We've been wanting to do a camping trip for a while now, but it wasn't until some friends from school mentioned the camper cabins that some State Parks offer that we felt truly 'comfortable' with bringing our little guy along. Between the fact that our kids go to bed between 5:30 and 6:30 most nights and the weather-related unknowns that surround a camping adventure, we were overjoyed to find a (mostly) sound-proof, wind-proof and rain-proof option that allowed us to have quite a bit of space to spread out in. I reserved this weekend in the camper cabin at Beaver Creek Valley State Park back in March-- hoping that the glowing reviews of the privacy of the campsites, the tremendous hiking and the fun trout/splashing stream would pay off. They did!
It took about four hours to get from our house to the State Park, which is located in the Driftless Region. It's a part of the midwest that avoided being run over by glaciers, but did not avoid the glacial run-off, making for stunning bluffs, valleys, streams and deep ravines-- all surrounded by fertile farmland. Which is why I want to retire to a little self-sustaning cottage here someday. But I digress...
The Beaver Creek winds through the park, actually cutting across the road a few times-- it made for high adventure to drive through a stream for a four year old and a one year old!
We invited Uncle Willy and Tikva to join us from Iowa and, although doggies are not allowed in the cabin, they had a very nice campsite just a jaunt down the path. I spent a LOT of time organizing our gear and menu planning for a healthy and yummy weekend of outdoor cooking. Dinner Friday night was baked sweet potatoes, grilled chicken and red peppers. Alex showed everyone how to make her banana boats for a sweet treat after dinner.
The first night we pretty much threw our normal bedtime out the window. After making a poor attempt at snuggling Justin in for the night (who were we kidding? too much going on!) we gave in and let both kids stay up until the fireflies came out and the fire died down and everyone went to sleep at the same time.