For some reason camping just seems like one of those things we should do with our children. I don’t know why; my family never camped that I remember, although neighbors took us kids out a couple of times, and we were welcome to “camp” out in our woods as we got older. But ever since Nathan was little I’ve imagined taking him out camping, as though it’s one of those Necessary Family Experiences.
We do not, however, have any of the gear required for real hard-core camping. Or any of the experience required. So I decided to start us out very gentle, with Camping Lite. We rented a yurt for one night at Champoeg State Park, which is close enough that we could always bail and run for home at the worst.
This was truly the lightest touch of camping imaginable: we showed up with food and bedding, cooked hot dogs, roasted marshmallows, took a short walk in the woods, and then it was practically bedtime. After breakfast the next morning it was time to head out so Dave could go to work. End of camping.
But it was highly successful. The kids loved our new little house, and exploring the space, and eating outdoors. There was a little difficulty with getting the baby to sleep, but otherwise everything went pretty smoothly. Nathan in particular was very sorry to leave so soon, which I guess is the right idea — always leave them wanting more, right?
And now I think we’re ready to tackle the next baby step in our camping journey: staying two nights at Fort Steven’s park, later this year.