Saturday, August 18, 2012

Willow's First Backpacking Trip

In early August, I took Willow on her first backpacking trip. I had rented a rustic cabin in the Porkies wayyy back in like, January. The past few years, I had always wanted to do that, but I'd think of it in the spring, and when I would go to reserve one, they'd all be booked. So this year I remembered to do it far enough in advance. The original plan was to bring Sharon and Andy, and/or Amy and Biz, my best college friends. But then Biz got a new job that didn't give much time off, and Sharon ended up being too pregnant to go, ha. Also, Josh was reluctant to ask for more time off since he just started a new job. So I turned it into a girls trip. Emily came along with her little cousin, Dannika. Us four hiked in on Friday morning.

Here we are at the trail head.

It was a 4-mile hike in, which I thought would be do-able with a 3-year-old. I was sort of right. On the way in, Willow probably walked for 3 of those miles, but had to be carried the rest of the way. At one point, Emily and Dannika were so far ahead of us, I actually set my pack down on the side of the trail, grabbed Willow and booked it to catch up to them. Then I watched the girls and Emily ran back and retrieved my pack. Thanks Em!

Our first night was fun. The weather forecast had looked pretty ominous, so we were relieved when it only rained a bit during the night on Friday. We stayed in the "Lake Superior 4-Bunk" cabin. It was right on the Lake, near the mouth of the Big Carp River. The water was warm, and we laid on the beach and went swimming. The girls has fun. That night, we had quesadillas for dinner, and then we made a fire and had s'mores for dessert. Willow wasn't a fan of the s'mores but was happy to just eat marshmallows.

Here she is sporting her very own headlamp.

We slept good on the bunks - that is, after we finally got every last crumb hidden away. Until we did that, a mouse kept us (at least, me) awake by crinkling wrappers and scurrying around.

Saturday morning was eventful in that Willow decided to regress in her potty-training skills and pee her pants, and then about an hour later, poop her pants as well. I only brought three pairs of pants for her, and two were now unusable. It is not fun to have that happen when there is no washing machine. Oh well.

Beth and Amanda hiked in to join us on Saturday afternoon. We all went on a day hike to a waterfall. It was such a beautiful hike. I love the Porkies with all of its huge trees. You feel like you're in a magical forest or something. Willow was carried most of the way on this hike, which was OK since we didn't have our packs. She fell asleep at one point, even.

Beth helped too.

I had to include this photo.

Here's Dannika by a huge rock that had its own ecosystem right on it.

The actual big waterfall that we hiked to (I think it was called the "Shining Cloud Falls") didn't really have much of a vantage point, and I guess I didn't even take a photo of it. But we were hiking along the river and there were many smaller pools and waterfalls along the way. We stopped in one area where the girls were entertained for quite awhile by taking sticks and throwing them in the river, then watching them go over the little waterfall and collect in the small pool below. We dipped our hot feet in the water.

Dannika was cute; she carried around her "bug barn" the whole trip, and collected bugs, dragonflies, and toads. We also showed her how to identify spearmint, which she then became an avid collector of. I think she even brought a bunch of it home. She wanted to show her grandpa. She was really a good camper and we were glad to have her along.

Although we were facing west over the lake, we didn't have great sunsets. The cloud cover was just the wrong way. This is the best we got. Still not bad, I guess.

Sunday morning, the wind was whipping. We went down to the beach briefly and checked out the crashing waves.

That was sort of a hard morning. Willow woke up whiny. We ended up having to carry her the entire 4 miles out. The technique for this was, pack on the back, baby carrier on the front. Thank you to Beth for carrying her probably half the way. We were really dragging. In retrospect, I think Willow was a little sick or something. She hardly ate that day, and then the next day at home, she complained of tummyaches, and then puked.

Overall, it was a great trip, and completely worth any minor hardships we had to endure. :) I can't wait to go again next year!

In other news, we found out that Willow did get a full-time slot at Little Huskies, starting after Labor Day. We're excited but sad about losing Linda. I don't really want to think about it, yet. I still have a few more weeks to avoid that.

I mentioned potty-training. Yes, I think we're finally there, despite the accidents while backpacking. There are still accidents here and there, but she wears undies every day, and Little Huskies sent home her diaper stash; I guess they decided she didn't need them anymore. Finally!!!

Here is Willow proudly showing off an art project she made out at camp with Grandma Judy.

And here she is at the Hidden Acres farm. We signed up for a raw milk share, mostly for Willow. Raw milk is really good for the gut. But before we signed on, we went out and took a tour of the farm. They have 9 cows. It was pretty cool to meet the actual cows that our milk would be coming from!