Monday, March 29, 2010

Camping with the 5 Bears

(photo by a friendly bystander)
We've just returned from a 4 day camping trip in the North Ga mountains. We arrived at Unicoi State Park on Wednesday, and got home Saturday night. Sharing the experience this time were my good friends from our homeschool group and their children (and dogs)- it was a great combination! Everybody got along really well and helped out.

The weather went from gorgeous, to wet and chilly, back to gorgeous. It was colder than I expected, but we managed just fine. The kids had a blast, of course! They ran all over the place, played in the creek, rode scooters and the trike, played ball, and had secret adventures in the woods with a "bear trap". We roasted marshmallows every night over the campfire. The older kids helped watch the younger, and though camping with kids isn't really a relaxing experience, we certainly found the trip to be a rejuvenating one. I'm looking forward to planning the next one. :)

(photo by Billy via iPhone)

Wednesday was warm and gorgeous. Everyone arrived and got set up, and before we knew it we were relaxing around the campfire with full tummies and plenty of happy, excited kids. Thursday dawned cool, grey and misty. Billy got our big tarp up just in time before rain began to fall, and it continued lightly off and on all day. After breakfast the older boys all went to play in the creek. They were having a great time building a dam, when just before lunch someone accidentally dropped a large rock onto Littleman's hand. The results were surprisingly gnarly, and after some hurried triage Billy took Littleman to the nearest ER.

(photo by Billy via iPhone)
Littleman ended up with 8 stitches, a bandaged splint and antibiotics to prevent infection. It was rough on him of course, but he was a real trooper and bounced back quickly.

The rest of us hung out around camp in the light rain, relaxing (OK and maybe worrying a bit) and playing Mancala and Canasta while the younger boys played or read comic books. Billy and Littleman got back in time for our big shared dinner: a traditional Low Country Boil. It was delicious! Billy and I were the last ones awake as the skies opened and dropped a ton of rain. We had fun rushing about to batten down the hatches before turning in for the night.

Friday morning:

(video by Billy via iPhone)

Friday we drove up to Anna Ruby Falls for a short hike. The double waterfall was looking pretty spectacular from the previous night's downpour!

Everyone had a snack before Papa Bear and Brother Bear took one of the dogs and joined Billy, myself and Babyman for a 4 mile hike back to camp. Mama Bear bravely took charge of the remaining 4 boys and one dog, and went back to camp for the afternoon.

The hike was wonderful! It felt amazing. I carried Babyman, who napped most of the way, so I'm pretty good and sore right now! It was just what I needed.

(video by Billy via iPhone)

Saturday we packed up and said goodbye to our friends, with promises to plan this again soon! Billy and I took the boys into Helen so we could visit our favorite rock shop and eat at the Troll Tavern. We stopped at the hospital for an Xray on Littleman's hand before heading on home that night. Whew! What a great trip! And now, it's back to chipping away at the resulting mountain of laundry. (FYI, Oxyclean does a fantastic job on bloodstains.) ;)

P.S.- Find Mama Bear's excellent account of the trip here:
Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4


foolery said...

That looks like a beautiful spot, Miss Kit. I haven't been camping since I was 19 -- FOR REAL. I'm a camping idiot (but it looks like fun if you know what you're doing).

Five Bears A-Blogging said...

Awesome post! Love the video in the tent. Thanks for the tip on the OxyClean...between Papa Bear's hand and T-Bear's nose, I've got a few spots to work on :)

Michelle Roebuck said...

You looked absolutely gorgeous in the morning-in-the-tent video - Now THAT'S the camping tip gold mine right there, uh-huh! ;)

Jasmine said...

Crystal, The video in the tent is so cute I can hardly stand it. Mark and I have been enjoying it. Babyman is simply edible! Auntie Lisa