Big Camping Trip

One of the big things we did during the time I was off the computer was go camping at some state parks in Maine, in our new pop-up. The kids had maybe the best time ever, but Dave and I slept maybe an hour each night (or so it seemed). With everyone all on top of each other, in a tiny little room, every little peep wakes you up. The children seemed to sleep fine, and didn’t want to go home at all.

It also rained every night, which was ok, really, I guess (we’ve gotten used to rain this summer) except that we couldn’t really put Zuzu down on the ground (she would have gotten all muddy), and she found this incredibly frustrating. It was kind of cozy to lie in the camper and hear the rain on the roof (while we were lying there, not sleeping).

Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip:

The beautiful lake at Rangeley Lake State Park (tiny Henry in corner).

What’s that? Did Zuzu have some ice cream? Why no, that’s marshmallow (if you look closely you can tell that Henry has one — or possibly more — stuffed into his cheeks). Boy, she was a sticky mess. The only worse one was the night I had her in the Ergo when she ate a marshmallow. The entire back of my shirt was a gooey blech.

So many things to talk about in this photo. Zuzu’s Rod Stewart hair. The fact that, yes, we brought winter gloves with us camping in August (for some reason they were in the beach bag). This was the first morning of camping, and we ended up making pancakes every morning after this. Can you see the tiny little squeeze bottle between Henry and Eli? For some ridiculous reason, I thought that would be enough syrup. After this, we bought a quart of it at the grocery store in Rangeley, and the quart was completely gone after five days of camping. Which is kind of horrifying, non?

This meal also included pan-fried Spam, which is probably making half of you quake in your chairs and the other half think, “MmmmSpam.” At any rate, Henry took one bite and exclaimed, “Hey! I love this…meat.”

Finally, that piece of paper next to the gloves is Henry’s “Campground Survey.” He took it upon himself to make a chart of all the different kinds of camping setups people used at the campground. He drew pictures of each different possibility (pop-up camper, tent, pull-behind camper, etc.), and then walked around and marked down how many of each there were (the majority were tents). The best was when we went by a campsite where a guy was sleeping in the back of his pickup, and Henry couldn’t figure out how to categorize it, so he walked right up to the guy and said, “Hello, I’m conducting a survey…” and he and the guy talked about it. The guy decided he’d go in the “drives by itself camper” group. (When we got home we plotted his data as Excel charts, which was also fun, though possibly more fun for me and Dave.)

Did I mention we were tired? (This is on a little hike halfway up Mount Blue, after we moved on to Mount Blue State Park.)

The more exhausted Dave and I became, the more awake the children were, and the more they seemed to grow and mature right before our eyes. I tell you, nothing like a family vacation to get your kids to blossom (and to shave a few months off the lives of the parents).

And have I mentioned that we were tired?

Meanwhile, Henry’s all, “Oh by the way Mom, now I’m 15.”

And Zuzu’s all, “Now I’m a 40-year-old German woman who is a famous artist and is thinking all kinds of deep thoughts, plus is also a surfer.”

We decided to go panning for gold in the Swift River. It was fun to play in the river, but, as Dave said, “Like most gold prospectors, we didn’t manage to cover the cost of our supplies.”

Eli is king of the mountain.

At some point Zuzu got a giant mosquito bite on her eye, but she didn’t seem to notice. We went blueberry picking. Blueberries are Zuzu’s favorite food (mine too), so I think she didn’t really care about bug bites, what with the bowl full of just-picked berries.

On the last morning, we rented a paddleboat. Eli refused to go in, but Henry and Zuzu loved it, plus we got to see all kinds of amazing birds right up close, in the middle of Webb Lake, before anyone else was around. What I love about this photo is how much Zuzu is looking like sister Jane from One Morning in Maine.

This was as close as Eli got to boating (using a stick to pretend-paddle a canoe that was pulled up on the beach).

All in all it was a great time, but definitely exhausting for the grownups.

Comments (10)

  1. Chris D September 23, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I’m jealous!

  2. emily September 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Me too! but wait a minute! Chris D, are YOU chris diorio? I thought that Kris P. CHIPS was! and now I want to know who is this Kris P chips that has heard my VOICE? or who is Chris D. damn you, blind interwebs!

    but back to the point: wow! and pancakes every morning, holy cats that’s admirable! What an amazing trip, and what an amazing kid, conducting his survey. will you post the excel charts?

  3. Christina September 23, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Oh fun post! The pic of Zuzu the German surfer artist made me laugh out loud. It looks like it was a lot of fun- in spite of the lack of sleep. Henry has quite a career in research cut out for him- I’d say he is ahead of many college students in how he approached it. Oh- I have to say I am surprised that you cooked/served spam. I am not sure I could eat it…maybe i’ll have to be brave and try it one day –probably good to do so on a camping tree- since everything always tastes better while camping!

  4. Christina September 23, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    (i just noticed i typed “camping tree” rather than “camping trip” above. I’m tired…

  5. Julie September 24, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Spam is definitely something I would only eat while camping. And we only had it that one time. It does say “CrazyTasty!” on the label, and when you’re camping, it really is.

    Em, I’ll see if I can figure out how to post the Excel spreadsheets (or one of them, at least).

  6. Mo September 24, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Julie your family is just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Corinne September 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    ya, you know, [our german friends talk this way] surfing is excellent for bringing on the creative inspirations….
    you really nailed that description. i just thought- “totally!” when i saw the photo.

  8. Lisa van Oosterum September 24, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Seriously, that picture of Zuzu all German artist-like is making me giggle like a school girl. So good. Still laughing.

  9. Lisa in Saco September 25, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Loved seeing these photos and yes…it is inspiring…though also makes me tired looking at them too. My hubby and I used to camp, but haven’t with the kids yet…maybe next year! Good for you for pushing yourselves!

  10. Robyn September 26, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I love you each and all. ‘cept I think I just did.

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