Li’s First Camping Trip

Deb and Li walking near campLi’s mosquito bites are fading, but our memories of her first camping trip certainly aren’t! We spent three days over the long July 4th weekend in the Sawtooths in central Idaho and she thoroughly enjoyed it…

She saw her first deer, snakes (all garter snakes or something similar thankfully, given that the largest one was a couple of feet long and about as big around as my thumb), hummingbirds, squirrels, ground squirrels, and chipmunks; experienced the warmth of a campfire on a cool morning; learned a little about Dutch ovens and the delights that come forth from them; had her first cheeseburger, fries, and malt from the Wrangler in Fairfield on the way in to camp; had acres of dirt, sticks, and pine needles to play in; and experienced the feeling of dropping your feet into a cold river on a hot day in the mountains…

We had three great days of warm (OK, closer to hot, I’ll concede) weather. The bugs weren’t bad except in the early morning and late evening, when the mosquitoes came out. We decided these mosquitoes had never had Chinese food before, because they made more than a meal out of Li, despite bug repellent. Usually they go for Deb, but that didn’t seem to be the case this time. We also had a bit of a fireworks show on the first evening as a big thunderstorm came over the ridge around 10pm and treated us to a couple hours of thunder, lightning, an occasional big gust of wind to shake the tent, and just a sprinkle or two of rain.

Dutch oven fajita chicken with vegetablesWe did pizza in the Dutch oven the first night, and fajita chicken and potatoes the second; both turned out pretty well. The fajita chicken was one of those things where we didn’t have a recipe but just sort of started down the “What if we…” path an this where we ended up.

Sleeping in our tent with a toddler was definitely a mixed bag, but we knew that we had no idea what to expect (having been down this same road with Ian years ago). The first night went well, as Li slept very soundly (exhaustion, perhaps?) and woke up happy the next morning. Let’s just say the second night and next morning didn’t go nearly as well and by the time the night was over, both Deb and I decided that 2 adults, a toddler, and a stuffed monkey are just too many for a pair of zipped-together mummy-style sleeping bags. It’s safe to assume that we’ll probably try something different next time out.

Li and Grandma Stewart cooling their feet in the riverMy parents came up on Friday morning, and Li was delighted to get to spend a good part of the next couple days with Grandma and Grandpa. We spent some time that afternoon down on the rocks at the edge of the river playing in and around the water, watching bugs and snakes and splashing water on each other.

All in all, a great outing, and very encouraging in terms of getting Li out camping. In Deb’s words, it was less grueling than she expected (truth be told, I think I was more excited about going than Deb was ahead of the trip).