We went camping again this summer! We took a quick weekend trip to Coopers Rock State Forest in West Virginia, and no, we have not learned our lesson after many many failed or absurd camping trips. I’m either hopelessly optimistic or delusional, depending on who you ask. My husband probably believes I’m delusional. But we survived another family camping trip even though we kind of suck at camping.
This summer has been insanely busy, as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t blogged like… at all. I had BIG PLANS. But then life happened so ya know? Jake has been working a ton, plus we’ve had a bunch of camps, a visit to see my sister, and just general life nonsense that is too boring for the blog.
Family Time in the Mountains
Because we’ve been so busy, I was adamant that we spend some super amazing quality family time camping in the mountains. We sort of ran out of time to do a bigger trip, so we settled for a quick weekend trip in the mountains of West Virginia, at Coopers Rock State Forest.
The weather rarely cooperates with our tenting dreams
I checked the weather. I SWEAR.
Every single time I go camping some sort of crazy weather ensues. Wind storm? Check. Hail and blizzard? Check and check. Extreme heat or cold, uncharacteristic for the time of year? YEP. Rain? HAHAHAHA OBVIOUSLY.
So off we go. The 3.5-hour drive ended up taking closer to 5. Just some light delays for several accidents, road construction, and of course, a massive rainstorm that limited visibility and led to seriously stressful driving conditions.
I might take this opportunity to also include the fact that we brought along Oreo, our seriously needy dog who suffers from high levels of anxiety. Like. Why does my husband ever trust my judgment at this point?
Setting up the Tent
So the 5 of us finally make it to our campsite, where we proceeded to spend far longer than necessary bickering over proper placement of the tent in relation to the picnic table, as well as other crucial things like who would unroll the sleeping bags. We are just so good at this camping thing.
Finally Enjoying some lovely mountain Views
We finally got the tent situation worked out and raced over to the scenic overlook to check out our mountain view. Only after a return trip to the tent to zip it up and protect our stuff from the looming rain. YAY SCENIC OVERLOOK.
It was beautiful. It did not disappoint. I can’t complain about the views and the beauty of the mountains one bit. Trying to enjoy that view while keeping my kids firmly anchored on the soil was a bit of a distraction, but hey! We’re here and we will enjoy this!
Finally some camping magic
After all the chaos of sightseeing in the rain and dinner was over, things settled down and I remembered why the heck I keep trying to make camping happen. We caught fireflies and made s’mores and it was just like the movies.
Rock City Trail
We woke up Saturday and went on a really cool hike through the forest, climbed a bunch of rocks, and exhausted Oreo completely. Coopers Rock State Forest has a trail that is aptly named Rock City, and it lived up to its name. The adventuring part of camping is really what I enjoy the most. I don’t know if I’m actually that fond of setting up camp and entertaining the kids in the rain, but exploring and hiking are pretty awesome. It’s hard to have one without the other though… I’ll just be over here dreaming about a fancy RV.
Leave No Trace
We also snuck in a mini hike to the creek behind the campground. It was threatening to storm, so we almost didn’t go, but the girls ended up playing in the creek and loving it. I also had the pleasure of packing out Olivia’s trail poo. Leave no trace and all…. ugh.
By Sunday everyone was exhausted and dirty, and ready to head home. Plus everything was damp and musty. Fun times when it rains all weekend! And yes, we hiked in the rain because what else are you going to do? Sit in a tent with two small energetic kids? ALL THE NOPE.
Why do I keep camping with my family?
I honestly could not even tell you why I keep going camping with my family. For some reason, I get amnesia about all the crap when I get excited about exploring a new place. I guess I keep doing it because the family bonding that happens when we are forced together without distractions is hopefully good for our kids in the long run.
It could also lead them into years of therapy. I’m rolling the dice I guess.
And somehow, no matter how crazy it is, the kids have a great time. They love the open space to run and play, they love getting dirty, and they love having us all to themselves for a couple of days. Maybe one day these camping trips will be the crazy stories they tell their friends in college. Like “CAN YOU BELIEVE MY PARENTS HAHAHAHA”
I am hoping that all these trips, no matter how disastrous, are memories that we make together. Because nothing bonds two siblings more than reminiscing about how ridiculous their childhood was.