1. Several people asked about the yurt we rented. This particular one was in a state park, and so it was ridiculously cheap: something like $40 a night. (At that price, you need to book it many months in advance.) It has wooden floors, electric outlets, and an overhead fan, and came with a table, shelves and — get this — eight sets of wooden bunk beds. This pic doesn’t capture the atmosphere, but it gives you a general idea of the structure: So the baby slept in her portacrib, and the other kids each had their own top bunk. We did bring a fan, which was a good call, but no other appliances. We kept perishable food in a cooler.
The sides and roof of the yurt are insulated canvas, with a wooden lattice frame holding them up, and there are screened windows and doors. The top is a domed skylight, which you can crank open with the use of a long pole. It is cool and airy, and completely gorgeous as the light changes, like living in a bower made by very intelligent birds. We were surrounded by pine trees, and the campsite had several picnic tables, in-ground and above-ground firepits and grills for cooking, and our own personal port-a-potty. There was a water spigot fifty yards away, and a dumpster down the road.
So it was perfect for our purposes: just inconvenient and outdoorsy enough to be entirely different from living at home or staying in a hotel, but with enough conveniences to make life bearable.
2. I don’t care what my husband says, that was definitely a bear. We also heard some owls making really lunatic noises. This is where I was especially happy to have more than a mere tent to get inside of.
3. My favorite part was actually the shelves. I absolutely hate rummaging through boxes to find things. Being able to put things in order — having a “medicine chest” shelf, a pantry shelf, a utensils shelf, etc. – made me feel sane. That and a laundry basket for all dirty clothes, and a clothesline for hanging wet stuff. And a garbage can, and lots of garbage bags.
4. Our favorite meal was “walking tacos.” I brought some cooked ground beef in disposable pie tins, which we heated up on the campfire. Each kid got two little bags of Doritos, to which we added the meat, shredded cheese, cherry tomatoes, and salsa. IT WAS SO GOOD. Possibly because we were starving by the time the meat was hot.
We also grilled corn on the cob. You just throw it right on the grill with the husk still on. Sweet, juicy, and fantastic.
We followed up this meal with a silly dessert: you take ice cream cones (sugar cones, with the pointed ends) and stuff them with peanut butter, banana slices, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows, wrap the whole thing in tin foil, and put it on the grill until the insides melt. It was a little too much work for the results, but the kids liked it.
5. For some reason, I thought it would be silly to bring forks and spoons. We’re camping, after all! So I brought one spoon, feeling fine and pioneerish.
Well, next time I’m bringing forks and spoons. And pot holders.
6. As I mentioned in the Register, the swimming hole was scary. The trails in the park were also pretty lousy — full of stinky bogs and felled trees, and very poorly marked and maintained. So instead of swimming or hiking, we ended up going back, over and over, to the waterfall spot I described. The kids will remember it forever.
7. And here are some more pictures!
Okay, that’s going to have to do! Check out Conversion Diary for all of this week’s other Seven Quick Takes.