Thursday, August 25, 2011

Camping with Bug: A Dry Run

H and I planned to do a camping trip with some friends on the Cape this September, so we thought it would be a good idea to do a solo dry run first. We were pretty sure Bug would love camping and that we could figure out how to take care of a baby in the woods. How hard could it be?
We talked about planning a whole lot. We picked a really nice private campground in Carver. We purchased a roof bag so we could fit all of our stuff plus all of Bug's stuff. We purchased a two burner camp stove and fuel. We thought about getting everything organized before hand.
Sunday night we finally started getting things out of storage. We pulled the tent and sleeping stuff out of the attic. We dragged the kitchen stuff out of the basement.
Monday morning, just before I started packing stuff into the car, we started packing clothes. Packing my clothes takes a minute; the hardest part is counting out enough pairs of clean boxers. Packing Bug's clothes takes forever; it amazes me how much stuff a baby needs for two days of semi-roughing it.
Surprisingly, packing the car was easy. I expected it to be a challenge since I was using the roof bag for the first time and I had to pack a bunch of extra stuff - a pack-and-play, a stroller, a car seat, a diaper bag, etc.. The fact that most of the gear is rectangular helped a lot. The miracle was that everything fit - barely.
The challenge of camping with a small child were obvious the moment we started to set up camp. Usually both H and I go about setting things up. I get the tent up while she gets the kitchen area set up. This time, one of us had to monitor Bug. H and Bug went off to explore while I set up the tent and the screen house.
The screen house was an exercise in frustration. We haven't used the thing in two years, so I forgot the exact sequence to erect it. I did remember enough to think it would be easy. The first thing I forgot was that setting it up is a two person job. Then I forgot that the top poles had to go through sleeves. Then I forgot that the top poles need to go through a set of loops. I took it apart three times before I got it up. It was worth it though, the mosquitoes were fierce.
Once we got the camp site set up, things were smooth. Bug loved being able to explore. One of us could cook, or relax, while the other one followed Bug. For a new walker, she did really well on the rough terrain. The falls were infrequent. When she did fall, she just brushed herself off and kept going.
Bedtime was not smooth. Bug has a pop-up tent that she loves to hangout in at home. We figured that it would be the perfect camping Bug bed. It fit inside our tent and would keep her contained. Bug had different ideas. When it came time to curl up in her tent, she refused to go in. It amazes me how strong a wee girl can be when she does not want to do something.
Defeated, we put the tent away and replaced it with the floor of the pack-and-play. It kept her off the floor of the tent and provide her with a little padding. It worked better. Bug settled in, after an hour of fidgeting.
The second day was pretty routine. We spent the morning hanging about the camp site. Bug wandered around playing with everything she could get her hands on. We ate lunch and napped.
The afternoon was a big adventure. We went into Plymouth to visit with one of H's friends. We met at the big water park by the sea. It is a great place. Bug loved it. She went from fountain to fountain grabbing the water streams. Then she hit the playground.
By the end of the visit, she was pooped. H and I decided Bug could nap in the stroller and we explored Plymouth. Then we had a fabulous dinner at Cabby Shack. The food was great and the atmosphere was extremely kid friendly.
Packing up on the final morning presented the same problem as unpacking. We were used to it being a two person job, but one of us had to be on full time bug watch. It wasn't too bad since most of our gear is manageable by one person. It just takes more time.
Our initial camping trip with bug was a success. We all enjoyed ourselves and we learned a few lessons. The biggest one was that camping with a wee lass requires a little more time.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Paddling with My Sweety

H wanted to get at least one more couples paddle in before the season ended, so we took advantage of the nice weather and day care to make it happen. We invited along good friends. She picked an area where we could do something interesting, but not too crazy - Wickford.
We paddled from Wilson Park to Rome Point and back under clear skies. It was unremarkable - if you can call a relaxing and enjoyable day on the water unremarkable.
One crazy thing we did encounter were these crazy crab-like larval things floating in the water. They were everywhere and covered the water in a thin layer of goo. The things would get stuck on my arms and hands as a paddled. It was creepy! I still have no clue what they were, so info in the comments would be a great help.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Breaking the Week Up

I feel like I haven't done much paddling this summer. H thinks that I'm wrong and that I have managed to get out close to once a week. If I counted, I'm sure she is right, but that doesn't make me wrong - it's a perception thing. I'm used to going out on regularly scheduled paddles on the weekends, with a few midweek trips tossed in as a bonus.ays
This summer, it has been close to impossible to get a weekend paddle into the schedule. So, I have been "making due" with the midweek paddles when I can. In many ways a midweek paddle is more relaxing and fun than a weekend paddle. There is less boat traffic and the group is usually pretty well tailored to my preferences.
This week's adventure was a trip out of Pier 5 with TM. Originally, I was thinking about doing the full Pier 5 to Harbor of Refuge run. However, I just wasn't feeling up to committing to it. We followed the same course, but without the pressure of getting there.
The water was clam and the winds were light. It was as near to perfect weather as I'd seen all summer. We just ambled along the coast playing in the rocks and generally enjoying the day.
This section of the coast always has some action since it is exposed to open ocean, so things were not boring. Landing was exciting. We decided to lunch just before Point Judith light on the steepish, pebbly beach. TM thought he found a spot where the waves would let us simply land without issue. Instead he spent several minutes getting bounced off the beach before he could get out. Then he had to help me land. We simplified the launch by playing seal. We pointed our kayaks off the steep end of the beach and slid down into the oncoming swell.
We ended the day with some rolling, PFD floating, and Java Madness. It was just what I needed to recharge the battery. Now if I could just get a weekend free.......