Into the Woods

Zora has survived and thrived in her first ever camping excursion.

Some pictures:

Zora and map

Zora hones her orienteering skills.

Zora tent

Zora, queen of the tent. (Note the stylish baby-camo, courtesy of Aunts Anna and Emily!)

zora beach

Zora and the beach.
A few observations on camping with a baby:

  1. How much stuff do you need? Well, we were camping out of a car, so we took more than we might have taken hiking. But I think we did pretty well. And, note, we were camping out of a CAR not an SUV so we couldn’t take everything. Notable things we lived without (and I only mention them because I noticed some fellow campers with these items or saw these items for sale at a children’s outdoor sports outfitter in Petoskey…): high chair, separate cooler for the baby’s stuff, baby sleeping bag, baby sunglasses , SPF 40 clothing, giant tent, screen house, some container big enough to bathe baby in…
  2. Our tent is perfect (thanks, Uncle Hank and Aunt Pam). It was a wedding gift ever so long ago, and we thought it was great for two people. But, guess what? By turning our air matress sideways, we can just fit the pack-n-play.
  3. Pack-n-play, you ask? I thought you were against taking too much equipment? Well, I was conflicted about this, but it turned out to be the one big piece of quipment we really needed. First, it kept the baby contained out side the tent when we needed to do things like set up camp. But, more importantly, it kept Zora contained when she needed to sleep. The first night, we tried no pack-n-play. Zora scooted around the tent like it was her own private baby amusement park until 11:00pm. She climbed the matress, climbed us, played Erik’s head like a set of bongo-drums, pulled things out of bags. Zora is not a co-sleeper. It’s too exciting for her. She needs a little nest to sleep–the pack-n-play, draped with a sheet for privacy and light-blocking, was perfect. I also had a mosquito-net bed cover around, and used this to drape the pack-n-play when we pulled it outside and the bugs were thick.
  4. Pack-n-play in the tent? Weren’t you worried about the floors? I was raised in a family where the most important rule of camping had to do with keeping the floor of the tent intact. I am thus vigilant about anything that might damage the tent floor: rocks, shoes, pointy things of all kinds. Maybe it wasn’t too much of a risk, but we took tennis balls and cut slits in them and placed one on each leg of the pack-n-play. I would recommend it.
  5. Did Zora eat things she shouldn’t have eaten? Yes. The list includes: sticks, small rocks, sand, algae, a few bugs, and ice-cream. But, she was protected from eating the copious amounts of cat hair she ingests at home. I’m not worried.
  6. Best food to teach your baby to eat: humus. We fed it to Zora on a whim last winter. She loves it. It’s perfect camping, vacationing, and road-tripping: doesn’t spoil too fast, healthy, and easy to find in a restaurant.
  7. Thing I never thought of at home: You know the frozen peas? Turns out they are already cooked enough (once thawed) to go through the food mill. I did this to try to minimize my use of the burner this week. I wish I had thought of this months ago when I was cooking and milling huge amounts of frozen veggies for Zora.
  8. Other food that is useful on the road: avocados. If you find small ones, they’re perfect for a baby traveling. They ahve their own wrapper, you simply cut it open and feed little pieces from a spoon. But, don’t let the baby smear it everywhere. You know how they turn brown when they hit the air? So will the baby.
  9. And, finally, since we were camping in cherry country, I always wondered why they call them black cherries when they’re really just very very dark red. Guess what they look like coming out? (Also, as an aside, if you want to scare your spouse, let the baby grab a black cherry piece and start munching. If he turns around and sees the juice seeping out of the mouth, it will cause panic. Erik thought she’d just eaten a piece of glass!)

3 Responses to “Into the Woods”

  1. Erik Says:

    Re #5—don’t forget the pinecone!

  2. Susan Says:

    Looks like you all had fun. Glad to see that you took a vacation post youth mission trip.

  3. Heidi Says:

    Okay – so THANK YOU for this post… this is exactly what I was looking for… something clear and helpful… We’re thinking about taking S camping and now I know the reasons why we should or should not attempt it. :-) Love the pics as well!