To help set the premise for this post (and most likely for the many to follow in the same topic area…) it will be beneficial to mention Rob’s undergraduate degree was in Parks and Recreation with a minor in Outdoor Education. Yep, you can major in such a thing and he actually received grades and college credit for taking backpacking and hiking trips! Rob loves the outdoors and he chose that degree because his desire was to go into full-time camp ministry. And for that matter, he did pursue that type of role during our 3rd and 4th years in marriage when we were on staff with Young Life. We worked first at Wilderness Ranch and then at Snow Wolf Lodge which were both geared for taking kids on long backpacking trips out in the beauty and majesty of the Colorado mountains. But that season of life was short-lived and our current situation is very far removed from the day-in/day-out camping scene. Yet Rob’s heart for the outdoors is still beating strong and he would love to foster in our girls that same fondness for enjoying God’s creation and sleeping under the stars.
Knowing that we wanted to slowly ease our girls into an appreciation of the outdoors and to acquaint them to the idea of camping in a positive way, we decided to rent a trailer for their first wilderness adventure (you can see that story here). And because that trip (from a year ago) was quite the success, we thought the next step to transform them into little hiker/backpackers want-to-bes should involve sleeping in tents. And so that is what we did. Two weekends ago, we headed out to a campground in Canyon Lake, TX along the Guadalupe River , it was a good place to try out as it was well kept and maintained. But there were also lots of rental cottages there and places for RV hook-ups and lots of power lines all in near proximity, so the rural and remote charm we were hoping for wasn’t part of this experience. But we did appreciate the nearby bathrooms! And the covered picnic tables that were scattered about the property ended up proving themselves to be a welcomed amenity when the rain came the next morning.
Our friends Mike and Megan Roberts came along too and we had a great time hanging out with them. And thanks to Halle, we also ended up spending some of our evening and morning with a father/daughter duo that were staying in an RV right next to our site. She couldn’t resist going over to the little girl who was watching us set up camp and introduce herself. The father later told us how entertained he was by all Halle’s conversation topics she covered in the first couple minutes of their encounter. He recapped her dialogue with how she started off with ‘do you know about Jesus?’ and then when he said ‘yes’ (probably not in the way Halle was hoping for) she then moved on to mentioning some of her mom’s restrictions on eating (probably including the no hydrogented oil or high fructose corn syrup rules) and then relayed a brief synopsis for many of her extended family members. Needless to say, he probably had quite a few conclusions about our family before he actually came over and met us personally himself.
We will definitely do this again and again. But while the kids are young (and too small to carry their own 50lb packs) we will most likely stick to car-camping and further hold off on Rob’s true wish to escape with us all into the back country donning only a backpack with just the essentials for survival. Someday Rob, someday…
These are old backpacking picks and will give you an idea of what Rob ultimately would love to have the girls experience.