One of my favorite things about Kelsey is the way that she pushes me to do more than I might on my own. Often things that are really amazing are also scary, and as I get older, I find myself taking a few less risks, hunkering into routine a little bit more. Possibly the best thing she convinced me to do was to hike the Appalachian Trail for four weeks (VT and NH) on our honeymoon. Don’t get me wrong—I love hiking, and always have. But that was a really hard trip. And not your typical honeymoon. Yet, that will always be one of my favorite things we’ve ever done together, and one of the things of which I am the most proud.
So when Kels planned this two-night camping trip with two other couples we’re friends with, I was excited (yay! Camping! I love the outdoors!) and trepidatious (we have a 14-week old who has not established great sleep cycles yet!)
I’m not going to pretend that everything went perfectly. For example, we thought our two-person tent would be big enough to fit a snuggly baby in between us. This was technically true, but it was not big enough to fit a baby with enough room around her that I was confident she wouldn’t suffocate in our sleeping bags. Also, our sleeping bags are lovely and warm, but not big enough to fit an adult and a baby. So we had some arrangement issues. i.e. I did not sleep much at all that night.
We were able to solve these the second night, when we made a sleeping bag out of Kelsey’s wool sweater, and put G in her own little pop-up tent we use for her naps, and placed that under the rain fly. Unzip our tent, unzip hers, and bring her in for feedings. A happier night for all!
One good thing happened the first night, however. I awoke at one point to a multitude of echoing, harmonious loon calls. It was one the most romantically dreamlike and yet clearest and most ‘real’ moments of recent memory. Forget the restless, sleepless night we were in the midst of: their calls gave me that feeling that everything was perfectly right.
Sunday morning we received another avian gift: a heron landed on our waters and began to walk along the shore towards us. We were all quiet except for Graylyn’s hiccups, and the heron paused behind a large pine and peered around the tree with its long neck to check out this strange sound. Deeming us safe, it kept walking. Its silhouette, elegant yet strange, kept us rapt and silent.
Another first for G on the trip was our canoe ride! We had purchased a baby life jacket for her, thus resulting in a very safe canoe ride, but she HATED the jacket, resulting in a slightly stressful start. I was unable to handle the pressure of keeping her from crying while simultaneously trying to enjoy the lovely scenery, so Kels took over. Sometimes the other parent just has the magic touch. Kels was able to hold her such that she was… shall we say… slightly dissatisfied but willing to acquiesce. It was an invigorating and beautiful ride from there out.
|Can you find G inside her massive life jacket?|
All in all, it was a great trip. The campfires were pretty perfect, the s’mores were as glee-inducing as in childhood, and the hammock swings were peaceful. We succeeded in our first family camping trip, and I owe it to Kels for encouraging us to keep pushing ourselves. I don’t think we’ll be doing any 4-week trips as a family any time soon, but overnights in the woods definitely seem possible.