Monday, June 7, 2010

Missouri River Camping Extravaganza!

If you have ever considered camping with small children, you might want to consider getting a larger vehicle.

This weekend we decided to brave it all and go to the Missouri River, one of Pete's most favorite spots on earth, to do some "camping" with our little gal and three dogs. We were THRILLED when our friend Melynda wanted to come along with her two kiddos too. She documents her version of our trip here. Last summer we did a couple of nights camping with Matine and they went really well (albeit, she was teeny tiny and still unconscious for most of the time, oblivious to outside noises, light, etc.).

I should have realized when I was done packing the SUBURBAN and there was no room for Oliver in the car that we had a LOT of stuff, but it wasn't until "camp Howell" was set up that the full hilarity of it all sunk in. It looked like we were a traveling circus and moving to this spot on the River for a month, at least. And Melynda hadn't even showed up yet with her truckload and 10 man tent (that ended up being as big or bigger than the canvas wall tent).

I did a lot of camping growing up and in college and before I married Peter. I prided myself of the "simplicity" of what I could bring, how light I could make my backpack. Those days are long gone! My husband likes to be comfortable and he said he won't backpack again unless the horses are carrying our gear! We had full size cots, Paco-pad sleeping pads thatt are 5 inches thick, tables, multiple stoves, 2 lanterns that hung from our 13 foot tall canvas wall tent! I haven't even unpacked Matine's things yet... Since we had a tent the size of our downstairs, why not bring the pack and play? Blankets? Her new Okie Dog bike thingy from Okie Uncle Clark, a bag of toys .... I have to admit, it was cushy.

The experience was great, terrifying, and hilarious all at once! So Melynda pulls up and I thought she might just see the small village we had set up and turn her car around, but as I mentioned she too was packing a load. Kid bikes and the largest "pop up" tent I had ever seen (which was great by the way and I would highly recommend it to families who choose to camp after reading this blog post).

Let the fun begin ... Matine was great help as we set up - she kept the dogs out of our hair by taunting them with her snacks.

Our humble little home away from home ... for 2 nights and 2 days.

I love camping - but not my messy hair!!!

Peeking in and out of the tent doors was mucho fun for the 1-year old.

Our very pretty and green view from camp.

Holy STUFF - we don't mess around folks! This is bedtime, night#1 - reading a few books and totally aware that it was 10:30 at night and WAY past the little gals bedtime. What would the night look like for us?

Yikes. Well, this is morning after our first night. Matine was catching a couple extra minutes of sleep because she really only slept from 11pm - 2am, then she came to bed with me in my "cot" and slept off and on all night, leaving me COMPLETELY awake from 2am on... I was sure she was going to roll right off the cot onto the ground.

Don't let the morning after shot of the two cute kids fool you. They were not rested and not this smiley all day. We all did have fun during the days, playing with rocks, dirt, picnics, little walks along the river, and crawling all over things (it was just those nights that were killer).

A smorgasbord of camp goodies- all kids and dogs are waiting.

Melynda and cutie pie Finn (18 months) - notice the dog nose ever present when food is present. Oliver!!!!!!!!!

The boat that stayed hooked up to Pete's car was a HIT! It was a giant playpen that kept the kids entertained for quite some time. Did you know that you really don't need to actually get ON the river to give your kids a memorable boat experience?

Kids are cute.

Coffee mug, toy horse, boat = happy

The small village and it's villagers.

This is what one passerby assumed was our "week-long fishing camp." I guess I can see why he assumed that...

There is nothing more indulgent and wonderful than snuggling with your sweet kid in a nice cool tent, listening to birds and the river (and the occasional car and dump truck from the nearby gravel pit).

This was night #2 -- she slept ALL night this night -- convincing us that we CAN DO THIS AGAIN and not lose our minds!

Oliver hogs the bed - he's waaaayyyy too good to be sentenced to sleeping on the ground like a dog. Oliver!!!!!!!!!!!

Very serious reading going on here.

Ah, Anders - Morning #2 - Melynda has had no sleep for 2 nights and we all decide to pack up camp and head to Helena for some carousel riding... and hopefully some naps in the car. The wind on night #2 was so horrendous, we were afraid even the camp hotels might blow away.

Next trip - same great company, more pretty scenery, and hopefully a little less wind.


Mel said...

Your pictures turned out great! And despite the lack of sleep, it was a fun trip!

Michal said...

Looks like a blast! I'm giddy about your visit.

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