If you've read my previous blog post, "Photographing a Camping Adventure: Toddlers & Nature", then you'll have a little clue about where this post is going...
Family adventures are, in my opinion, an important part of growing up. These adventures can really be anything that gives the family an opportunity to explore new places, see new things, simply spend quality time together, and make lasting memories.
For my family, camping isn't an every month thing, but it's a something that we all enjoy doing. For me and the wife, it's a chance to get outside, enjoy nature, and relax away from the hubbub of normal everyday life. For our son, it's a chance to explore nature and get as dirty as possible doing it; it's also a chance for us to spend time with him, bending our bed time rules, and imparting important life lessons.
This past weekend we took the opportunity go camping again before the weather and temperature in the nearby mountains and valleys starts to turn uncomfortable. We choose a campground not to far from us, about an hour and a half away, a place called Oak Grove Campground which is right off of State Route 79 and between Warner Springs and Temecula, CA.
Oak Grove Campground is small, but well maintained campground which sits just off SR 79, and most of the sites have some shade and are well wooded. At this time of year, nearing the end of camping season the campground was probably about 3/4 full with the majority being a couple large groups and a large group of Boy Scouts on the other side of the campground. Despite the number of folks, the campground itself remained quiet and peaceful.
Almost immediately after arriving at the campground our son was out exploring and playing with his trucks and construction vehicles in the dirt; not surprising at all. When it came time to put up the tent, he was all about helping - handing out tent pegs and unfolding the tent, and trying very hard to get the tent pegs in by himself. What a great helper!!
Not surprisingly that after the tent was up, he was back to playing in the dirt.
After dinner we settled in to enjoy the sunset and our peaceful surroundings with the sight, sound, and smell of the campfire wrapping around us. Our son by this point had finished channeling his inner Pigpen and decided to relax and enjoy the fire as well, albeit in his own way...
For me the true magic and special moment came when our son really took notice of the night sky. I had been taking photos as the sun set, managing to catch the sliver of the moon as it set chasing the sun down behind the mountains, and we talked briefly about how and why the moon was setting so early. We talked about the stars, and my wife pointed out Orion's belt and conveyed the story of how that was cluster of stars she learned to identify from her dad. We watched the Milky Way as it wheeled across the sky and talked about what it was and why it was so aptly named. We talked about shooting stars and meteors, and what they were. And I even quoted an old nursery rhyme I remembered; you probably know which one I'm talking about...
"Star light, Star bright, First star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight"
To me, this was the most memorable part of our camping adventure. Spending time together as a family, telling stories about our childhood, and making memories together to tell as stories later.
I'm sure as our son gets older and our family adventures continue, there will be more times around a campfire, more memories shared, and more memories made, and I look forward to each of them and whatever they may entail.
What family adventures do you embark on? What memories are you sharing? And what kind of family memories are you making now that you'll look fondly back on later?
I'd love to hear about them! Leave a comment here if you want, or feel free to connect with me on social media!
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