Thursday, July 14, 2016

Family camp

















Last weekend, we had a family camping adventure. We camped at Black Canyon, in the Santa Fe National Forest, just a few miles north of Santa Fe and an easy one-hour drive from Albuquerque. If you're ever looking for a campground in the area, I recommend Black Canyon highly. It was high up in the forest, shaded, cool and unexpectedly quiet. I appreciated the amenities offered, such as drinking water via spigot (we brought our own 20-gallon water jug to fill), and vault toilets in a clean little building. I enjoy camping very much, but would prefer not to go totally primitive if I can help it. Our campsite was really nice too - there was a paved area with fire pit and curved rock wall for sitting around the fire, and a gravel tent-pitching area.

Do you enjoy camping? It's a fair amount of work, but I think it's worth it. There's a lot to be said for the outdoor life. The fresh air in your lungs, the wind whispering through towering, ancient pines. Yes, there are downsides too, like bugs and dirt and snoring, flailing bedfellows, but I can overlook most of the negatives because it feels good to get away and do something different together. We did the standard camping things: made Jiffy Pop popcorn on our Coleman stove, built a fire in the pit, grilled hot dogs and made s'mores at night, sat around with guitars, books and crafty projects, traipsed back and forth with a child to the toilet hut about a million times.

One of my favorite things about being in the woods during high summer is the plants. There were a few wildflowers and a lot of berries around our campsite. I really liked that they left things growing. As nicely maintained as the campground is, you're still in the forest. Birds and insects are everywhere, there are lichens and mosses on most of the trees. A dry creek-bed meandered past our campsite, detritus from countless springtime runoffs resting at its bottom. There was a lot to see and we all have the bug bites, scrapes and bruises to prove it. But we also had: singing, scary stories, hatchet lessons, endless cups of cocoa, new friends (with a cool hammock) three campsites over and the chance to be vaguely, giddily concerned about bears (the woodsy kind). 

19 comments:

  1. It looks like you had a fantastic time. I'm sure your little bears will keep those memories for a very long time. Camping is something I'd love to do with my boys, I know they'd enjoy it. I really like the idea of sitting round the fire listening to the guitar, bet that was wonderful. CJ xx

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  2. What a great way to spend time with the family. We are not a camping family, which I have always regretted a bit. I camped for five weeks in France when I was young, and loved every minute of it (the toilet block wasn't as nice as the one on your campsite!) and have slept under the stars a few times on the beach, amd in the Australian outback. I remember all these experiences with great affection X

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  3. Fun! I'm glad you had a good time. While primitive camping is ok, I prefer having a shower house and can relate to visiting the facilities a million times or more :) In one park in Colorado I had a great time when I realized that they had rigged an electrical outlet into a campsite tree! I plugged in my hairdryer...vastly different than my Girl Scout camping days! xx

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  4. We used to camp in a pop up when our kids were young. We loved it! Bob and I have been saying we'd like to go again. It looks like you had a great time!
    PS - LB is looking a lot like your hubby!

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  5. I think it's great that you take the kids camping.. it's a great experience for them. We head to the lake for our family camping trip in about 4 weeks. We did the tent thing for years, now we enjoy our "caravan". We're old enough to need some comfort, especially when we stay almost 2 weeks sometimes. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  6. we love camping.... i have to chuckle when i say that cause the majority of people think thats how we live here in africa. but on a serious note.. your moments captured are beautiful - I cant wait for summer so that we can go and do the same.

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  7. It looks like a fantastic campsite. I love the thought of making popcorn and music round the fire, but I well remember the toilet trips in the middle of the night! xx

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  8. I'm so happy for you that you're making these memories with your little ones. We used to tent camp when the kids were small and then "graduated" to a pop-up camper. We went to Yellowstonne and the Black Hills every year when we lived in the Midwest. After moving to Washington, we went to the Oregon coast every year with lots of weekend trips during the summer. Now, of course, we have our trailer that we practically live in during the summer. All of this to say that when our kids get together now as adults, the things they invariably talk about are the camping memories they share. Every. Single. Time. Vacations in the woods always come up. So I'm positive that you're giving the little bears wonderful memories that they will relive together for years to come. Your campsite looks absolutely perfect. There's nothing like s'mores around a campfire.
    Blessings always,
    Betsy

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  9. We love camping and have just returned from six nights of it! Your campsite sounds perfect and not dissimilar to one we were staying on. We had the flailing limbs and the bitey things too! It is a lot work but always worth it :)

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  10. what a a wonderful experience. x

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  11. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. We've never been camping, Mick's not keen, I'm not sure why as I think it all sounds brilliant. Not sure I'd be very happy around the insects and creepy crawlies though.

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  12. Sounds like you had an amazing time. We used to go camping when the girls were young and had lots of adventures throughout Europe. These days however I like a little luxury when we travel.

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  13. I think the world can be split into campers and non-campers! We like it and your photos have camping adventure written all over them. Love to ya. Jo xx

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  14. Your camping weekend sounds like ours in so many ways, but also very different (bears...eek!) I'm really glad you had such good time, and had so much good quality family time together. But do you also find the planning before and sorting out afterwards really exhausting?! x

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    1. Thanks, Gillian. Bears are only a slight possibility, thankfully. The main threat is to your trash, you have to put it in bear-proof bins at the campsite or cart it home with you. I do find the whole thing a bit exhausting, especially the aftermath at home, ha. Just putting everything away, doing the laundry, etc. This time around, we had a dish soap leak in one of the supply bins and that was so much fun to deal with at home...not. :)

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  15. Looks great! we have bought all the camping equipment but have not had chance to try it out yet! hopefully in a few weeks x

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  16. It sounds like a wonderful trip with your family Jennifer.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  17. Oh wow this looks amazing! I love camping, sadly unable to now as my MS says No! I'd love a go at glamping though, where the tent is already pitched for you...really miss this connection with outdoors. Glad you had a fab time, happy memory making ;) xxx

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  18. I loved camping when I was kid! I am glad you were able to go! The outdoors is such a great place to be! :)

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