Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let's Gather 'Round the Campfire and Sing a Campfire Songgggggg!

I can't believe I just used that as a title. Anyone whose kids watch Sponge Bob will recognize it. Good grief.

So finally, this past weekend, everyone was healthy (at the start of the trip) and we got to take our tent on its maiden voyage. Our destination: Rocky Mountain National Park about 2 hours from home.

Here's what I learned on my first tent camping outing since 1990.
-Even if everyone appears healthy when you leave the house, someone will be sick by the time you get to the campground. In this instance--Finn. We were on a dirt road and I heard the telltale pre-virus, pre-asthma cough. Sure enough, he had an asthma attack in the middle of the night. Fortunately, we had his puffer.

-Even if you bring two firelighters, your wood will not light and your stove will malfunction while you watch the temperature plummet past freezing.

-Speaking of watching the temperature plummet past freezing, do not rely on Weather.com when they say temperatures will be in the mid-30s. Call ahead to the campground so the park ranger can tell you the actual overnight temperature will be about 18 degrees. Fahrenheit. That's brisk, people.

-Don't worry about the bears. In this neck of the woods, your worst enemy is a moose. And that moose roaming freely through the campground? Stear clear.

-Driving 30 miles one way to get decongestant so your child can breathe in the night and everyone can sleep isn't really such a big deal. Except when you forget to take the National Parks Pass when you leave the park.

-It's OK to eat three hot dogs while camping. Baked beans on the other hand--not so smart, especially when you zip four people into the smallest part of the tent to try and preserve some small amount of heat.

-Get the zero degree sleeping bags even if you don't think you'll need them. Don't say things to your husband like, "It's not like we'll ever camp when it's colder than 30 degrees!" Clearly, mistakes happen.

-Campfire smoke will always blow in the direction you're sitting.

-There are always spiders in the bathrooms.

-It's OK to stand in front of the hand dryers and warm yourself. Even if people are waiting to dry their hands.

I'm ready to go again. But in a westerly direction this time, where it might be a tad warmer.

Here's a pictorial view of our tent adventure.

A word about the pictures. I am most annoyed with Kodak Gallery. Their new format meant it took me TWO HOURS to add photo captions. And their slideshow is cutting off our heads in some pictures. Nice. Rest assured when I took the pictures originally, I did not decapitate anyone.


Marci said...

And ALL those reasons my dear (especially the beans!!) is why I am not a camper girl!!!

Leeann said...

Loved the photos, Natalie, and everyone had their heads intact! I know the captions were a pain but they do add to the photo viewer's experience. :-)
Maybe you could try a share site on Shutterfly.

You all looked pretty darn cheerful for a group of Rooney-sicles!

Anonymous said...

I noticed what looks like red pine trees in your photo.. Is the Pine Beetle wreaking havoc in the RMNP? We were at State Forest State Park last summer and the trees are just decimated there.

Natalie said...

About the bark beetle question: yes, totally yes. That county has been the hardest hit in the states. Right around Grand Lake and Granby Lake, entire hillsides have been wiped out and cut down. The logs are now all in teepee position waiting to be burned. Vail and Beaver Creek, near us, are showing more and more damage, but the RMNP area has definitely had the worst damage so far. It's so, so sad to see.

Mountain Mama said...

I always need tissue when reading your posts. I cry with laughter almost every time.

Sounds like a great trip. You learned so much. And hopefully one of the lessons is to NEVER go camping again. :-)

1dreamr said...

Looks like it was a fun adventure! Can't believe how big the boys are getting!! I just have a few comments:

1) Great pics!

2) Elk aren't the only creatures that "bulk up for the winter." :-)

3) Finn's hot chocolate picture is actually pretty cool! Neat perspective!!

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing the great advice for everyone who is planning on camping in the mountains in subfreezing weather!

I loved the pictures! What a wonderful keepsake for everyone.

Three or four years ago, we went to the RMNP and stayed in Grand Lake. It was as pretty as a postcard. It saddens me that the bugs have wiped out the beautiful trees!