Photo: El Capitan, Yosemite National Park
While I love living in our time period and the technology that we are blessed to have I feel it refreshing to escape the fast paced world of video games and internet to reconnect with nature. I feel like a day hiking in a glorious place like Yosemite resets my mind and puts everything back into a clearer perspective. Pricey decorations, the internet, cell phones, shopping and all other modern day distractions are of no importance. There is a brilliant ecosystem out there that when righteously tapped into is the best $20 stress medication one can buy.
When my siblings and I were growing up my parents took us on plenty of camping trips. It was common practice if we traveled anywhere we mainly camped. Many times that was the only way we could afford to take a family of seven to Disney World. We either pitched our tent in the campgrounds or camped out on my Aunt Sandra’s family room floor. My mom’s handy-dandy electric frying pan filled our bellies with pancakes and bacon, egg sandwiches, spaghetti and other delicious meals. Our camping trips were not as primitive as one day I hope ours will become. When the kids are older my ultimate goal is to take them on a week wilderness hike every summer.
I will confess camping with young children as inquisitive as mine may not seem like a vacation at the time as we scurry them away from the poison ivy, save them from dropping of a cliff or from burning themselves in the fire. When I see the light of childhood burning brightly in their eyes I recognize that this experience is not about me. They are free to explore, to leap from rock to rock, play hide and seek in caves, splash in a stream and even watch raccoons at 2:00 AM. They can get dirty and sticky and it is ok.
Camping with active little children or teenagers who think the whole trip is lame can be daunting. If you are new to camping or have a high anxiety level personality start out simple. Set up camp in the back yard or just plan on camping for the day. I know it sounds like a lot of work to set up a tent that morning and take it down that night. The first reason for doing this is if things are going well everything is already set up for the night. Secondly if you are easily overwhelmed the practice will help you become more comfortable and over time the children will learn what is expected of them. Also you will want to plan activities to keep the kids busy such as going on a hike, swimming, playing games, a bike ride, drawing or writing. Lastly be prepared to stay up late. Light a camp fire, roast some marshmallows and tell fun happy stories or sing songs together.
For a successful camping trip bring the necessities.
Your menu will depend on the area you are camping in. If you plan on hiking in a cooler with perishable food is not a good idea. Be aware that some camp sites do not have tap water or electricity. Plan accordingly.
Search the following websites for yummy enticing meal ideas: Camping Recipes, One Pan Wonders, Camping Blogger, Papa Dutch, Gluten Free Camping, Simple Backpacking,
Some of our favorites include: Hot dogs, Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Potato and Meat packets (combine onions, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, celery, butter, spices, meat or beans. Wrap in heavy duty foil then cook using indirect heat), Grilled chicken breasts with roasted vegetables, Canned or fresh soup or stew, Fresh fruits, Fresh vegetables cut up, Cereal and milk, Eggs, Pancakes with Sausage or bacon, S’mores, Banana Packets (chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and chopped nuts stuffed into a banana with the peel still on. Wrap in foil and cook in indirect heat.) and Hot chocolate.