Looks like our family camping trip to the redwoods is becoming a tradition! We had a great time, and even got to relax a little bit -- a very different experience than last year, which was fun but hardly relaxing.
We spent two nights at our tent cabin site, which felt like the perfect amount of time. We headed "over the hill" after S was done teaching, set up camp, and had a yummy dinner of BBQ sandwiches (for S and me) and mac and cheese (the kids' favorite). Before long, the kids seemed right at home and were suitably filthy.
BB had fun setting up her toys in the dirt, and BJ enjoyed figuring out ways to modify the campsite in order to play his current favorite game, "Pajama Sam -- Thunder and Lightning Aren't So Frightening." (It's a video game that has proved to be very inspirational for his imagination, and he loves to play versions of the game wherever we go, fixing the weather machines and revising the narrative as necessary.)
We were delighted to have some company this year -- our dear family friend, Tia M, was able to join us! Her girlfriend, P, also came along for the first night, which was a nice treat. It really meant a lot to us that they were willing to drive down to spend some time with us. I've known M since 2002, and she was one of the first real heart-friends that I made after moving to California with S.
I met M at a local women's open mic that she founded and hosted for many years, so we first grew to know one another through poetry and performance. Soon we were hiking together on a regular basis. Even back then, we talked about doing some camping, but we didn't manage to make it happen until this trip. I don't see her nearly as much as I'd like, now that she's moved and now that my life is so full of kids and family and everything that comes with that. But she's a great friend and a great Tia for BJ and BB.
BJ especially enjoyed the little hike that he took with Tia, down to "salmon creek" on Wednesday. Here they are returning to the campsite. He had such fun, he insisted on taking the rest of us there the next day!
BJ really wanted us to see the "cave" at "salmon creek." "Look Ma, there it is!" (Yes, he has started calling me "Ma." I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this.)For BB, the highlight of the trip was visiting the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. She'd been asking to ride "the killer whales" for weeks.
She also wanted to see "the haunted house," though she was adamant that she only wanted to watch other people get onto the ride.
She is still very content with the kiddie rides. The whales, the boats, and the cars are her favorites.
BB is big enough to ride the kid's rollercoaster now, but she still doesn't want to. I got to go for the first time with BJ -- very fun! BJ still likes the little rides too, but at 42 inches (barely!) he's now tall enough to go on some of the bigger rides. And he loved them! He and S rode "the Tornado" for the first time. (Which was of great interest to BJ, given his current fascination with all things weather related. Thank you Pajama Sam!)
They also did the log flume! BB and I stayed by the smaller rides while the boys had their fun.
After the boardwalk, we all walked along the beach for a little bit. BB really wanted to get her feet wet, unlike her brother who was nervous about the waves and wanted all of us to get away from them. He's sitting here, watching me type this, reading over my shoulder and telling me, "And I did not like the waves! I am not going to the waves ever again!"
We'll see. He was so brave about the big kid rides, which scared BJ, but hated the water. An interesting study in contrasts!
BB totally zonked when we got back to the campsite and took a 3 hour nap!
Actually, both kids slept remarkably well this time. The night time was easily the most challenging time of the trip last time around. This time, BJ went right to sleep both nights! And BB wasn't too long after. Very little night waking, too! YAY!
Other highlights from the trip: BJ eating his first s'more!
BB collecting sticks:
I discovered that cargo pants are a perfect Mom accessory for hiking -- the knee-high pockets were perfect for BB to squirrel away her treasures! (Which are now in our nature basket! Did I feel like I'd planned that one well, or what?)
It was so dear to look down and see her little hands busy with the snaps of my pocket. Though it did slow things down a bit on our family hike.
Things sped up a bit when the kids got tired of walking.... Thanks to Tia for taking this shot!
One disappointment: even though we were timed perfectly for the Perseids, with clear skies and everything, the tree canopy kept us from being able to see anything at all. And the kids are still too young to be up late enough, so BJ wasn't able to look through the telescope at all. His enthusiasm for all things planetary continues (here we are, at his insistence, pretending to be "Uranus -- which is sideways!") so hopefully next year we'll be able to get in some stargazing.
All told, though, the trip was quite a success! It always renews my spirit to be among the trees -- especially such grand trees as the redwoods -- and I'm looking forward to continuing this family tradition!