As you can see, camping tuckers you out. That's the way I felt after 3 days of camping, even though we had a lot of fun. The weather was gorgeous, with highs in the mid to upper 70s. It wasn't so cool at night that we were cold in our sleeping bags, nor was it so hot that we were sweating while we were hiking.
We went to Backbone State Park in Northeast Iowa. We've never been to this park, and it was simply beautiful. It had fantastic views and scenery to look at all around the park. One trail we went on had all these limestone formations sticking up out of the ground. We had fun climbing up on them and looking across hills and ravines. Some people even go rappelling down the cliffs near this trail.
The kids had a BLAST. They couldn't stop talking about it for days when we got home. The hiking was a favorite, even by some who complained about having to go beforehand. In the picture above, all four kids are standing in front of a massive tree that fell down and uprooted itself some time long before we were there.
My stepdaughter took some of the pictures. She is in her 'diagonal artsy' period. Blake did pretty well with the camping too. To be honest, I was kind of worried about taking a 6-month old baby on a camping trip. It would be hard for him to nap, it would be difficult to make his bottles, we wouldn't have all his toys and devices from home. Somehow though, with some planning, it worked out. I was so glad my Mei Tai wrap came before we left. I put Blake in it many times during the three days, especially when we were hiking. He actually fell asleep on our two hikes, after looking around in amazement at all the trees and nature. I had to pull a towel between him and my shirt, to keep him from spitting up all over me.
This was the view down through two rocks. This wasn't the actual trail, more of a side shoot down to a scenic view. I went part of the way down, and then stopped and came back up. Leaning forward and climbing down slippery, steep trails is difficult when you have a 20 lb. infant strapped to your chest. Climbing up was not so bad, but down made me nervous.
Dale took a picture of our campsite. You can see we had two tents, a girls' tent and a boys' tent. Except Blake, he slept in the girls' tent. We brought his pack and play for him to sleep in, since our tents are so big. We loved the site. It was only a short walk to the bathroom and shower house, and we could see the playground from our campfire. A paved road wound around us, so the kids could ride their scooters and skateboards. (Dad did a little skateboarding as well. He is pretty good, I must say).
The park had many interesting features, such as a cave large enough to walk around inside.
There were also springs that bubbled up in a clear, beautiful pool. A sign informed us that the springs were a consistent 48 degrees year round. We confirmed that the water was indeed cold! We took off our shoes and tried walking across it. The limestone rock pieces were sharp though and they were hard on our feet.
Dad is here showing that he can wear the baby AND conquer the stream.
Some of the best times were just chilling out around the campsite. We put Blake's blanket inside the screen porch to protect him from bugs while he was stretching out and playing. The sun was just up over the trees in the picture. I kept thinking a baby couldn't have a more beautiful place to play than laying in this morning light.