On a Friday afternoon in June, we drove up the Poudre Canyon, through Roosevelt National Forest, to State Forest State Park. Chris and I had learned a little late this year that people start reserving camping spots in Colorado as early as January, so there were slimmer pickings when he went to reserve spots for us in early May, but this spot turned out to be a great find. The weather was so perfect that we didn’t put the rainfly on our tent, which means we were able to literally sleep under the stars. We had a gorgeous view in a relatively quiet campground (aside from the first night when one of our neighbors accidentally set off their car alarm), and we were close to some amazing hikes. In fact, I’m not sure we could have asked for anything better than this tent spot overlooking a mountain reservoir for our first real camping trip.
After this first trip, I’m completely sold on camping. Aside from some mosquito bites and a little bit of drama over the girls’ first experience with pit toilets, everyone did wonderfully. The whole time we were there, all I could think was how grateful I felt to be able to spend an entire weekend focused just on one another, exploring nature without the intrusion of phones, computers, schedules or even clocks. We followed the rhythm of our bodies and the world around us. We woke with the sun cuddled deep into sleeping bags, the firmness of the ground beneath us, deep breaths of crisp mountain air calling us to great the day. Basic but satisfying meals were cooked on a two burner gas stove, and the few dishes were quickly washed and stowed away before hanging dish towels to try over tree limbs. In the mornings, we climbed mountains, following (and sometimes crossing) icy snow-melt streams to fawn over wild flowers and to discover hidden lakes and boulders to climb. In the heat of midday, we lay on our sleeping bags watching the girls find joy in rocks, leaves, flowers, and dirt. Then, we took lazy naps all tangled together before heading out to explore in a different direction, finally returning back to our campsite for warm food and storytelling in front of the fire.
It was all so simple and peaceful.
Getting to experience this trip gave Chris and me a lot to think about and discuss. What sort of childhood we want Nora and Zara to have? What experiences do we want to give them? The gears started turning three weeks ago on the side of a mountain; in the time since we have started to define a goal and timeline for our new vision for the future. This week we’ll head out on our second camping trip of the summer and we have two more planned after that. After State Forest State park, the bar is certainly set high.