Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A First-Time Family Experience

While it can be said that both Monte and I have gone camping in the past, and the boys (Iain and Ellis) have technically been camping (meaning they spent the night in a tent), our family as a whole had never been camping together - so that is what we did this past weekend!  We packed our Suburban to the brim and woke up early enough to have our family out on the road by 7:00am.  Destination: Itasca State Park.  We made a few stops on the way, including one at my sister's house to pick up the things her family was loaning us for our camping trip (as they tend to camp quite frequently).  When we got there, I knocked on their back door and let myself in.  I was greeted by my brother-in-law, Martin, and my niece, Khloe, who ran up and gave me a huge hug the moment she saw me!  It was all too sweet! :)  So, Khloe in my arms, we headed outside to get the screen tent, grill basket, air pump and air mattress that we were borrowing from them (let's face it - while the thought of camping was great, the thought of sleeping on the ground when I am almost six months pregnant was NOT great!).  We packed the stuff, said our goodbyes and were off yet again.  We arrived at Itasca a little after 11:00am, stood in line at camping registration for about 15 minutes and were put on a waiting list and told to come back in an hour to see if they had a spot for us.  So we drove to the picnic site, took out our cooler and made sandwiches for the crew to pass the time.  Thankfully, when we drove back to check, they had a spot available for us.  Thus began our weekend camping adventure!

We set up the tent .. and the boys played in the boxes that the tent came in!

The boys played catch with the baseball .. and water bottles .. to keep themselves busy.

We then hiked down to the fishing dock where the boys enjoyed some time together.

We then set up the screen tent (the one we borrowed from Tanya and Martin), which we later found we were SO grateful for, as it rained quite a bit that afternoon into the next day, so it was a good place to hang out and play cards while we waited for the weather to pass!

We took a hike in the pouring rain to the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  Iain and Ellis enjoyed playing in the water while the rest of us huddled under a nearby tree!

Though it must be said that Iain and Ellis were quick to join us when we pulled out the snacks!

The next day we did a lot more hiking around the park, including this stop at Peace Pipe Vista.

We stopped and saw the largest White Pine Tree .. though I don't know if it was world's largest or America's largest or ... ?!

We also went to the fire tower, though once we got there I was the only one brave enough to climb to the top ... everybody else waited for me on the ground!

See the little red dot in the middle of the picture?  That's Claire waiting for me at ground level.  The white dot to her left is Ellis sitting on the bench!

Ellis enjoyed the breeze of having the windows open while touring through the park (as there were some sites that were more than 10 miles from our campsite, so we decided it would be best to truck to those ones!).

The rest of the time was spent cooking food over the fire, playing catch with the neighboring campers, playing cards, eating, and just hanging out by the fire ...

... and with Colin telling us it was time to stop taking his picture!

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