Confidence and Camping

September 18, 2022

Chloe had her first camping trip this past weekend with my dad, her grandpa, or “Grampy” as he is known around these parts. Grampy and I were excited to get out in the woods for Chloe’s first camping experience, but Grampy had some reservations. I planned a risky trip for Chloe’s first outing – not necessarily on purpose. The plan was a 1.5-mile hike to the campsite along the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, camp for the night, and hike out the next day. Admittedly, a 1.5-mile hike in and out might have been asking a lot of a three-year-old, but I was confident Chloe could handle it. On top of that, the weather report called for significant rain that night and morning. Grampy thought we might call it off, with particular concern for the rainy and muddy walk back to the car the next day. But I was confident Chloe could handle it.

And handle it she did! The only gripe Chloe had was, surprisingly, on the hike in to the campsite. She stopped a few times to say “this is a good spot to put the tent, Dad,” pointing at her feet on the very narrow trail at what was clearly not a camp site. She had a snack and some water, and we were back to walking. We arrived at the camp site, walking over a short wooden bridge over the nearby stream as the Birch Run shelter came into view. Chloe helped set up the tent, gather water, and start a fire for pre-dinner smores. After dinner (boil-in-bag alfredo with chicken), we cleaned up camp, went potty in the woods, brushed teeth, and hung up our food bags on the nearby bear pole. Then off to bed. We were tucked into our two-person sleeping bag by 8, with Grampy in his hammock-tent nearby.

The rain started around 10pm and became a downright downpour through most of the night. The sound of the rain on the tent woke Chloe up a few times, but rather than being scared we turned on a flashlight and watched the drops race down the sides of the tent as a game. Par for the course – Chloe could handle it. We made breakfast and broke down camp in the rain, with Chloe in her rain boots and jacket. The rain didn’t bother her one bit. And the muddy rainy hike back to the car went quicker than the previous day as Grampy pointed out new fungi that sprouted overnight in the heavy rain. Back to the car by 10 am, smiles all around.

Chloe’s first camping trip was a huge success. She hiked three miles total, and did everything one does at camp (with no screens!) in the rain no less, with a huge smile on her face. Chloe proved she can rise to the occasion, and that she is not to be underestimated. After all, toddlers are people, too.

¡Bienvenidos! स्वागत छ! Welcome!Movie Night at Connor’s!