We have decided that when we return from a trip... aka adventure, that we will collaboratively blog about our experience. My (Mary) interpretation of the trip will be seen here black ink, when Sam jumps in his words will be shown in green.
Our family outdoors is back from our trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park!
This little one night camping excursion was the perfect way for us to deep our feet into camping with 3 children (as this was our first time with all 3 in a tent) and it really left us longing for more camping.
Seeing that this was our first camping trip and it came about the same time as we decided to start Our Family Outdoors we kinda flew by the seat of out pants, the perfect test run. In the future we will be much more organized.
Not only was this our first time camping will all 3 kids, but this was our first visit to Lassen. It may not always be possible, but it is really helpful to go to a park with a short trip planned that way you are able to survey your surroundings, get acclimated, and being able to prepare for your next trip. This is an important point Mary made. In planning this trip I planned for a driving tour of most of the parks attractions via the main park road to really see what our evening and following day would look like. This was also a great way to show a lot of the park to the kids. "Look kids! Look at that big mountain!" "Hey Son, do you see that big rock? Could you climb that rock?"
Just before arriving at Lassen we swung into a rest stop in the town of Shingletown, just outside of the park. Even though we were really close to the park and could of made it the rest of the way, it was very smart of us (if I do say so myself) to stop. This allowed for all diapers to be changed, baby to be nursed, children to be fed, and for rest room breaks. So instead of entering the park needing to do all of the things, we were ready to simply enter the park and take in our surroundings.
Once we found our campsite, the kids explored the little bit of woods directly behind our campsite. I helped Sam unload the van, and Campbell helped Sam get the tent ready. Tent peg organizing is the best thing ever for a 3 year old child to be involved with! The easiest thing for getting the tent set up was for Sam to do it solo, without children scrambling around, so at this point I took the kids on a walk around the campground, and when we returned the tent was up!
After camp was up we jumped back into the van to do a little auto-touring of the park. Our first stop was over to the visitor center we where learned interesting facts about B.F. Loomis, who caught pictures of Lassen erupting in 1914.
Our auto-touring led us next to Devastated Area Interpretative Trail, which was a really simple loop that was stroller friendly. Throughout the loop were plaques that had were full of information telling the stories of the huge boulders that had been placed all over the area during the Lassen eruption.
We continued up to towards Lassen Trail Peak (about another 15 miles from Devastated Area) and enjoyed the beauty of the park around us. When we arrived at the trail head we got out and Campbell started to "climb" the mountain- he actually started getting pretty high (well high for a 3 year old) and Sam ran to get him.
A very nice park ranger named Russel was stationed up at the Trail Head (it was closed and he was there making sure people stayed off) who snapped a picture of all 5 of us (a rare thing, seeing one of us is usually behind the camera).
I was planning to climb Lassen Peak the following morning so we went to the trail head to plot out timing and some logistics of what to do with the kids while I was up there. It was closed due to a tragic accident. Please, as you embark on adventures, be safe.
Dinner was back at the campsite, and seeing that we arrived back about 7pm it was all the more wonderful that I had made our dinner the day before and all we needed to do was heat up our Tortilla Soup on the camp stove.
After dinner we cleaned the kids up (thanks to a zillion wipes), Sam made a fire, and we had animal crackers and hot chocolate around the fire (well Sam and I had Smores after the kids were down).
This was Campbell's first time in a sleeping bag- and he did FANTASTIC! No complaining, he just slid right in and went to sleep- although he slid throughout the night, often rolling half the distance of the tent- he would not stay on his sleeping pad.
Mason rises with the sun, but was happy enough to snuggle with Sam in the sleeping bag. The night did bring about some restless sleepers, but to watch Campbell and Mason dancing around in the tent in the morning, so excited to be camping, made any tiredness so worth it.
While camping we choose to keep our food quick and easy, but still yummy. Sam got us the greatest oatmeal from Starbucks, and Starbucks Via, which is really great instant coffee from Starbucks. Via will be hitting most markets this fall but it is available online. We fed and dressed the kids, and then headed out to our nature walk, which was led by a Ranger, a ranger named Angel- who was the spouse to the Ranger we had met the night before (this couple was too cute- and expecting twins,a boy and a girl, in November). We were told that the walk around Manzanita Lake wasn't stroller friendly, so against our better judgement we ditched it (however, we are really brave with our stroller and it could have handled this hike). Doing a Ranger led program was so much fun. We learned a little, saw a deer, and got to experience the beauty surrounding the lake.
We hiked back to our campsite, had a quick lunch and fed the kids. While they ate, Sam and I packed up our tent site, and got ready to head up to Bumpass Hell . The plan was to hike this together as a family, but little Mason fell asleep on the drive up. So I took a walk around (it was so beautiful up there) and Sam and Campbell started the trek. However, it wasn't stroller friendly, and our 3 year old's legs were a little tired, so this will be attempted next time. The hike to Bumpass Hell isn't incredibly difficult at all, Campbell would have made it just fine but we were attempting it a little later in the day and it would have been his usual resting time. He fell asleep in the car about 2 minutes after we got him back in the car.
That's right- next time! Leaving Lassen only solidified our desire to keep this blog and this dedication for being outdoors with our family. Sure there were some tough moments, but we were so excited to be together and outdoors that it surpassed anything else.
We will be posting more pictures of our camping trip, and starting a Flickr group for them. This trip taught as a lot about where we want to see our blog go, and stay tuned for a follow up post to this about what we have learned from this camping trip.
~ Sam and Mary