Tag Archives: camping

Devil’s Lake Camping Trip

A couple of months ago, Steve and I decided we wanted to do one more camping trip this year. I have very fond memories of camping at Devil’s Lake when I was a kid, and I thought it would be beautiful to go in the fall. This past weekend we headed up on Friday evening. We got there around 6:30, checked into our site, and got set up. I don’t have any pictures of the first night because it was dark and I was trying to feed Kai a quick dinner while Steve was setting up the camper. It always takes a while to get everything set up, but we eventually did, and I think we put Kai to bed around 8:45 that night. He has always slept great in his pack n play and in the camper, which is awesome. Steve and I roasted weiners on the fire for a late night dinner because we are super classy like that. We followed it up with s’mores as camping law requires.

Saturday morning we all slept in a little bit (for me at least) and I think we all woke up around 7:30-7:45. I made pancakes in the camper and Kai and I ate them all up (Steve is not a breakfast person, which I will never pretend to understand).

After breakfast we all took a walk down to the camp store for a trail map.

Devil’s lake is surrounded by bluffs and is known for it’s awesome hiking trails. By the time we left for our first hike it was probably almost 10am. We decided to start at the north end (where we already were) and headed up the East Bluff Trail.

I carried Kai on my back because I knew I wanted Steve to carry him on our more difficult afternoon hike.

We stopped at a few look out points and snapped some photos. It was so pretty up there.

We didn’t hike too long because before long it was time for Kai to eat lunch and take a nap. We headed back to the campsite and I made Kai a sandwich. Kid loves dining al fresco.

Steve got to work setting up the new to us screen room on the camper. Not really necessary on this trip, but we wanted to try it out. Verdict – love it!

Kai went down for his nap, and Steve and I enjoyed a beer by the fire. Yes.

We also made pudgie pie sandwiches for lunch.

Kai slept for about an hour and a half and then he was ready to party. He loved walking around the campsite (and into the road, silly boy). Good thing we brought his cage play enclosure along.

For our afternoon hike, we drove around to the south shore of the lake to do the Balanced Rock Trail. Let me just say that since it has been years since I hiked this trail, I did not recall exactly how difficult and treacherous it is. Thank goodness Steve was carrying Kai and felt confident in his footing, because there is no way I would have felt comfortable with him on my back. The trail is all steep rock steps that are uneven and slippery, and some of them move. One wrong step or slip and you could literally tumble down the bluff.

On the way up we somehow missed the off chute of the trail that leads to the balanced rock itself. The views however, were amazing.

On the way back down we did find the balanced rock and stopped for a photo op.

I took this shot on the way back down so you can see how steep and technical the trail is.

Once we reached the bottom I stopped having a heart attack and spotted a giant rock that I knew I must pose atop of.

After the hike we stopped at the concession stand and I got ice cream, obviously. We let Kai loose to play on the playground there for a while before heading back to the camp site. I should have snapped a pic of the playground because it was pretty cool. Instead of wood chips, the ground was covered in ground up tires so it was nice and soft and bouncy.

Back at the campsite, I put Kai in his snuggly suit because it was kind of cold and windy, and because it is adorable. I made him a quesadilla for dinner which he would not touch (even though it is one of his favorite foods at home).

Kai was pretty worn out and I think he went to bed around 7:30 this night. Steve and I made tacos for dinner and sat by the campfire. The wind was a little ridiculous and was blowing the smoke every which way, but we finally figured out where to put our chairs to get the least amount of smoke in our faces. I practically fell asleep in my camp chair before calling it a night. I slept horribly this night due to the wind being obnoxiously loud and a pole above our bed in the camper falling on me no less than five times (yes, the parts have already been ordered to fix this little problem for next time). Kai was up around 7am Sunday morning, and I made pancakes again. We all felt lazy and hung out in the camper for a long time before getting motivated to start packing up. Kai made himself useful in rearranging one of the cabinets.

I chased Kai around the campsite while Steve popped the camper down.

Turns out our little man is very handy like his Daddy and helped get the trailer hooked up, no problem.

We tried to stop at the nature center on the way out because I thought Kai would enjoy it, but turns out it was 300 yards straight up a steep trail from the parking lot. After all of our hiking the day before, Steve vetoed that plan immediately. It turned out ok, because Kai was asleep with in three minutes of leaving the park.

And with that, Claudette is safely stored away, ready for the camping adventures that await us next year.


