For the last year, at least once a month, I say to myself "Wow, I really need to take the children camping!" It started last year around this time of year when for the first time in more than a decade I took myself camping, and the children with me. I thought "I hated camping growing up!" and "So I should totally take my children camping!" There was an in between thought there that the reason I hated camping was that aside from one memory of going with my parents, I had only experienced it in boy scouts, and to be honest… I really (really) didn't like boy scouts.
All of that is a fancy way of saying, that I figured camping with the children could introduce them to the subject in a way that made them appreciate it more. I took them last year for the first time, and it was really difficult. I forgot how difficult it was until the other night. Being a single father of four is hard, but taking four children under the age of 10 into the woods, is that same kind of hard multiplied.
First off, we went to Mt. Lemmon, it's right here overshadowing Tucson (I love mountains!!!)
My favorite camp ground here is near the top, somewhere around eight thousand feet up. What's nice about that kind of height, is that on the drive up I saw the temperature go from 95 degrees to 58 degrees. From "c'mon, really?!" to "oh hey! I think it's fall here!"
The feeling in the air was that of Autumn, the trees hadn't started to change color yet (the ones that do change color up there.) but it was a beginning.
The temperature in the mountains still wasn't cold enough to see my breath, even first thing in the morning, but it was cold enough for little girls.
I do not love setting up this tent… or all the work that goes into putting the sleeping stuff together, but I have learned a long time ago that if you're going to 'rough it' you should do so with air mattresses.
Every child got a chance to use the fire starting flint. Matches?! Who needs Matches?!
That she got a spark at all was pretty incredible, but catching it with the camera gave me a warm fuzzy.
My dear second oldest took the fire starting task too seriously.
Maybe next time I should give him much longer to start the fire. The kindling was definitely dry enough, I should have gotten him a paper towel. He REALLY wanted to start the fire.
There's probably a merit badge in there somewhere for how much he was able to get it to spark.
Is it false advertising to throw a match under the tinder when they're using the magnesium flint?
It is technically true… if they HAD to start a fire because of the zombie robot apocalypse they may have to use matches instead of a flint. But the fire is fire no matter how you start it. (Unless you use gas, I don't like to cook food over fire's where petroleum (in any form) is used as a starting fluid.)
They all laughed and told me that they loved camping. I was at stress level 8 for at least half the time, but it is worth it to see the smiles.
The older one was just bringing his hand down from covering his eyes "fire is bright!" he said.
The other huge reason to go camping is to be able to watch the moon, see the stars, and breathe the fresh air. (Which I got to do… a LOT, I'm not sure if I just don't notice how many times little girls go to the bathroom in the middle of the night at home, or if it's only when we go camping, but I swear we left the cozy warm tent no less than five times during the night.)
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