I'm always looking for something new to do to break up the monotony of our school days. However, camping was not exactly what Earl would approve of as a family outing. He's really not the "camping" type (and truth be told . . . in my old age, I'm beginning to question the "fun" in it all myself). And yet, the first week of February, we found ourselves loading up our van AND the truck and heading out to Joshua Tree National Park to go camping with some friends from church. We knew it was going to be very cold (50’s during the day and into the 30’s at night), so we brought what we hoped would be warm enough clothes.
We had a hard time scavenging thermals and beanies for everyone, but God provided. We thought we could maybe get by without having to buy mittens for everyone, but I panicked at the last minute and we ended up stopping at a Walmart where we found them on sale: 2 pairs for $ .70!! God was so good . . . Emily and I almost ran out of the store shouting our good fortune to the others waiting in the vehicles!
It was another Miles Family Adventure begun . . .
This was the first real camping trip Jonathan could remember ever being on (he was about 1 year old on our last camping trip).
Needless to say, he was very excited!
David and Earl got us all set up with a little help. Our friends had picked out a good spot for us and we began making ourselves feel very at home (This is where Earl and I look at each other and say, “Right!”). There were about 8 other families besides ours camping with us from our church. Our kids were LOVING it!
The jumbo rocks (thus the name of the campground) were a natural playground for the kids and they found all kinds of “hide outs” and “forts”. So, after we set boundaries for them, off they went with their friends . . .
I tried to make our two days and two nights as simple as possible, by preparing as much food ahead of time as I could. The first night we warmed up homemade beef stew and tried to cook biscuits on a stick over the fire. It wasn’t perfect, but it was warm and tasted delicious. We kept the pot full of hot water for coffee and hot chocolate.
That first night, we thought we might try sleeping two of the kids in the back of the van, but decided to keep us all together in the tent. So, we slept side-by-side, all 7 of us in our tent, cozied down in sleeping bags and piled under and over with blankets and more blankets. We were definitely warm, but few of us slept (except for Jonathan and maybe Annie) as the wind was whipping the tent around and was very noisy and my arms kept going to sleep, etc. It felt as if I layed there ALL night awake . . .but I'm sure I dozed some. I thought of that verse in Psalms that talks about the watchman waiting for the dawn . . . when was it going to start getting light?? As I was laying there somewhere during the middle of the night, I thought, "Now THIS is why we come camping. Because it's FUN. This is fun, isn't it? How is this fun?"
Seriously though, parts of camping ARE fun, and we go because we want to make memories for our kids and give them experiences and toughen us all up and make us appreciate our warm beds and comfortable life.
On Friday, our first (and only) full day there, we all went on a hike together to find the “hall of horrors”. Not sure if any of us actually found it, but it was a beautiful day for a hike!
Some of us attempted to climb up and through some “tunnel”, but the rest of us took “the old lady route” that stayed on level ground. We made our own fun exploring.
More to come . . . .