Saturday, May 18, 2013

First Ever Camping Trip

This happened a while ago, on Easter weekend to be exact. We went camping, hooray! Now, you might not think it's such a big deal. But last time I went camping family-style I was in elementary school. And I'm not sure Chris has ever been camping before.

Fortunately, we have terrific friends who are seasoned campers 'cause they go camping a lot and also 'cause they have a camper. They also have a ton of gear, doubles and triples of many things which was helpful. And my brother was able to join us. He's just about the most adventurous and outdoorsy person I know. Which is great for real backwoods stuff, but is not particularly useful at a nice family-style campsite. But what's really useful is that my bro is an awesome camp cook.

One thing you gotta know about camping with Russians is that there will be lots and lots of food. The entire day will revolve around cooking and eating food. Since food is so important to the success of the outing, it won't be any ordinary stuff like sandwiches. No freaking way! Instead, there will be some sort of soup (why do my American friends think soup is so complicated? it's just about the easiest thing to cook!), lots of veggies - fresh (scallions, radishes, cukes) and cooked (roasted corn, baked potatoes) and, of course, shishkebabs.

Anyway, the three of us - Chris, myself and M - were total noobs at this whole camping thing. But I think we fared well. M loved it. The first night we tried getting him to sleep in the camper with his friends. At first he was all for the idea. But as soon as the lights were out, he asked to sleep in the tent.

The second, last night, was particularly awesome. I let M stay up late. I wrapped him in a warm blanket and he sat by the fire, listened to his bedtime story, ate s'mores, watched the stars. Then he just sat and watched the fire and listened to the adults talking and fell asleep. It was just about perfect, I thought.

Here's the picture of the delicious shishkebabs my brother made. I fixed a salad to go with them. And we had grilled corn and baked potatoes too. Now, let me say a couple of things about baked potatoes. If you cannot enjoy a real baked potato, yes, the kind with ash on its skin 'cause it wasn't wrapped in foil, then too bad for you! You are totally missing out on things.

Here's the (now, in retrospect) funny thing about this camping trip. We forgot M's warm clothes. Yep, we sure took warm jackets for ourselves. But somehow we forgot M's sweaters and warm pants and, well, even a rain jacket. That's some parenting, I tell ya. Still, the kid did great and was happy and warm throughout the 3-day trip.

Since returning from our first ever camping trip, we traded our giant 6-person tent for a more modestly sized 4-person one. Our friends upgraded their popup camper to a better model. And we vowed to go camping again soon, as soon as we get a camping stove.

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