Mother’s Day weekend 2018 was spent camping in the wilds of North Carolina – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
You’re probably familiar with the concept of behavioral “nudges” – I’ve talked about them before. From The Tech-Wise Family: “Nudges are small changes in the environments around us that make it easier for us to make the choices we want to make… Nudges don’t generally make us do anything, but they make certain choices easier and more likely. They don’t focus so much on changing anything about our own preferences and ability to choose well; they simply put the best choice right in front of us and make the wrong choice harder.”
We camp because it is one BIG nudge moving us to toward some of the things we care most deeply about: spending time with friends, disconnecting from technology, engaging in good conversation, moving our bodies, and soaking our kids (and ourselves!) in nature. No weekend of pampering could have been better! Plus, John brought sparkling cider and plastic champagne coupes to toast the mamas, so we really couldn’t have asked for more :)
Our sixth annual camping trip with the Rays was full of all of these things and more. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to take a peek!
This year, we chose South Mountain State Park as our destination. It was voted the 2017 State Park of the Year in North Carolina, and I can see why! The campsites (there are only a handful) are heavily-wooded and perched next to a gorgeous mountain river which provided the loveliest background murmur. We did find the sites a little smaller than we are used to, but the pristine bathroom facilities made up for that! :)
We reserved two side-by-side sites, and Milly and June greatly enjoyed running back and forth between them on the little path cut through the trees :)
We often explore beyond the park on these trips for a hike or meal, but Connelly is pretty remote and so this time we stayed put — which was not at all a hardship, because one of the highlights of South Mountain is the hiking trails!
Our big hike Saturday morning was to High Shoals Falls (the River Trail to the Hemlock Nature Trail to the High Shoals Falls Loop Trail, turning around at the falls, for anyone who’s looking to recreate!). It was SO beautifully done, with platforms and bridges cutting right through the cascading waterfall!
We also logged some quality time in the river back at our campsite, where the main entertainment was getting the daddies to fetch rocks from the river bottom for Milly and June to throw into the river. (My job was to make sure the girls didn’t fall in headfirst while doing so.)
I’ve shared some of my best camping tips before, but I know the idea of camping with toddlers and babies (or even just camping at all!) can still seem intimidating. I will readily admit that it requires a certain amount of gear and preparation to be a smooth and enjoyable experience, but I feel equally passionately that it is worth every minute and every dollar. What a gift for our two families to look back on all of these experiences together, knowing we made time for the things that matter most to us!
Now just imagine two more kiddos in the picture next year… it will be a whole new level of adventure :)
P.S. We’ve already decided that our fifteenth annual trip will be a joint family vacation to Yosemite – any ideas for our tenth adventure a little closer to home? We’ve only got four years to plan, ha!
P.P.S. Nancy’s take on our trip – she took the best of these photos, too!