Our family on one of the many slides of Linville Gorge.
If you ask my kids what they want to do for their birthday, it is usually “go camping!” I have a 13, 9, & 6 year old and I know it will not last too much longer but right now are those special years. Fortunately I have yet to have the camping experience that ruins it for them. Yes we have had bitter cold, lots of rain, miserable heat, and even a close call stepping on a very big poisonous snake…. but fingers crossed we have had the gear, been prepared, and the trips have been awesome enough to keep them asking for more.
We are so lucky to live in the DC area and have so many incredible outdoor areas to visit. My kids love Dolly Sods and if I’m willing to drive Linville Gorge; but if I don’t want to travel that far I have to look no farther than the Appalachian Trail and Potomac River.
Just an hour’s drive from here to Myersville, I can get on the AT and hike up to Annapolis Rocks. From there I have an amazing view with huge cliffs. So many easy climbs for kids to play on, and if I were someone who couldn’t set up climbs ~ just bring a bouldering pad! Camping is awesome and they love getting water from the Natural Spring and although fires are not permitted, I always bring my BioLite camp stove and the little twiggy fire I need to boil the water s enough to roast marshmallows and set the mood.
If I am feeling absolutely lazy, the Potomac River and the multitudes of islands make canoe camping easy and fun ~ especially in the summer when the only way to cool off is in the water. I know access to a big canoe might be difficult; but everyone seems to have one in the backyard. You don’t have to worry about what not to bring because you aren’t carrying it!
I’ve also learned one other very important thing…. make sure your spouse is comfortable! Extra thick sleeping pad, warm sleeping bag, camp chair, you name it and I’m spending what I have to in order to guarantee comfort.
As a parent it is getting harder and harder to create time disconnected from technology, it is one of my new years resolutions to keep trying and creating more time outdoors.