Sunday, September 8, 2013

Camping - Hocking Hills

Our second camping trip this year and second time tent camping with the girls and dogs was a huge success! Apparently, our practice round earlier this year paid off. The tents went up easier, we were less stressed out about letting Chloe walk around a bit, and best of all it didn't rain! The weather was actually fantastic.
Here are our tents. The girls and the dogs shared the green tent (we figured Monty would protect them from any curious critters) and we had the red one. It wasn't nearly as romantic as I imagined... 

We left home Friday afternoon. Dave and Solana got home from work/school and we were gone within a couple hours. We arrived at the campsite around 6pm and it wasn't too long before we were ready for a fire. Here are the girls enjoying the fire with their milk.

 Here's Chloe's post-s'mores face.We can't let a single night go by without s'mores. I saw all kinds of camping dessert ideas online. Some fancy and some clever. We tried the banana boat dessert once. But you just can't beat a good 'ol s'more. I'm not sure I'll bother with any clever camping desserts again.
The girls were so excited to get into their tents! Chloe didn't sleep well, though, and woke up crying in the middle of the night with half her body off of her air mattress. I'm not sure but I think Bluebell might have knocked her off on purpose...

 Saturday arrived and we breakfasted on ham, egg, and cheese burritos by the fire. After a proper fueling-up for a day in the woods we headed out for our big hike. We hit the path for Cedar Caves - an easy 2.5mile hike on the trails. Chloe is using her binoculars.

Solana's ready to go!!! I love how the girls dress for camping. The mismatched outfits and knee-high socks are my kind of outfit! Practical and somehow still adorable.

We passed some amazing cliffs. Solana is not like me in many ways but one thing she did seem to inherit from me is her fear of heights. She was less than pleased as Dave stood at the ledge. And she nervously warned me to be careful as I picked my way slowly in a crouching position just close enough to say I looked over.

Crossing over a dam.

Dave pushed Chloe in the stroller most of the way but finally pooped out and handed her over to me. No sooner did I take the stroller than we rounded a corner to find an extremely steep downhill. I was sure I'd lose my footing and fall down. Had I done that the stroller would have gone careening down the hill with me dragging behind as the safety-wrist-strap connected me to the stroller. I had this vision very clearly as I started heading down and then promptly gave the stroller back to Dave. An avid trail runner, though, I was more than happy to trot down ahead, disregarding Dave's repeating requests for me to walk, and get a picture of Dave navigating both the stroller and Solana (see the walking cane he's holding for her) down the hill. Dad of the year, I say.

Chloe walked for a little while. But, as you can see, we were in an out of shadows. It makes it hard for someone with full vision to maneuver the light transition visually.  Between the light and the multitude of roots, rocks, and sticks in the path I forced her to hold hands. We were pretty slow-going so we only let her walk for a short while. 

By the time we got to the falls we had been hiking for (I estimate) 2.5 hours and were pretty tired. Dave decided to leave us with Bluebell and hike back with Monty to get the van. This sounded fine to me except for the fact that he wanted to leave us at the top of a terrifying staircase down to the falls. It was one-person wide with open rails on the side. Either Bluebell or Chloe could have easily fallen right out. Dave saw me paralyzed by fear as I attempted the decent and changed plans. Thank goodness because I would have had a heart attack trying to hold Bluebell's leash and Chloe. I was just sure Bluebell would give a good tug knocking me off balance and one, if not all, of us would go plummeting down the side of the cliff. Here we are safely at the bottom and walking around the "falls." Unfortunately there wasn't any water falling but it was still pretty. 
Then Dave left us and we ascended a more gradual (and less frightening) path to the top where we found a parking lot, picnic ground, and bathroom. We parked our tired butts at a picnic bench, ate leftover burritos, and snacked on trail mix as 

Dave and Monty hiked it 2.5 miles back to camp. 
Dave's boss and his wife, Dave and Dorothy Goe, rode their motorcycle out to meet us and arrived just as Dave picked up the girls and me. They also traveled with a couple other of Dave's colleagues. After a quick stop at our campground we headed out again to visit Old Man's Cave.
Again, the decent and climbs were a tad been dicey but it was so pretty there. 

Dave's boss, Dave Goe is on the left. Another colleague, Orville, is on the right.

 S'mores night 2

Bluebell love 

Final breakfast at the campground. 

Two pooped dogs.

 This is how I look when we're camping. I don't even pack makeup and I'm not ashamed of it. Girls, this is what your Mommy looks in real life. You might as well get me that way in pictures. I don't usually endorse pictures when I look like this but it seems approrpiate for camping...

More Bluebell love on the way home.


The Hillbergs said...

Dude - you look good camping! And I cannot believe you had to explain that you don't bring makeup to the camp ground... I mean, seriously?

Cyndi Hendrickson said...

Well, thanks! I was thinking that I look very different without eye liner but maybe that's just my vanity. ;-) Actually, we camp at State Parks and there are always bathroom facilities with showers, etc. You should see the ladies in there: makeup, blow dryers, curling irons, hair products, you name it. I feel like I'm cheating when I wash my hair!