Camping with a Baby

Loft Mountain Campground
is at the bottom of the map

We did it! We went camping with a baby!

Last weekend, we took David on his longest car ride yet and his first camping trip! He fussed the first 30 minutes in the car and we almost turned back, but thankfully, we powered through it and made our way to the Shenadoahs for a Blue Ridge Overnight.

I pulled the map off another website (Midatlantic Hikes). You’ll see the campground loop at the bottom where you can also see the Appalachian trail (white line) loop around the campground and mountain ridge.

Great job setting up the tent David!
We drove up on Saturday morning with a friend of Sara’s who was visiting with her 4 and 1/2 year old son from Switzerland. After several pit stops for bathrooms, breast feeding, diaper changes and gas, we managed to find a tent site at Loft Mountain Campground in the Shenandoah National Park. 
Now that is a happy camper 🙂
For essentially having no plans, it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. We found a nice site that gave us some extra space, set up our tent and went for a short hike before making a fire and having dinner. 
Heading out on our first hike.
Picking berries. 

The trail encircles the campground. All in all, we hiked about 2 miles. A perfect easy hike through the woods and mountain ridge provided spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Davids
Happy Family. Mom and Dad each with the emergency clip-on baby attire.
The Appalachian Trail swings around the
campground with spectacular views. 
Collecting kindling.
After making a fire, roasting hot dogs and s’mores, we all called it a night. Our Coleman tent (borrowed from Kevin over at Sweet and Salt was spacious and cozy at the same time. We set up a Pack-n-Play in the tent for David and he did great while Sara and I cuddled up on the floor. 
On a side note, Nicole, Sara’s friend was worried we’d see a bear. I told her not to worry as it was pretty rare. Also, the ranger at the station told us, as long as we store our food properly, it won’t be an issue because there are plenty of raspberries and apple trees for the bears to munch on. As we got the fire going we stopped to fully absorb our home for the night only to notice we were surrounded by berry bushes and covered by a canopy of apple trees 🙂 We laughed a lot about that, but not too worry, there were no fuzzy, big-pawed visitors.

A very cool silver spider at the bathroom.
He had to go too, apparently.

We woke early, as we always do with baby David, to have a nice breakfast and start our morning hike to the Doyles River Falls. It got hot fast and the kids were heavy (yes, Nils, needed up needing carrying too). So we trudged back up the mountain and enjoyed lunch before making the drive home at midday.  It was a short and perfect trip. I enjoyed a re-broadcast of Prairie Home Companion while everyone snoozed most of the way home. 
The Upper Falls
I’ve got a Lamb’s Ear Leaf in my hat to match David’s.

Worth a Glance: "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson

I just finished Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.” I’m sure many of you have read it or heard of it. It is an account of Mr. Bryson’s time spent hiking the Appalachian Trail. It is an easy and funny read. Most importantly, he takes the reader along with him. By the end of the book, I felt I was right there, feeling the same bitter sweet thoughts that the satisfyingly difficult journey was over.

I also was reminded of the simple truth that time spent in the outdoors brings appreciation for the outdoors.

If you are looking for a good book this summer or would like to learn a little more about the Appalachian Trail and haven’t read Bryson’s book, I highly recommend you do. You won’t be sorry.