baby to tiny terror, but also big fun. He likes to see and do things, and we are ready to resume life as we knew it . . . well, life as we knew it-ish.
With Rocky Mountain National Park practically in our backyard, we knew this summer was the time to dust off the gear and hit the road. When the magical moment came to reserve campsites, we jumped ahead with reckless abandon and decided to go for it. Our favorite campsite is a beautiful walk-in site at Aspenglen. Pro-tip: Maybe stay away from the walk-ins with two kiddos, three and under. Or pack really, really, REALLY light. In all seriousness, despite the work to get all the gear from the car, it’s so worth it. The sites are amazing, there’s no cell service and it’s incredibly peaceful. After approximately 79 trips to and from the car, Camp Tyler was ready to roll, and I was ready for happy hour.
Happy Hour! Just like we used to do when we camped . . . Oh, wait. Kids. I learned very quickly that camping wasn’t going to be anything like when it was just Jeff and I. Those days involved hours long games of Yahtzee, camping snacks followed by dinner (I told you I’m an excellent car camper!) and amazing bottles of wine. Silence except for the dice hitting the table, random sounds of nature and the occasional groan when I lost yet another round.
This trip, we still had the sounds of nature, but that’s pretty much where the similarities ended. Our trip was filled with exploring, opening and closing the bear box 78 bazillion times, and chasing Ben when he decided he wanted to go cliff diving into the river. I know . . . it sounds like the least-relaxing thing ever, right? Hear me out! While our trip was definitely different than those of years past, it was amazing. Our boys clearly love the outdoors, the freedom and disconnection it brings.
Camping with the littles is filled with discovery, questions, and your eyes being opened to the little things. It’s a special adventure for us all, and I love sleeping in a tent with the boys, falling asleep to Will asking me random questions about the great outdoors.
Memories in the Making
As the boys get older, making memories becomes even more important to me. When they’re really young, you begin all kinds of family traditions that they won’t yet remember. We started when Will was born, laying the foundation for what we wanted our family traditions to be. Now that he is almost four, he remembers more than I do! He pockets these weekends away and saves them for random moments and shares them again. They’re like little pictures in his mind that he pulls out and shows me when the moment is right. He loves camping with us. It’s truly beautiful how meaningful it is to the boys, even at a young age. For Jeff and I, too. It’s hard work, and hard play. The activities have changed, but the feelings of happiness are the same.