Saturday, May 23, 2009

Conner's Backpacking/Camping Trip

Bret and Conner went on a "real" camping trip last night. By "real" I mean not in our living room, not in our backyard, but in a state park. No electricity, no running water, no Mom a few feet away to run to the store to get some hot chocolate. Just Bret and Conner, and some friends -- Tod, Lucas, and Hunter. They went out to Dinosaur Valley State Park, and actually had to backpack through the woods for a little over a mile to get to the campsite.

This trip has been planned for awhile, and Conner has been so excited about it. He got to go with Bret to get a few camping supplies, he got to be in on the choice of destinations, he got to pick out some of his special food to take along, and he "helped" Bret pack his backpack (And by "helped," I mean that Bret packed and Conner sat next to him coloring in a coloring book, pretending to be interested.)

We also got on the DVSP website to check it out. They actually had a little booklet that you could download called "The Birds of Dinosaur Valley." Conner is kind of into birds. He has a "Bird Bible" (National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Birds) that he actually spends a lot of time looking at and reading sometimes. So we downloaded and printed the Bird Guide, and he went through and highlighted all of the birds that he was most likely to see -- the ones that are abundant or common in the spring or summer. (There was a little table telling you how likely you are to see each species during each season.) Then he went through his Bird Bible, learned how to use the index, and bookmarked each one of those birds. He was pretty excited.

So after they had backpacked to their campsite and gotten the tent set up, Conner pulled out his binoculars and started looking....and after all of that, he didn't see any birds. :( It was pretty cloudy, and a litte rainy...and honestly, I think he was having so much fun doing other stuff that he kind of forgot to look a lot of the time!

They got to go on several mini-hiking trips, where they just explored some of the trails and scenery. The Paluxy River runs through DVSP, and it's really kind of pretty.We were a little worried that one of the dinosaurs might find their tent while they were asleep -- but apparently "Off" sprayed on the tent works wonders!

There was a lot of just running around, playing, and just plain ol' having fun, too. (Maybe another reason that there were not many birds to be seen!)On one of the little hiking trips, they came upon a place that the river kind of made a little pool. And what else do a bunch of boys in the woods do when they come upon a still body of water, but skip rocks?!They did also go down to the track site and see the dinosaur tracks, but they didn't get any pictures of that this time.

...and then before they knew it, it was time to pack up and head home. I think that by the time it was all said and done, they had hiked for over five miles between 5pm Friday night and noon today. And Bret only carried Conner's backpack for the last few minutes. Conner was a real trooper. I just don't know when he got that big!

I really think that a good time was had by all. It sounds like it was one of those special things that you do with you kids that actually works like you want it to. I think they both really feel a little closer, like there may have been some real bonding going on. That's so good, because lots of times it seems like you go out of your way to do something fun with your kids, and instead the fun is sucked out by whining or fighting or bad attitudes. I know Bret had fun with just Conner...but I also know he is just itching inside for the day when he can take all three of the Wells brothers camping. (And so am I -- "me time" for Mommy!)


Heidi said...

I am so glad they had such a great time!

Lydia said...

Way to go Conner!

BooBoo said...

I am so proud of Bret (and for you) that he got such good pictures! Hooray for "best-laid plans of mice and men" that don't follow Murphy's rule!
Love, MOM