Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Finding Dry Shoes in a Camper When You’re Visiting a Land of Waterfalls

http://campingwithfivekids.blogspot.com
Okay, so maybe the children
still have some growing up to do,
like their mother.  Notice the “bunny ears.” 
“And the huge bear swatted at the earth,” I told the children one early spring night as we ate dinner, “as if scratching at tree bark to get at the insects underneath, catching New York in the west and leaving deep gouges that filled with his crystal clear tears when he found no bugs to eat.”

Nothing!  The children continued to chew their chicken and stare at me.  Finally our second daughter, the brainiac of the group, spoke up.

“Mom,” she began, “we’re not little kids anymore.” 

*Sniff!*  True, they were tweens and teens now.  The camper is getting cozier.

“Bears don’t live in space, so they can’t scratch the earth like that,” she continued.

“But,” I countered.

“Mom,” our son added, scratching at a mosquito bite.  “There are always bugs on the earth.  It’s their home”

“Yes, but…”  I liked this explanation of the Finger Lakes Region in New York State.

“They’re glacial-formed gorges gouged out of the rock,” my husband, the realist, told the children.  “With tremendous glens and waterfalls.  Would you like to see them?”

A round of “yeses” filled the room.  The direct approach seems better now.  My husband smiled at me and I stuck out my tongue.

Well…at least the children are growing up.  So is our laundry, by the way.  It grew tenfold this year, stinking up the little trailer.  We still use the old sea bag for laundry and throw it under the dining table as a foot rest. To discover one of our laundry experiences, please go here.

We traversed the trails at Watkins Glen State Park.  Lush green forests and ferns climb over thinly-sliced strata stacked in piles of charcoal and black, crying and dripping in front of us as we climbed to the top of the waterfalls. Gorge Trail is a manicured trail; perfect…except for the steps—over 800 of them!—rising more than 500 feet in a mile and a half.  We traipsed behind waterfalls, over waterfalls, and next to waterfalls.  We climbed into a cool cave, over stone bridges. 

From the narrow, ragged gorge of Watkins Glen to the towering Taughannock Falls, a steep-sided trough in a lighter shade of soft sedimentary rock, Finger LakesRegion is full of lakes, gorges, and waterfalls. 

Whenever you hike—especially with children as they like to run everywhere to show how much faster they are than you—wear sturdy closed shoes such as sneakers or hiking boots. 

Water sculpts and cuts the rock as if it were mere material for a Halloween costume.  It can even paint the rock a darker hue.  We marveled about the turquoise waters of this region and waded into frigid crystal clear streams at the base of waterfalls.    

By the time we returned to the cozy camper, we were happy to have dry shoes to change into as we prepared dinner.  The only problem was finding a matching pair.  I told the children to tie the extra pair of sturdy shoes together.  This way, we merely had to find individual sandals for pool and shower, not individual sneakers too.

But no, the sturdy shoes get nasty if you tie them together.  At least ours did.  They tripped us constantly in the trailer.  So we released them from their tethers and they wandered about the camper aimlessly.  Sometimes we’d kick them all under the other dining table during dinner, but they never stayed there long.  And whenever we went looking for the shoes, they went into hiding.  Sometimes it’s easier climbing mountains and steps than trying to find two matching shoes in a camper. 


            Do your shoes—or socks for that matter—have a mind of their own?