There is sand everywhere. Sand in my socks, sand in my hair, in every crevice of skin possible and especially all over the blow up mattress. As I lay my head down next to Catarina, listening to her heavy breathing as exhaustion tugs her deep into sleep, I can’t help but smile.
Despite my cold hands, the sand turning to mud between my toes and the sound of the water pressurizer blasting the cement just a few yards away, I am happy.
So many things have gone wrong on this camping trip. And yet, here snuggled next to my girl, in a tent pitched underneath 100 year old Sitka Spruce trees, the smell of wood smoke wafting around me, I know I am making great memories.
Our two-night camping trip to Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park got off to a rocky start. I forgot clothes at home that Craig had to run back and get for me and in his hustle to pack the car while I was at work Craig forgot to grab Catarina’s Teddy Bear. We were going to pay for that later. That really should have been our cue that this was going to be a very challenging trip. Despite all the hiccups in the beginning, by 2 p.m. Wednesday we were on our way to the beautiful Washington state coast. A mini-vacation, car camping with our nearly 2-year-old daughter and dog, Molly. A time to relax and reset.
Quickly, here’s a list of things that went wrong:
- We forgot the extra blanket and as the temperature dipped down in the 40s we were forced to wear tons of layers to bed so we didn’t freeze.
- The giant watermelon I spent nearly an hour carefully slicing up for the trip got left behind and I didn’t realize it until after I spent the whole day daydreaming about biting into its juicy goodness after our hike on Ruby Beach. I was so defeated.
- The battery died on the portable DVD player we brought for Catarina so she could watch a video when she decided to wake up at 5 a.m. and we wanted to stay nestled down in the tent a little while longer. So we all got up! By 9 a.m. we were pretty much done for the day.
- Molly burned her leash strap when she walked around the fire. Thankfully it just burned off and didn’t actually catch fire!
- The crow stalking our campsite took off with my Luna Bar that I had planned to eat as a treat in lieu of s’mores.
- Catarina refused to stay at the campsite so we spent the entire time taking turns walking her around the campground.
- Catarina face planted in the road while running giving her nose road rash.
So let’s recap:
Nearly froze to death, toddler had about a dozen meltdowns, I never got my watermelon, Molly ruined her leash and almost caught on fire, crow ate my Luna Bar and Catarina forced me to walk 20 miles around the campground.
Yup, that just about sums up our trip. And yet, even though there were meltdowns from everyone at some point (I may have tossed things out of a cooler and into the bushes because it was prohibiting me from getting to the corn), I really enjoyed my time camping. Sometimes you have to unplug yourself from the outside world to truly appreciate the things you have and the people in your life.
So here’s a quick list of things that went right:
- I read books to Catarina and she actually paid attention because she had nothing else to do.
- After Catarina went to sleep Craig and I were able to talk about life, family, work and the future while huddled around a fire. It was nice to catch up.
- Grilled corn never tasted so good.
- I replaced the Luna Bar with Oreos. Win!
- Molly spent a lot of time off leash and she was surprisingly very obedient.
- We spent a lot of time cuddled together in our tent in the wee hours of the morning laughing and trying to get Molly to lay on our feet so we could stay warm.
- Walking Catarina around the campground was a great way for Craig and I to get some one-on-one time with that kid. We both love watching her face as she stares up at giant trees and digs in the dirt for sticks.
So you’re probably wondering; would I do it again?
In a heartbeat.
Have you had any nightmare camping experiences? I didn’t even mention when Catarina peed on me on our way home or when Craig had to fetch Catarina’s formula at 3 a.m. after he left it in the car.
What’s your favorite camping memory? For now, mine is resting next to a sleeping toddler staring at all the sand crusted on her face.
– Veronica Sandate Craker