Sometimes Camping is Hard
I’m not going to lie. We are far from the perfect campers. Our first night this trip was rough. Ticks. A mad bee in our shelter. A sudden hard rain that came out of nowhere and caught us all by surprise, with our tent windows open. Grumpy kids and parents. Mosquito bites. Skinned knees. So many walks to the bathroom. So many.
And sometimes, it’s amazing. Listening to Adelaide tell story after story with her story dice. Watching Hudson make piles and piles of broken twigs for the campfire. Listening to Josephine squeal with glee watching everyone. Watching Eleanore tend the campfire safely. Even when the firewood is soggy and the campfire refuses to light, it’s worth it.
We camped at Cedar Point Campground in the Croatan National Forest (close to Emerald Isle, North Carolina), and stayed at campsite 22.
Friday we woke up to storms and rain. It got really windy quickly when Jason had taken the big kids to the bathroom, and when a small branch hit our shelter, I jumped in the truck with Josephine for a bit. Later we saw that there were a lot of downed branches across the campground. Storms and dropping branches (or trees!) are the scariest part of tent camping. It looked like rain for the day, so we headed out for some sightseeing by car.
We ended up at the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and actually got in free, except for Hudson, because we home school! Hudson isn’t school age, so we had to pay for him. The aquarium was nice- a little small but all the exhibits looked clean and well maintained. Adelaide and Eleanore loved touching the rays and horseshoe crabs.
The weather cleared up later that afternoon, so we stopped at a public beach for a walk nearby. The waves were pretty high because of the storms, and we got to see numerous puffer fish and cannonball jellyfish washed up on the shore. We stayed out of the water due to all the jellyfish. They were really cool to see, but I wouldn’t want to feel one!
Saturday’s weather was gorgeous. Cool and crisp, but still sunny. The *perfect* camping weather! We drove over to Beaufort after fixing a nice breakfast, planning to take the ferry from there to Shackleford Banks, an island known for its wild horses. However, when we got to Beaufort we discovered the ferry was only running from further away Morehead City that day. Heading out of Beaufort, we followed the coast a bit and on the nearby islands, what did we see, but wild horses!
The ferry from Moorehead City leaves from the Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor Center, a National Park, so we got to stamp our National Park passport book- I love that little book, and took some time remembering all the places we have gotten it stamped as I flipped through it. We almost have the Southeast Region completely filled with stamps.
Cape Lookout has an amazing lighthouse with the checkerboard pattern the Outer Banks is known for. It hadn’t opened for the season yet, but you can still stop at that island to check it out via the ferry.
The ferry to Shackleford Banks dumps you out right on the sandy shore- no dock! That was a bit of a surprise, and we took our shoes off so we wouldn’t get wet jumping off in a few inches of water. You can even backpack camp there- there were quite a few tents set up and people with all their gear. It may have given us a little spark of inspiration to give it a try in the future. We saw their packs, and Jason and I started talking about how the girls were big enough to carry some gear on their backs.
It was very windy on the island, and we walked down the shore picking up shells for about an hour and ate our packed lunch on the beach. The island is so beautiful, but the wind blowing sand into us was a little painful for the kids in shorts- wear pants!
It started to rain, so we picked up the ferry a little earlier than we’d planned. We didn’t manage to walk among the wild horses, but we did see them as we left! The ferry stopped at the Cape Lookout lighthouse before heading back, so we got a closer look from the ferry but we didn’t stop to explore. We headed back to our campsite for some fantastic spaghetti- it’s so amazing how satisfying cooking and eating outdoors is after a day of exploring. The kids had a blast making shadow puppets in the tent after dinner and then Eleanore read from Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone before bedtime.
As is usually the case, the last night we felt like we had settled into our camping groove, and we were all a little sad to pack up camp the next morning.
It wasn't a PERFECT trip, and we aren't perfect campers, but it was a wonderful one. Next week, I'm going to cover the topic of how you can survive a trip where everything seems to go wrong.
This post is from Lisa's personal blog post from May 2017, but we knew it was worth sharing with you. We hope you enjoyed this blast from our adventuring past.
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