October 2008

"Roughing It"

Author: Jason Burt

As many of you may know or know of our chief editor, Maggie Washo; you may not know that this has been her birthday month, as she likes to put it. After many gatherings she had decided that her last B-Day hurrah for the month would be a weekend camping trip with the family and staff to Huntington Island. As an avid outdoorsman, or at least I was in the days when I had time to be, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get Bella and the family out into nature. As you may remember Bella loves her brief run-ins with the outdoors. She loves her walks around the neighborhood and through the near by trails, she loves to go fishing, loves watching football outside at Reilly’s South end; basically she loves a change of pace from the usual confines of our house and daycare.
This weekend trip into the woods however was definitely a stretch from her normal excursions from the house. We would be putting her outdoorsman spirit to the test!

Many of you who are reading are probably thinking this first time father is showing his novice fathering traits by even thinking about taking a three month old into the woods. Mind you this is not your normal roughing it in the woods trip, not for us at least. I have been through Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, and the ever so beautiful Appalachian Trail with nothing but my backpack, tent, hammock, sleeping bag, stove, and whatever other few things that I could strap to my back. So what I am about to tell you is a little out of the norm for me (hopefully my longtime adventurous partner Altice will not be offended). On the day of our departure Becca and I filled her Yukon to the brim, complete with a blow up mattress, a two-room tent, two coolers full of…well everything, a second tent to hold our accessories, Bella’s pack and play, her stroller, a lamp so that we could see at night to fill her bottles, obviously her monitors and there are a good twenty or so random things I am leaving out. Besides the things that we brought Becca and Maggie’s sister came equipped with a camper in case the weather took a turn for the worst we would be able to put Bella in there for the night.

We arrived at Huntington Island set up camp, or in our case outpost, and waited to see how Bella would react to the new environment. For the first few hours everything went smoothly. She enjoyed her walks around the State park & watching the other ten or so people set up camp, she even like watching everyone interact around the warming campfire. When it was time for bed however, she was not so happy. Wearing extra clothing and sporting a heaver blanket than usual, on top of all the new sounds that go creek in the middle of the night, she did not want to have anything to do with it. For her, her camping experience was now not so comfortable. Not comfortable for her or the campers in the surrounding campsites, like the closest twenty. No matter the comforting acts Becca tried, that have worked on countless other occasions, Bella just cried out. After the first hour of on-and-off outbreaks Bella was finally able to retire for the night.

Day two- Once 6:00am rolled around the new day had dawned and Bella was ready for her breakfast, as were we all. We made Bella’s bottle and fired up the grill for a community breakfast. From this point on I feel like the day was 48hrs long as opposed to the normal 24-hour day. Luckily we had family and friends who were happy to step in during her spouts of crankiness. During the day we took several walks around the park and to the beach, but Bella seemed to be in fast forward mode never wanting to be still. We were constantly on the go finding new things to do to keep little baby Bella occupied, as long as we did this she couldn’t be happier. So that’s what we did. As the afternoon sun began to set and dusk arrived we all ate our dinners and laid Bella down around 7:30pm with fingers crossed. At this point I think she begun to get the hang of camping and all the noises that came with it. With a full stomach and a warm bed she slumbered as if she were back home waking only twice through the night.

Like everyday the morning sun rose and it was check out day, unlike usual, however, I was excited to pack up the car and head home. We packed in lighting speed and headed back to our lovely island. I do however feel that Bella was just getting into the swing of things but if I were to give advice to a first time daddy as I sometimes do; I would say hold off on the camping trip for at least about a year!

  1. I definately don’t hold it against you bro. You’ve got to ease them in to these things; right? I’m glad you’re getting her ready for our future expeditions. I hope you know I’m going to spoil my niece rotten when we get back.

    — Altice    Oct 30, 05:48 pm   

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