2nd McLean Family Camping Trip

2nd McLean Family Camping Trip

We made it!  Coming into the weekend I was a bit skeptical, mainly due to the weather forecast.  But we crossed our fingers, stopped checking the radar, and headed out.  Luckily for us the weather was PERFECT, and we had an absolute blast.  I’m going to share some highlights (and a massive photo dump) below. Enjoy!  Recap of our first camping trip.

Once we got settled into camp on Friday (and got the tent and everything setup) we all headed out to explore the area.  We camped at this same state park last October, but this was a different campground.  Reagan found a walking stick first thing 

We were amazed at how empty the park was for the Friday before Memorial Day.  But we weren’t complaining.  We were basically the only ones on this huge grassy area right next to the lake.  And you can see the pure joy and excitement on the kids’ faces.

Catching baby tadpoles.  There were thousands in this little area, and the kids really had a blast trying to catch them.  Reagan also isn’t afraid to hold anything – braver than me!

Sand!  The overcast skies made for some great pics.  And the kids had so much fun running up and down this sandy area.

For some reason the kids thought the tent was their own personal play area.  Nathan was less than enthused – he feels like the tent is for sleeping and that’s it. But the kids couldn’t help themselves with all the camping pads, sleeping bags, pillows, and stuffed animals.

Smores happened every night, and this kid is starting to get the hang of roasting marshmallows.  Reagan on the other hand is happy to just eat the components without all the sticky mess.  Although we had to cut her off Friday night after she consumed an undetermined amount of marshmallows.

Friday after dinner we decided to try out the canoe.  The kids had never done this before, but Nathan had high hopes.  The verdict – they loved it!  It was definitely a bit dicey in the beginning just getting the hang of NOT capsizing (I had zero intention of taking a swim!)  But once everyone felt more comfortable it was more relaxing.  The only issue was the wind – paddling back to shore was quite the workout.

These two.  Their bond has become really strong (especially considering she wanted nothing to do with him for the past 3 years).  It’s been really fun watching their relationship become so strong.  I have a feeling I’m about to be replaced as her favorite person…

This was probably right before bed Friday night (and after consuming way too many marshmallows).

Saturday morning the kids were up WAY too early (like 5:15am).  Reagan stayed in the tent with Nathan and they went back to sleep, but this boy was READY to explore!  So we headed down to the lake to enjoy the solitude.

Burrito night!  I have a whole post dedicated to food prep for the camping trip, but we all really enjoyed this dinner (and Nathan enjoyed the fact that there were no dishes to do).  Win win!

Checking out the map to see what activities we wanted to do and areas we wanted to explore.  Nathan is determined to make them good map readers – I on the other hand could get lost pretty much anywhere…

Breakfast at camp before heading out for our adventures.  I think food tastes so much better when eaten outside, especially when there is no cooking involved. These were breakfast sandwiches I made before we left.  They were definitely a hit!

Daddy and son checking out the lake (and scoping out the perfect fishing spot).  This was the activity Graham was most excited about before we left.

The weather was perfect for camping, but seemed a bit chilly for the first weekend of “summer.”  Luckily we packed lots of layers.  And Reagan insisted she wear a hat just like Mommy.

Because we were all up so early on Saturday, we managed to fit an entire day’s worth of activity into the morning.  Here we are heading out on our first hike of the trip.  The kids found these branches with pine needles on them and declared that they were “sweeping” the trail.

This girl.  I can’t even handle the cuteness that is tiny girl’s hiking boots.  And this is her “fishing shirt” my mom sent her from Florida.  She decided it would be good luck to help her catch her first fish (spoiler alert: she was right!)

Checking out the wildlife from this observation station.  We didn’t see anything, but I would assume it’s because the kids were less than quiet walking up to it. The local fisherman LOVED how excited (read: loud) they were about the trip…

Getting the fishing rods set up.  Reagan was VERY interested in the tackle box (and managed to hook herself and spill the tackle).  But they both want to be right there in the mix no matter what we are doing.  Teach ’em young!

This kid would be more than happy to fish all day long.  Although Nathan had to explain to him that it’s called “fishing” and not “catching.”  He didn’t catch a fish but had so much fun trying.  Nathan is hoping to take him more this summer.

First time fishing (and way too excited about it).  Notice the pink princess fishing rod.  Whatever it takes!

