Sunday, June 24, 2012

Memorial Park with Friends

Ronan found solace by camping in a redwood forest

We've been planning to take Ronan and Nieve on their 'first camping' trip for a while; we've scheduled attempts several times but life with children does not always go as planned. A few weeks ago our friends Emily, Sam, Janet and Sandy invited us to share their campsite at nearby Memorial Park; we were free, and so we jumped at the chance.

Standing on the base of a very tall tree (225 feet tall and over 1600 years old); Ronan called it "The Big Boy"

Memorial Park is the perfect spot for the first-time Bay Area camper - it's close, it's beautiful (think of a forest full of 150 ft Redwood Trees), and it's family friendly (working bathrooms with hot showers and children everywhere).

A very tall redwood tree towering above a quiet, content boy

The kids reactions were fairly close to what we had expected. Ronan *loved* it - the tents, the campfire, the night hike to the river, the day hike jumping into the cold river - he was in his element. I bunked with him and he slept soundly; he was also the first of all of us up in the morning, eager to go explore as soon as his eyes opened.

A rare moment when Nieve was enjoying the outdoors. She made her way into the camper every chance she got.

Nieve, on the other hand, could do without the outdoors. Whenever we walked anywhere (even the bathroom) she would insist on being carried, be it in a backpack or in my arms. Worse yet, our friends brought their cozy trailer-camper (one that pops up and has a couple of queen sized beds); Nieve would have spent every minute inside of it if we let her. If left alone outside she's dart as fast as she could back to the camer door and climb back in. She even started crying when it was being folded up at the end of the second day.

Blueberry Mickey Mouse pancakes!!!

There were a few of activities that both kids loved; a glo-stick night hike looking for bats (we did not find any), s'mores cooked over the campfire, and blueberry pancakes in the morning. Janet even made Ronan a Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake that has set the gold standard for all breakfasts to come.

Ronan petting his new friend the banana slug

By the light of the campfire Emily told us how she joined the 'banana slug club' when she was young by kissing a banana slug. The next morning Ronan mustered up the courage and joined as well. I was floored. Bravo, Ronan, I suppose.

What both Ronan and Nieve loved best, however, was all of the attention they received from Emily and Sam (upperclassmen in High School). Ronan and Nieve would continually pester them to play and explore - Mom and I were amazed at how generous Sam and Emily were with their time.

Stream hopping in StarWars underpants is always fun

In all we'd say our first time camping was a great success. Nieve started to warm to the experience and with a little more 'training' I'm sure she'll adapt nicely to an activity that the other three of us enjoy. A big thank you to Sandy, Janet, Sam and Emily for making the trip delightful!


CalBadger said...

What fun for everyone...a great way to start Ronan's and Nieve's camping careers (although Nieve's may be short-lived)! Being amongst all those redwoods surrounding you must be a truly humbling (and inspiring) experience... especially giving one a truly accurate sense of Man's relationship to nature and the universe. Your photos, as usual, are wonderful...I hope Sandy brought his camera along and took some great snaps also.

Holly Teetzel said...

What a fun experience - esp. for Ronan. I can see him spending the whole summer outdoors camping. I have to laugh at Nieve. Looks like she inherited the Nana gene which requires creature comforts at least at night. Next time you want to do a camping adventure, just send Nieve down to Nana's where we girls will enjoy clean sheets, a soft bed & indoor plumbing. Maybe even get a mani/pedi. :-)