As the days of really warm weather come to an end, we are trying to take advantage of every minute where we can be outside comfortably…without shivering or having to bundle up until all we can see are our noses!
This past weekend, Steve and I took the kids to Hocking Hills State Park for an overnight campout.
The last time we talked about camping out was 2 years ago this time when I was 8 months pregnant with Tyler. The thought of sleeping on the ground, even on an air mattress, and stumbling in and out of a tent with a giant belly just didn’t seem like a lot of fun. So I refused. Politely. (If that’s possible to do when 8 months pregnant!)
This was our first time camping with all the kids…and what fun we had!!! And not only was it a blast, it was so wonderful to completely disconnect and enjoy nature and our time together as a family.
After checking into our campsite and getting the tent setup, we set off on a hike to a waterfall nearby. As we were walking along the gorge, I heard a loud screech.
I looked up, shrieked and starting running the other direction, scooping the older two boys (who were walking right behind me) with me…running for cover.
A barn owl…who just so happened to be carrying a squirrel it just caught…and whose tail was still wriggling and writhing…was flying RIGHT TOWARDS ME.
As I shrieked, it flew up to a branch right over us. I thought it was going to drop the squirrel right on my head. AAAHHH!!!
(For those of you who are new around here, you should go back and read about my fear of something getting caught in my hair. It will make you giggle. And help you understand why my heart skipped 7 beats upon seeing this owl and squirrel flying right at me.)
The owl sat on the branch right above up long enough for Steve to run over and snap a shot.
You can see the tail of the squirrel hanging below the branch. Whoooo.
After I finished shrieking and came out of my hiding place, the boys had all sorts of questions about why their mommy was behaving neurotically…but we managed to turn the conversation in a more scientific direction and talked about food chains, etc.
Of course the one that stumped us…”But mommy, I thought owls were nocturnal. Why is that owl awake right now?!”
Still got nothing for that one.
So after watching another barn owl appear…and then the 2 of them fly away…we pressed on to the waterfall.
What a handsome bunch!
We headed back to the campsite to get dinner started…on the menu…hobos and smores!
The boys were so proud of the fire they helped Steve build…and they got a kick out of the fact that we were actually cooking our food on the fire. Novel concept for them!
Hobos – Thinly sliced potatoes, green peppers, carrots, red and yellow onion…olive oil drizzled over top and garlic and onion seasoning…with a little salt and pepper. Simple, yet so tasty!
In the morning, we all dawned our hoodies and braved the 50 degree temps. On the menu for breakfast…
Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Sausage Patties…with some apple slices and Clementine oranges.
While I was skeptical to let Tyler near the bowl of batter, he was very serious and did a fantastic job of stirring the chocolate chips around. I was (and still am) shocked that he didn’t reach into the batter to try to eat one…and that he didn’t tip the bowl over to see if gravity was still working!
We cooked the pancakes on a Coleman stovetop that we got for our wedding. (Because these are the kinds of things that end up on your wedding registry when you are marrying an eagle scout and outdoorsman!)
Now, I’m so grateful for this stove…and that we got to have a warm and tasty breakfast.
Ryan did a great job helping with the sausage.
(Closely supervised, of course!)
And now, little brother’s turn to dish out the sausages.
After breakfast we did some more hiking, then headed back to Dayton. It was so wonderful to get away and spend quality time together as a family…I very much look forward to our next camping adventures! (I just hope they don’t involve an owl flying right at me carrying a still live squirrel!)