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Monday, October 12, 2015

Camping at Little Basin

We have been filling up our Fall with so much fun stuff that I (clearly) cannot keep up with the blog! So this week I'm going to attempt to catch up on our fun family weekend trips. We just got back from a camping trip at Anthony Chabot Regional Park in the East Bay, but today I'm writing about our trip from the end of September to Little Basin Campground, a bit south of here in the coastal redwood forest. Camping among the redwoods is our favorite kind of California camping, and honestly I think this particular trip was our favorite camping trip as a family of four :) Though it didn't start out that way...

We headed down on Friday afternoon, the last weekend of September. When we got to the campsite that we had booked, we saw that it was nestled into a little grove with four or five other campsites all clustered close together. There were other families already getting settled into the other sites. James and I looked at each other and each knew what the other was thinking: This isn't going to work. James and I are introverts at heart and we like to keep to ourselves and have a little more privacy when camping. We don't want to have to worry about Henry disturbing other campers if/when he has a meltdown, and we don't want other (potentially) noisy campers disturbing him when he's napping or put to bed early. Plus, like I said, we just like to keep to ourselves. 

So we didn't unpack the car right away. The boys and I got out with some toys and waited at that campsite while James went back to the office to buy firewood and to ask if there were any other campsites open. We hoped maybe they'd have a cancellation or something and we might be able to get a site with a little more space from neighbors. 

While the boys and I waited, sure enough, Henry had a big crying fit. He was hungry, and even though I knew they'd be hungry, we hadn't unpacked the food because I'd hoped James wouldn't be long and I thought Henry could wait. I didn't want to unpack a bunch of stuff at this campsite if we weren't going to stay.  Well, Henry couldn't wait. He had a big screaming cry and I did what I could to try to calm him, rocking him in the Ergo, walking around with him... but he didn't stop crying until James got back and we could get him some crackers. Henry isn't able to understand the concept of "We'll eat soon." And once he gets wound up, he just isn't able to calm himself like a neurotypical kid might be able to. And as he was having this meltdown and I was waiting for James I remember thinking: "See? This. This is why we need another campsite!" Because when he gets like that, I don't want to also worry about disturbing other campers or having strangers watching me as I try to calm him down. It's hard enough! And we can't always prevent it. Meltdowns happen. 

So when James finally did get back to us, at least he had good news! There is a super secret non-reservable campsite at Little Basin - Shhh! You didn't hear it from me! During the rainy season (starting about this time of year) it is a in a possible flood area because it's near a reservoir (which is dry at the moment). So it's not listed online, and it doesn't even have a site number. But since there was no rain on the forecast they let us camp there that weekend. And it was perfect. Totally secluded and far from the neighboring sites, plus it was big and spacious. This campsite is the main reason we enjoyed this trip so much!

Snack time at last!! 

This is a much happier Henry than at the first campsite! 
At our new, awesome, super secret campsite we set up camp and got settled in for the night. 

I think my favorite part of camping is actually breakfast. I guess it makes sense since I'm a morning person. I just love being out in the woods in the early morning, feeling the cool air and drinking hot coffee. And James likes to cook pancakes on our camping trips! 

On this particular trip, we brought the Trader Joe's pumpkin pancake mix, thinking it was a "just add water" pancake mix... which it is not. And we didn't have eggs or milk. James insisted on trying it out anyway without the eggs and milk and the result was a little stickier and denser than your usual pancake, but it still tasted like pumpkin yummy-ness so we ate them anyway even with the, um, unusual texture ;) The kids had no complaints. They never met a pancake they didn't like.

After breakfast, the boys went straight to work playing in the dirt.

The weather warmed up and after lunch, Henry took a nap and Calvin and James went off exploring.

Later, when Henry was up again, we walked down the road a bit to some swingsets to play. Henry got a chance to practice using his reverse walker. Check out this Wellness Wednesday post to see the cute video of Henry and the walker :)

Back to the campsite at the end of a big day of play, and apparently it was time for Calvin to have a nap while we got dinner ready.

Henry gets put to bed at his usual bedtime on our camping trips, but we let Calvin stay up late to enjoy the campfire with the grown-ups. Glow sticks are so fun after it gets dark, and they have become a camping tradition for us. We also roast marshmallows over the campfire for S'mores, of course!

The next morning, after another breakfast of peculiar pumpkin pancakes, we packed up camp and headed home. The weekend wasn't quite over for us yet, though - we actually went home, showered, ate, and packed new bags for a quick overnight trip to Napa! But that is another story for another post, and I will try to get caught up on all our Fall adventures of the past few weeks :) Even when I'm behind on blogging, I do keep Instagram and Facebook updated.

Happy Fall y'all! I hope you're enjoying it as much as we are! More to come...

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