Monday, June 18, 2012

all in 26 hours

My plans to drive up to Montana fell through last week (still pouting about that one) and Robby was buried in a final project for school.....our weekend was looking to be pretty lame. But after a (very, very) last minute decision we decided to go camping for the night. We very rarely go camping for just one night--after all the efforts to pack up and set up, it's so much more worth it to stay a couple nights. But thanks to homework, and my lingering nausea from those stupid wisdom teeth (still holding a huge grudge) we only had one night to spare. 

So we just did it. 
We were away from our house for a total of about 26 hours--and even though it was quick, it was very much worth it. The perfect escape.

In 26 hours we:
...drove to the Unitas.....such a pretty drive that I never tire of. 
...found the PERFECT campsite.....I still can't get over how pretty it was....
meadow. lake. wildflowers. 
...unpacked. set up our site. 
...braved the WIND. so funny setting up a tent in crazy wind.
....fetch with charly in the lake.
...dutch oven dinner
...more crazy wind. cocoa. in jammies, giggling in the tent. 
...nightime. fire. stars. us two.
...ghost stories in the tent.
...birds wake up around 4:30am. 
they get louder
and louder 
and LOUDER. 
so many birds!!!
...tent starts to warm.
...charly up. kids up. we're up. breakfast. run around through the meadow. fishing. fishing. 
...more meadow and lake play.
...playing catch.
...packing up. breaking down camp.
...goodbye perfect campsite. through the mountains.
...pit stop at Hi-Mountain Drug in Kamas
yes it's a drug store, and yes it has great burgers and shakes. home.

all photos taken at Trial Lake, Utah
..1..triall.ake1 .opy....
How to Camp
I have promised posts on how to play outside, and I will do my best to give some camping tips. 
It's a little bit hard because we have both camped our whole lives, so we just kind of know what works best for us. 
If you have never camped, here are a few very basic tips. 

I won't get into a lot of gear details--as far as gear goes it really depends on how comfortable you want to be. You can bring as little as a sleeping bag and a pot to cook oatmeal, or go all out and bring everything--a tent, air mattress,a giant camp stove to cook up a feast, an extra table, a tent for the kids, a portable's really up to you. 

We keep all our camping stuff together, and have a giant tote of necessities so we can load up the car quickly and go.
Some of the items in our tote include:
-dishes, silverware
-vinyl tablecloth
-pot, pan, a few utensils
-a kettle to heat water
-dutch oven
-tub for washing dishes, soap, brush
-small rope for a clothesline to hang wet clothes/towels
-small one burner stove
-first aid kit
-a grid we can put in the fire to cook/heat food on (similar to this)
-rain ponchos

other necessities that I pack up before we go:
-mosquito repellent (ALWAYS pack this, no matter where you are going)
-some washing supplies-soap, baby wipes, a washcloth and a towel
-fishing gear/binoculars/balls/frisbee/any fun activity your family likes to do
-flashlights/headlamps (the kids LOVE their headlamps)
-lots of water
-firewood (most campsite hosts sell firewood but if you have wood at home you save a lot of $)

I LOVE cooking over the fire! 
Here is what we ate--I will share our other camp meals throughout the summer as well.

Dinner (see photo and recipe below): Dutch Oven Chicken Tacos
Breakfast: Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
-scrambled eggs (we add a few slices of ham to the eggs while they cook)
-melted swiss on whole wheat english muffins (with a little bit of mustard) toasted over the fire
Lunch: we kept it easy and brought stuff for sandwiches
I packed a few kinds of fruit, some chips, and a few other snacks as well. I also like to pack whatever veggies we have from the garden to wrap in foil and cook with dinner.
Dutch Oven Chicken Tacos
this fed my family of 4 
you'll need:
2 chicken breasts (cut in half so they'll cook a bit faster)
1 can of black beans
dutch oven and charcoal briquettes 

Chipotle Sauce (make at home)
in food processor combine:
A few ripe tomatoes (or one can of diced tomatoes)
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 chile in adobo sauce (or even 1/2 a pepper if you don't want it too spicy.....those things are hot)
a large handful of cilantro
splash of vinegar and pinch of salt

take it for a few spins in the food processor until it's smooth and then add to chicken and beans in a container with a lid.
You can pull this out of your cooler at the campsite and dump it in the dutch oven and you are ready to go!

taco toppings
I put small amounts into little containers to save space in the cooler
-shredded cheese
-sour cream
-tortillas (we wrapped these in foil and warmed them in the fire)

With charcoal briquettes on the top and bottom of the dutch oven, it only took about 30 minutes to cook. We shredded the chicken and served it in warm tortillas.
A few more camping tips:

Never been before?
Consider doing a "practice" campout in your backyard. 
This will ensure that you have what you need, and get your kids used to sleeping in a tent if they never have (they will love it)

Let it be known: your kids will be filthy. 
Let them be, and don't worry about it. 
I always heat water at night to wash hands and faces, and there's always hand sanitizer to use before meals if you want.
Camping is dirty--but it's all part of the fun. Have them wear older clothes that can get dirty and wet. 

Bring extra shoes for your kids. 
Feet will somehow always end up wet and that can make for a miserable time for little toes.

Share Responsibilities
Give everyone a job! The kids helped haul wood, gather kindling, and pack and unpack the campsite.
They searched for rocks to hold down the tablecloth, and combed the site for garbage after we packed up.
Give them some of their own "gear", so they feel big. A water bottle, a headlamp, a compass.....they love it.

Bring lots of layers. 
Temps can range from 40s-80s up in the mountains in just one day.
bring extra jackets and always bring warm hats for evenings/mornings.

Leave No Trace
I can't stand seeing trash on the ground when we are out in the mountains. 
Pick up your campsite! Even if you find trash that isn't yours--pick it up!
thank you. there are a few basics. 
If you have any questions please feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer right back in the comments. 
And PLEASE feel free to add your own camping tips--
what makes it easy for you?


eden greer said...

Thank you Sheena! We have young girls with another on the way and camping is something I would love to get back into, but at these ages it's a bit rough to figure out. Love the idea for the quick camping tote! Glad you got to have a little fun over your weekend!!

Anonymous said...

I'm about to go camping!!! I have a huge family but a lot of my siblings have moved out so our camping crowd is a lot smaller this year. We like to go hiking and canoeing when we camp. It's great! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. I'm not sure if you have been told this enough, but your blog serves as such inspiration for so many. It's just so right in so many ways and I feel so lucky that I found it. Thanks for letting us in to a little part of your life :)

ashley sullivan said...

this made me so excited to go camping again-- it's been since the fall!

Tanae Nelson said...

Ok, so when are we going camping???

Nicole said...

completely inspired to go camping now. it's been way too long.

Lindsey Jaye Parry said...

Your camping pictures look dreamy...

Ashley Rose said...

Oh my gosh! These pictures are so beautiful! I have only been camping a handful of times, and none were that great, but these pics really make me want to give it another try! Including those tacos! YUM! Thanks for all the great tips and supply list! I love your blog!

Sarah Kriner said...

Oh,I love this post! What beautiful scenery too. It reminds me of my trip to Colorado.

Anonymous said...

wow. that seriously makes me want to go camping! stat! its just too darn flat 'round here! we'd have to drive a good 6+ hours to get a hill.

my blog said...

What a beautiful camping trip! I can’t wait to bring this recipe next time I go camping, thanks for sharing! Beautiful blog too.I LOVE taking my kids camping. It builds so many memories! We could definitely use some new gear!

CLAENING said...

Very good article, very well written, I hope you stick to it