We camped near Devil's Head Lookout. The area was familiar to us since we'd been hiking there before, but never camping. Growing up, Clayton and I had very different camping experiences. My family would always go to a paid camp site where there were always toilets, typically flushing, and sometimes even showers. The downside is that you were right on top of all the other campers. Clayton was used to going in the middle of no where with no "luxuries." If you saw anyone else while camping, you were too close. Devil's Head was a good compromise. There were other campers, but they were far enough away that you rarely saw or heard them. There weren't any outhouses, so all business was done in an obscured section of wood (which got old really quick!). Another downside was there was no water sources, and we were running low on water by the end of the trip.
We set up camp Friday evening and shared a very rustic dinner of Little Ceasar's pizza that we picked up on the way. Our friend Amy, was celebrating her birthday that day, so we a put candle in a Little Debbie's cupcake and sang her "Happy Birthday." Surrounding the campsite were some boulders. Amy and I climbed to the top of one that was about 50 feet tall. The view was beautiful as we looked over the surrounding mountains. That night, the boys slept surprisingly well. Derek woke up once but quickly fell back to sleep once I pulled him into bed with me.
Saturday morning began with a leisurely pancake breakfast. Afterwards, we cleaned up, and went to hike Devil's Head. Conveniently, the trail head was only about a 10 minute drive from our campsite. Clayton and I were expecting to have to piggyback Derek up the entire way, but he was insistent that he wanted to walk. Because of this, we had to take the climb pretty slowly. However, we didn't get very tired because of our slow pace. Both of the boys hiked the entire way up, the mountain, which is about 1.5 miles. Pretty impressive of our two-and-four-year-olds! Along the way, they had fun climbing some of the different rock formations. Once you get to the top, there is a 140 step stair case that leads to the lookout. The look out is a small room with a wrap around porch that allows you to look in every direction. You can see 13 or 14 mountains from the lookout. Once we climbed back down the stairs, we had a snack and then headed down the mountain, this time Derek riding on Daddy's shoulders. It took less that 10 minutes for him to fall asleep. Clayton chivalrously carried him down the entire way, as well as the backpack that contained our snacks and water from the trip. I held Ryan's hand and he made it all the way back down.
That afternoon we hung around the campsite. I helped Amy gather some pine cones for a Fall wreath we will make sometime. Clayton brought his BB gun and the boys had a lot of fun shooting at pop cans and water bottles. Towards the end of shooting, it started to rain so we all retreated to our tents to hideout until it passed. During the hour we were inside, we tried to take a nap, but Derek's nap down the mountain gave him plenty of energy and he bounced around the entire time interrupting each or our naps. Finally the rain passed and we went out to play a game of Bocce balls.
Dinner was quite the ordeal. We had planned to do shish-ka-bobs but we had a hard time cooking them over the fire. It took a long time, and a lot of kneeling in the dirt, holding them over the fire, nearly burning our hands to cook everything. We finally finished cooking and eating dinner just in time for another wave of rain. We rushed through s'more making, and once again took cover in the tent. By this time is was bed time for the boys, so I got their pajamas on and laid down with them. I had every intention of going back out after they fell asleep, but I fell asleep, too. Our friends did the same thing, which left Clayton outside with the fire all by himself.
Sunday morning we woke up, ate a quick bowl of cereal and packed up camp. We had intended to stay until after lunch, but everyone was ready to go.
Initially I was really nervous to take the boy's camping. I was worried that they wouldn't sleep well and would get hurt, but I was pleasantly surprised. Minus a scraped elbow and a bump on the head by Derek, the boys had a really good time. We had a lot of fun and it reminded me of how grateful I am to have simple things, like a flushing toilet and a microwave. Still, it was a great weekend and Clayton and I are already getting excited for the next chance we have to take our family camping.