We’re just back from a very successful, very painless, very lovely couple of days camping at Devil’s Lake with the boy. It has been my intention since the first talk of offspring began to take said offspring camping early and often. Once we knew we’d have an early summer baby, it seemed perfect: just as the lake was getting to its optimal temperature, we would be getting into the parenting groove and feel confident enough to take the baby camping. When Ezra finally came and turned out to be a generally cool fellow, I scratched out a weekend in August for us to make good on our intent.
In the days leading up, I could tell Sarah was a little nervous. She’d say thing like “I’m a little nervous.” I’d say, “Don’t be nervous. What’s the worst that could go wrong?” Which, in retrospect, isn’t the best response. She’d give me a look and I’d have to stop her from answering. Nevertheless, she never let her anxieties seize control, instead opting to trust my confidence, or at least pretend to. Finally, on Sunday morning, we found ourselves filling up the Fit (emphasis on the filling) and heading up to Wisconsin.
The trip started out inauspiciously, with a heavy storm front moving through Baraboo just as we arrived. After hiding out at the local bookstore for a couple hours, we took advantage of a break in the storm to check in and set up our tent. Scene: Mom and Dad scurrying around campsite, furiously attempting to set up tent as downpour slowly builds and baby wails away in car seat. Intermission. Next scene: sky clears, fire is set, dinner is prepared, eaten, and is declared to be delicious.
Monday was spent mostly lakeside, swimming, reading, Scrabbling and making Ezra smile, which is getting easier and offering more hilarious results. He does this Stevie Wonder thing now where he opens his mouth in a huge grin and weaves his head back and forth as if to show everyone around how awesome life is. It’s hard to get any reading done when this is also an option. As is my mission, I also took him into the lake a little bit. The water’s still a little cold for him to be even partly submerged, so we’re settling for a light sprinkling on the back and head. He seems to enjoy it, or at least tolerate it.
We mixed it up in the middle with a short hike at Parfrey’s Glen, a stunningly beautiful gorge surrounded by walls of limestone. Ezra traveled in the Baby Bjorn the whole time, mostly snoozing. The hike is only about 1.5 miles to begin with, but ended up being less than that as the path into the deepest parts of the gorge were washed away in last year’s heavy rains. Still pretty, and still good exercise. It’s tough lugging around another fourteen pounds or so. I made the mistake of saying this out loud. “Now you know what it’s like to be pregnant!” she said. “Except you can’t take it off at the end of the hike.” Point taken.
We campfired another dinner Monday night and breakfast Tuesday morning, spent a good part of the day back at the lake, where it was even warmer and lovelier than the day before, then headed home. All in all, a wonderful time, and besides two minor emergencies — a slice to my finger, thanks to a ridiculously stupid bottle-opening technique, and a dead car battery that was jumped within three minutes thanks to the firefighter camping next door — not too much more stressful than home. Ezra seemed to love the new scene, rolling contently on his playmat at our campsite or just chilling in the park. We’re all back in our own beds again, but I can tell he’s already itching to go back. Just like his old man.
(More photos on flickr)