Sunday, August 9, 2009

Into the Woods, Into the Woods

Our second camping trip landed us in Wells State Park, MA. A relatively small camp ground, it is essentially two large loops, each with one restroom/shower facility. The campsites are spacious and far enough from each other for comfort. In those two ways, it outperformed Takghanic State Park. Wells also boasts a beaver pond for boating and a small beach for swimming. We didn't have time to hike the trails in search of the beaver dam, but we would have liked to. We were not so keen on the restroom and shower facilities, which could use updating...and about three more daily cleanings. Another concerns was bears, which don't worry me so much in general, having survived a bear on my campsite before. Being a mother bear myself, however, adds a new perspective. In my mind, bears and children don't mix. In the end, the warnings on the Reserve America website were not repeated by the park rangers so we suspected it had been some time since the last bear sighting. And of course...there were fierce, persistent mosquitoes who would not be controlled. It was a fine place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Duncan attacked camping with a gusto equal to that he showed during our last trip. He loved the camp chairs, the fire, the propane stove, the tent, the air mattress, the s'mores, and his own "room" in the tent, complete with his backpack of books and toys. More than anything, he loved the flashlights. He wanted them on, all day, all the time. We tried giving him his own flashlight, but he kept liking someone else's torch better and trading. He loved everything so much, in fact, that he was reluctant to succumb to the powers of sleep. After our trouble last time, we decided that a three year old boy cannot be expected to go to sleep at 7:30 in daylight, in a tent, in the woods. We thought we were clever this time. We kept him up until around 8:30, yet he bested us again, staying awake until around 10, both nights.

Our camping trip ended abruptly, like a jump into a cold lake on an April morning, except it was July, and the wetness was less pleasant. Duncan woke at 4 a.m. on our second morning and said he needed to pee. Jamie got up with him and discovered Duncan had completely soaked through his pull-up. It was hard to tell if his bedding was wet since everything in the tent was damp. Jamie cleaned him up and took him out to finish his business. And that was when the rain started.

Duncan went back to sleep, but Jamie did not. Duncan and I woke up around 7 a.m. to pouring rain. We waited a while to see if the rain would abate. It did not. We left in search of a diner, where we all ate too much fried food and reluctantly returned to our campsite to begin the obstacle course of breaking camp in the rain. Luckily, because of the bear threat, our food, everything related to cooking, and all our toiletries were already in the car. We sprinted with our clothes and bedding to the car and threw the tent and all things wet into the car-top carrier. Duncan whined in his car seat about being alone. After the fastest break down in history, we hauled our posteriors home without even one potty break.

The ensuing days were, of course, consumed by laundry, tent drying in the yard in the small amount of sunshine we had that week, and sleeping bags strewn across our office. Despite our wet departure, we remain confirmed campers. With the hope that Duncan can last for at least three consecutive nights next summer (dare I wish for four?), we are already talking about Acadia National Park, Cape Cod, and Rhode Island. Maybe by then, someone will sell blackout curtains for tents.
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