Filed under Family, Fun, Nature, Travel

Door County Camping 2015

Last week (August 8-15) marked our annual weeklong family camping trip at Peninsula State Park in Door County. We weren’t able to camp last year since Kai wasn’t even three weeks old, so we were extra excited about the trip this year. Between everyone we had four campsites and my aunt and uncle’s family stayed at their house nearby with my grandma. We left on Saturday and our departure became a huge ordeal and did not go as planned. Steve had two separate problems with the camper that needed to be resolved, and Kai sliced his finger open on the edge of a full length mirror hanging on the back of our linen closet door. So while we aimed to leave around noon on Saturday, we left around 4pm and arrived in the park shortly after 7pm. The huge campsite dinner was in full swing with about 32 people at the campsites. Luckily they set aside some food for us, because by the time we were all set up and got Kai to sleep it was at least 9:30. Not the greatest of travel days, but at least we made it and were able to enjoy the campfire for a bit before going to bed.

Sunday morning they guys left at 7:30 for golf, and I went for a 6 mile run while my mom watched Kai. I was supposed to do my long run this day, but with the long packing/travel day and late night dinner I wasn’t feeling it. The ladies and kids met at PC Junction at 11am for lunch. PC Junction is a fun restaurant where your food and drinks come out on a train car, and they have lots of outdoor pay spaces for the kids. Kai perused the menu and decided upon the grilled cheese with applesauce.

Then I got out my selfie stick and went to town. Thank goodness Steve wasn’t there, he would have been mortified.

After lunch (Kai ate his entire sandwich and applesauce), we headed outside for some fun. Kai chose the swing and as usual seems nonplussed, but he really does love it, I promise.

My mom and I took the boys (Kai and his cousin Ashtin) for a lap in the pedal carts, and nearly died of laughter when I could not steer us over a small bump.

More selfie stick action. How did I not have one of these sooner??

After all of the fun, we headed back to the campsite and Kai took a nap. I couldn’t believe how well he slept this whole trip in the camper. He took naps like a champ and slept though the night no problem. We had his pack n play set up on one of the bed platforms in the pop up camper, and had his noise machine going just like at home.

Sunday night we had pudgie pies for dinner and enjoyed the campfire.

My memory is already fading and I failed to take several billion pictures this trip (too busy enjoying it!), so I can’t give a daily recap of every day. From here on out I will just show a lot of pictures and attempt to remember some of what we did.

We definitely enjoyed soft serve on several occasions. Kai was a fan.

We spend a lot of time hanging out at the campsite. I set up a play enclosure for the boys, and they demanded that grandma and grandpa get in and play with them.

We brought Kai’s walker thinking that it would keep him off of the ground since he is not quite walking on his own yet, but now that he has been walking with the aid of just one finger, he wanted nothing to do with the thing (despite his happy expression here).

Several wagon rides were had around the campground, and Kai’s expression here is my absolute favorite. So not impressed.

One night we rode our bikes to see the sunset at one of the neighboring camp areas. Beautiful.

Kai really enjoyed outdoor story time with Grandma, which happened on a daily basis.

We also brought Kai’s own little camp chair along, knowing that he probably wouldn’t really sit in it. This shot was taken the one and only time he sat in the chair, and seconds before he tipped it over and landed face first in the dirt. Poor guy had dirt in his mouth and a bloody lip. Guess he will be more capable of sitting in a chair next year.

On Wednesday night we had a pizza party and my aunt and uncle’s house to celebrate Steve’s and my cousin Kelly’s birthday. My mom made a chocolate cheesecake since that is Steve’s favorite.

On Thursday we took a trip over to Whitefish Dunes State Park to go hiking and to the beach.

Dork alert! Steve actually allowed me to take multiple family photos with the selfie stick.

The hike was really beautiful along the lakeshore. The water is usually really rough over on this side of the peninsula, and you can hear the waves crashing into the rocks below.

Our whole hiking gang. See how awesome the selfie stick is??

After our hike, we went to the beach, where Kai loved walking around in the sand and surf.

Kai loved the sand in general, and he most definitely got it everywhere on this excursion. He needed to be hosed off that night in a major way.

Overall the weather on our trip was very good. There were a couple of storms that came through, and those are the times it is so nice to have a camper to hang out in instead of a tent.

As I mentioned, Kai slept really well throughout the whole trip. Most days he just took one long nap in the afternoon, but a couple times he fell asleep while we were running with him in the mid-morning. Then he took a short nap in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon.

Before we knew it, it was Friday. We went out to dinner on our last night and enjoyed some delicious food.

