Jonathan’s First Camping Trip

Over Labor Day weekend, we took Jonathan for his first camping trip. This was also the first time in the almost ten years that Stephen and I have been together that we have been camping. Considering that Stephen’s family is very outdoorsy, it’s pretty incredible that we’ve made it this long without having camped. I went camping a bit as a kid, but it’s probably been since my freshman or sophomore year of high school since I last went. We headed up Friday afternoon and came home Sunday afternoon.

Our friends invited us to join them this weekend at Mueller State Park down by Woodland Park/Divide. Brandon, Meghan and Camden have a pop-up trailer, so we pitched a tent at their campsite and enjoyed going between their site and Brandon’s parents’ site right next door. Our biggest concern with taking Jonathan was the sleeping arrangement. He’s great at sleeping in his own bed at night, but he’s still in a crib because he needs to be contained. We weren’t sure how this would translate to a tent. He actually slept much better than I thought he would. The first night, he fell asleep in Rae’s arms – leave it to a kiddo to find the Nana in the group and cuddle in. Grandmas have magical powers of making little people sleep, even if they’re not technically related to the little ones. The second night he was starting to fall asleep on my lap watching the fire, so we got him to the tent before he was out so that we wouldn’t have to wake him transferring him. He wasn’t great at staying in his sleeping bag (he’d somehow migrate out the top during the night) but we had extra blankets that we kept him well insulated with. He also was quite the pillow thief. On the rare occasion that he ends up in bed with us, he and I usually share a pillow. But because he kept coming out the top of his sleeping bag, he’d end up above my head, making sharing the pillow rather difficult.

Overall, Jonathan did great. He LOVED that he could play with endless amounts of dirt and rocks. I brought him two tractors to play with and he spent some time both days loading rocks into his dump truck and transporting them to another place. He saw bugs, birds and dogs. He got to help Uncle Brandon start the fires and play with his bestie, Camden. He loved getting to wait out a little rainstorm in Rae & Larry’s trailer. He did end up clotheslining himself on the cord that runs from the trailer awning to the ground, but got back up and back to running around really quickly.


Jonathan playing with tractors/rocks


Jonathan helping Uncle Brandon start the fire aka Fire Mountain


We had a lot of fun getting to spend time together and with the Atherton side of our family.  We even got to play some cards while both little men slept with Meghan while simultaneously polishing off a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Actually, all camping food is good in my book. Rae and Larry made these crazy good pies on the campfire – I was most definitely a fan.

We started our camping adventures pretty late in the season, so I don’t know that we would camp again this year due to weather, but would do it again next year. Maybe by then we’ll invest in some of our own equipment, instead of mooching a tent and sleeping pads/bags off of others. This level of camping — at a campsite that has toilets — is about my speed. I’m not sure I’m down to do the whole hike in and cop a squat under a tree type of camping. That sounds like some father-son adventures that Jonathan and Stephen can look forward to later.


I have big plans to visit some national parks, so knowing we could handle camping was a good test because that’ll be the cheapest way to experience some really beautiful places. I want to visit: Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park and Banff National Park (especially Moraine Lake) because I’ve seen some amazing photos lately and I want to see/photograph that beauty for myself. And we could hit all three of those on an epic road trip.



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