The architect and I took Alvie Bean out for his second camping trip over the weekend. Bean had previously been camping on our epic road trip from PDX to the Black Hills and back, but he doesn’t remember much about that trip.
I made a rookie mistake Thursday and told Alvie that on Friday we were going to go camping and that We! Would! Sleep! In! A! Tent! I was trying to drum up excitement. That is actually a terrible idea for people with a warped sense of the passage of time. Thursday night bedtime was awful when he realized that there were no tents in his room, just his boring old bed. Hysterics ensued. Alvie cried, too.
Finally, it was Friday after daycare. I picked up Bean and then we went to the MAX station to pick up Daddy. This was pretty exciting, because we got to see so many MAX trains! Alvie told me, very seriously, “Mummy, I drive train.”
I was all, “Really? I think you’re kinda short. Also, let me explain to you about child labor laws.”
Alvie looked at me and said, “When big, mummy.” (Implied: Duh.)
Finally (!) Daddy got off the train and we were off on our big adventure. About 60 minutes into the 105 minute drive, Alvie said, “I no wanna camping! Go home, pease.”
Too bad, kid. You’re stuck now!
We got to our campsite about 7 pm and I set up the tent while the architect started a fire.
Alvie ate a cheese sandwich (he had no patience for this fire building thing) and helped me arrange the tent to his liking. At 8:30 (i.e. about 30 minutes after regular bedtime) he said, “I go to bed now. Sleep in tent.”
We did stories and a song, and he was out.
I got up early the next morning and after making me some coffee, I took a walk. I got back just in time for the architect and the Bean to wake up. After breakfast, we took our first mini-hike. The Bean was fascinated with the hiking poles and insisted that he have a “stick” at all times.
We did a half mile round trip walk to the nearby Clackamas Lake. And then (!) we scoped out the (most disgusting in the history of camping) restrooms, which fascinated our Bean. Oooh – and then we went to the Lake again. (There were stairs. The stairs were awesome.)
After the second trip to the lake, it was time for lunch. Cheese sandwiches for all! It was about this time that I realized my car keys – the only keys to the car we’d driven – were missing.
I looked everywhere. I retraced all my steps – twice. I even, at the architect’s suggestion – took a flashlight and checked the outhouse. That memory will be burned into my brain (and nostrils) for all stinking eternity.
I was not happy. (“Mommy sad.”) Just as we were about to take another walk retracing our steps, I decided to look by the trunk one last time. I remembered that one of the first things I’d done when returning from our last trip to the lake (and I knew I’d had the keys when we left, because I’d locked the car) was to get the sandwich fixin’s out of the trunk.
Uh, yeah. The keys were still in the lock. I was so relieved/pissed. I HAD LOOKED INTO AN OUTHOUSE FOR LONGER THAN ANYONE SHOULD, EVER!
There was great rejoicing, and so we hiked some more. And lo! The Bean was adorable, and we got many wonderful pictures.
That evening, we made dinner early enough for Bean to enjoy a cheeseburger and some corn on the cob (ha! like he ate corn; that is very vegetable-y).
He watched me cook.
And then practiced being big.
Another early night for Bean (and me, too!) and then it was Sunday.
We took one last hike to the lake and then it was time to go.
Alvie said, “No go home, mommy. Stay camping forever.”
But, since it was pretty chilly at night (brrrr….I apparently forgot how to pack for a camping trip; we were FREEZING!), the architect and I made an executive decision to not become forest folk and came home.
We won’t do any more camping until next summer, and that seems like an awfully long time to wait for more of this kind of fun.