The trip was so much fun and I felt really sad when it was over. Why does vacation always fly by so fast?? Luckily this is a trip we can look forward to every year, and we do get to visit Door County somewhat often. We are going to see if we can squeeze in one more camping weekend this year in the fall since we do have a heater in the pop up. I have great memories of camping as a kid, and I love that now we can bring Kai with us and make more great memories as a family.

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Camping at Pinewoods

Saturday night we took Kai camping for the first time. We recently upgraded our pop up camper, and wanted to try it out at least once before our annual weeklong camping trip to Door County in August. We packed up, stopped at the grocery store for supplies, and made the 25 minute drive to check in at Pinewoods campground around 4:00 on Saturday afternoon.

We brought Kai’s walker along not thinking he would really be able to get around much on the dirt and gravel, but he was immediately driving that thing all over the campsite without too much trouble at all. He was very helpful in making sure Daddy was properly setting up the camper.

As Steve was finishing all of the set up, I gave Kai his dinner. Dining al fresco is his favorite.

We still had a little more setting up to do in the camper, so we made use of a Friday night rummage sale purchase.

It’s a plastic play enclosure, and we just spread out some blankets underneath. Kai loved it. He was busy with his toys in there for quite some time, and his favorite thing to do was pull up on the sides and let go, seeing how long he could stand all by himself and how much he could impress his parents.

Steve made a fire that we got to enjoy for a few minutes before Kai’s bedtime.

A little after 7pm, we got Kai ready for bed. He only took one nap this day, so he was extremely tired, but he never got crabby like he would have at home. Kid LOVES to be outside, and I hope he never outgrows that. We made his bottle and heated it in a pot of water on the stove. His sleeping arrangement was a pack n play up on the platform for one of the beds in the camper. We took the king mattress off and doubled up mattresses on our side, so the pack n play sat directly on the wooden bottom. He also had a curtain that blocked off his sleeping area from the rest of the camper. I failed at taking a photo of the set up, but it was kind of like he had his own little bedroom. We brought his white noise machine, and hoped that it would stay on all night without killing the battery. I gave him his bottle and read him some stories, then zipped him into his sleep sack and put him in bed, hoping for the best. He immediately cried when I closed the curtains and left, but it only lasted a minute or so and he was quiet. We could hear him moving around for a little bit, and he was out.

Steve and I enjoyed sitting by the fire, then we cooked our gourmet dinner of weiners and potato chips over the fire (the weiners, not the potato chips). Of course no campfire would be complete without s’mores, which we had as well. It got a little bit chilly outside, and I was worried that it was getting too cold in the camper, so Steve went in and turned on the furnace. When he turned it on, it ended up killing the sound machine (something about the inverter blah blah whatever). I was a little worried about Kai staying asleep since he is used to having the sound machine all night, but there’s nothing we could do about it if we wanted heat.

Kai cried a few times in the night, but never enough to warrant checking on him or even making him aware that we were in the camper with him. He made some noise around 5:30am and I thought he was up for the day, but he went back to sleep and the same thing happened at 6:30. It started raining pretty hard (and it was loud!) around this time, and we could not believe that he went back to sleep. He officially woke for the day at 7:20, which would be seriously sleeping in at home. Since it was raining, we hung out in the camper for a while.

Also since it was raining, Steve and I tested out the toilet in the camper (yes, our pop up has a toilet and shower) to avoid walking to the pit toilets with an umbrella. I gave Kai his breakfast, and around 9:30 it was done raining. We decided to go for a hike with the stroller. Our campsite backed up to the Scuppernong hiking trails, which I have run many times.

The BOB did a great job off roading, even on the hilly rocky sections.

Kai fell asleep during our hike, and when we got back to the campsite I kept walking with him so he could continue his slumber while Steve started packing up. He slept for about 40 mins, a nice little morning nap.

We finished packing up, and once again Kai was very helpful with the trailer.

Though it was a short trip, I deem it a total success. Kai seemed to really love being out at the campsite, and the pop up was great. We even made a list of a few things we need to get for it before our big trip in August. I am hoping we can find another weekend to go camping before then, but that may prove difficult with all that is going on in the summer. Either way, I can’t wait for our trip this year, which will be Kai’s first week long camping experience.




Filed under Family, Nature, Travel

I'm out

After my five hour bike ride this morning, we are headed to the wilderness for some camping fun. Ok, not really wilderness, but there will be tents. And campfires, and s’mores. If you need me this weekend, I can be found somewhere on the chain-o-lakes, on the boat, sunning myself (hopefully). The weather forecast is a little iffy, but I believe the sun will prevail. Have a great weekend!

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