“Can I reel it in, Daddy?”  “Do you see any fish out there, Daddy?”  “Can I bait the worm, Daddy?”  Notice the tongue hanging out…

Success!  Can you spot the fish?  It’s teeny tiny, but that didn’t matter to this girl!

Nathan was pretty proud of this setup.  Next time we will add bikes to the mix.  I have a feeling this trailer Nathan is lobbying for is going to quickly become a reality…

Back to the canoe.  We explored a bunch of small inlets and saw a turtle, lots of birds, and tons of lilly pads.

Graham getting instruction on how to paddle.  He did really well, and Nathan is now scheming youth-size kayaks for their birthdays.  We both LOVE that he loves the water as much as we do.  

Back at camp, helping Daddy do dishes.  Luckily Nathan is a pro at camping, and knows “the drill” for all of these things.  And the kids are at great ages to want to help us do everything.  Amazing how camping turns the most mundane tasks into fun events!

This boy was in his glory all weekend!  Put him outside in nature and he’s a happy camper (no pun intended).  He was in tears the moment we started pulling away from camp on Sunday night.  He said he was missing it already…

Watching the sun go down over the lake.  It never ceases to amaze me that this pure serenity exists just an hour and a half from home.

The second night in the tent went better than the first, probably because they were exhausted from Saturday.  Everyone slept until 7am, and we all felt much more rested on Sunday.  

Getting all “geared up” for our hike on Sunday.  Reagan is trying out her Camelbak (which was too big but she enjoyed drinking out of the hose) and Graham is trying out the binoculars they had for loan at the park office.

We need to get her one that actually fits.  These things are great to encourage lots of water intake out on the trail.  Note the “Elsa braid” she requested that morning.

All suited up and ready to hit the trail.  This was his longest hike ever, and it was quite technical with all the rocks.  But he was super excited and proud of himself when we finished.

Sister bear decided to forego hiking and instead rode in the backpack.  She also slept for about an hour of the hike.  It was quite peaceful 

Checking out something they found along the trail (I can’t remember what it was, but by the look on Graham’s face it must have been quite fascinating).

Tired boy on the way home.  Note his “fishing shirt.”

This little miss was exhausted as well.  Notice the bobber she is clutching in her hand.  I can only assume she was dreaming of fishing…

So that’s a wrap!  Sorry about photo dump overload, but I took so many cute pictures this trip.  I think I might try and build a small photo book online with all the pictures, so they can remember the trip.  I have tons I didn’t share on here, lots of scenery pictures of just how beautiful this area is.  We are planning on going back over Columbus weekend, and already have our campsite picked out.  We’re going to reserve early this time.

How was everyone’s Memorial Day weekend?  Any fun adventures?  And just like that, let summer begin!


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I'm Taryn. Welcome to my blog! I'm a runner, hiker, and fitness enthusiast working every day to model these behaviors for my 2 young children. I have a passion for preparing delicious and healthy food for my family. Keep reading to see how we define our version of a healthy family.

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8 thoughts on “2nd McLean Family Camping Trip

    1. Thanks, Opa! There really is nothing like experiencing life through a child’s eyes. And introducing them to things you love so much.

  1. What an awesome experience! It’s just being outdoors that makes them happy. . . . the simple things too. I was watching the weather for you too! I’m glad you didn’t let the forecast keep you home. The photos are really good — sharp and clear. Were they taken with your iphone? I like your idea of making an album then I get to see all the photos! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks, Grandma! We are firm believers in these types of experiences over crowded theme parks and such. Hopefully they will grow up with fond memories of these trips.

      Yes, iPhone photos for the win! I did a little photo editing on the phone, but nothing crazy. And Nathan was disappointed I didn’t incorporate any of the pics he took – he said it didn’t look like I was even there!

  2. We always loved ⛺️. However, we quickly moved up to a trailer, then fifth wheel, then a 40′ motor home, and finally our 45′ Mountainaire tag axle. We met so many wonderful people along our numerous journeys, many of whom we still see. 🤗🤗

    1. Camping really is the best, although I stand firm on needing access to a hot shower. I will sleep in a tent, but I need SOME creature comforts. Although I feel like as we get older we may “graduate” to a camper or hotel…

    1. Thanks! They were delicious 🙂

      The tent is Marmot brand, purchased from REI. It held up well, but a bit tight for 4 people. We are slowly collecting “car camping” gear for our family 🙂

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