We’ve been talking about going camping as a family, but I kept thinking of it in terms of how you might talk about doing, say, an Ironman. You know: someday. In a hypothetical future when I have the ability to endure inhuman amounts of pain. Certainly not anytime soon. Maybe when both children are fifteen. Or thirty. Maybe they’ll have their own trailer when they’re thirty.

The weather’s been stunning lately, though, and when the weekend forecast predicted more sunshine and warm temperatures we decided what the hell, let’s give this thing a shot. Worst case scenario, we turn around and drive home, right?

A lesson I keep having to re-learn over and over is that the things I am most intimidated by almost always turn out to be the most rewarding. Yes, it’s true that taking a two-year-old and a 5-year-old camping isn’t necessarily what you would call a relaxing experience, but it was pretty amazing. We hiked and explored and the boys played in the water and got spectacularly dirty and we ate campfire-blackened hotdogs for dinner and it was so summery and wonderful.

Dylan did much better than I thought he would in a lot of ways. We had to watch him around the campsite to make sure he wasn’t doing anything too blatantly dangerous, but for the most part he entertained himself really well. We put a Pack N’ Play in the tent and he was fine with that, lying in there happily singing and talking to Riley before conking out for his nap and bedtime. We even had to wake him up around 10 PM when we got in the tent to change his diaper and he just lay there and chirped “What the—?” once before falling back asleep.

He did throw a fairly epic tantrum in the late afternoon which involved him 1) falling on the gravel camp road loop and scraping his elbow, 2) getting up and being so infuriated by the pain that he ran screaming at full speed down the road before—naturally—falling again, 3) running angrily and bloodily into someone else’s camp in order to whale on their tent, causing the nearby family to stop en masse during their dinner and stare at us, forks paused halfway to their mouths, and 4) having to be carried back to our camp shrieking like a firebell where we stashed him in the truck until he could calm down.

Oh, and also he woke up at dawn and shattered the perfect calm silence of a sleeping campground with his angry howls about god knows what. So our exit was a bit on the rushed side, to be sure.

But really, I’d say the outing was at least 85% fantastic, which is a pretty damned good weekend percentage.

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