This past weekend, I started a new tradition: taking my kids camping for Father's Day. Since I wasn't sure of the best place to go, I asked Do you know of some good camping spots for kids in Colorado? I received some good responses, but waited until the "day of" to decide where we should go. Bad idea.
I decided on Peaceful Valley since they didn't seem to require reservations and it wasn't too far. The kids and I left town around 1:30 and arrived at the campground (North West of Boulder) around 3:00. It was packed and there were no spots available. After driving around for another hour, I realized I might end up on the FAIL Blog for being the Dad who couldn't find a camping spot and had to spend the night in a motel. I don't know if it's because I grew up in Montana and we never had to reserve campsites or if it's because there's a lot more people in Colorado than I realized. Regardless, I believe I learned my lesson when it comes to campsite reservations.
After stopping in Nederland and asking for good camping spots at a gas station, we proceeded to drive around for another hour trying to find the perfect site. Finally, at around 5:30, we found a site in the high mountains near the Eldora Ski Resort. It was along the road, had a river nearby and included a family/friends/kids troupe of 15 w/in 100 yards.
We settled in by setting up the tent, starting a campfire and beginning a search for bears (kids' idea). We never found any bears, but we had a lot of fun exploring. I knew my mission had succeeded when Abbie said to me, "Daddy, I love camping." As it got dark, we put the fire out and climbed into the tent and our sleeping bags. Being that there was still snow near our campsite, I was a little worried about the kids getting cold - especially since their sleeping bags are only rated to 35°F.
As we were getting ready for bed, my car suddenly roared to life. Yikes, WTF?! Then I remembered the remote start I had installed after Snow White got molested. I scrambled for my keys, found them under my knee and quickly turned off the car. After telling some stories, we all fell asleep 20 minutes later.
In the middle of the night, Jack woke up every 10 minutes for a couple hours. He'd crawl out of his sleeping bag and then claim to be cold. I'd talk him back into his bag where he'd warm up and fall asleep. Abbie slept all night and never woke up. At around midnight, my car again roared to life. Since my keys were hanging on the tent wall, I was quite surprised. I scrambled to find my keys in the dark and turned it off again. This happened every 3 hours throughout the night. I'm sure the neighbors loved it considering I have some fancy glasspack exhaust system that makes it pretty loud when it starts. I'd be interested to know if this "start every 3 hours" phenomenon happens every night. Maybe that's the reason my tank is always empty.
The good news is Snow White never woke the kids up, so they seemingly got a good night's sleep. There was frost on the ground when we woke up the next morning, so it did get cold. However, when the sun hit us at 8:45 in the morning, the temperature rose from 40°F to 60°F in a matter of minutes.
The next morning as I was packing things up and the kids were running around, Abbie came up to me. She asked, "Daddy, when can we go camping again? I had so much fun!" I told her she was in luck - our next camping trip is only a couple weeks away. My dad is flying in next weekend and we're doing the annual 4th of July trek to The Cabin. On the way up, we'll be camping in Yellowstone Park. I can't wait, but I should probably start working on that reservation.
Have you taken your kids camping this year?