2013 Great American Backyard Campout…

Our 2013 Great American Backyard Campout was a success!

After setting up our big tent (which I’ve renamed “Monster”) in the afternoon, we went to a birthday party and then swimming at the Y.

Following dinner Joe, Nitro, and I went outside for the evening and made pretend bow and arrows, watched bats dive for bugs,  and chased a few lightning bugs around.  We also went for a walk down to the stop sign and back on what Joe dubbed the “Appalachian Trail”.    We did a thru-hike in case you were wondering.

On the trail, we talked about how we would fit everything (yep, everything) from our house into our backpacks, what we would eat, where we would sleep and how we might avoid bears (Joe decided the best way would be to become invisible), and of course, Que Horrifico from Scooby Doo.

After our .33 mile walk on the AT, we had some popsicles and hung out in the backyard looking at stars.  When it was time for bed, Mom, Joe, and I slept under the full moon, finally rising at about 8AM.   It was a quiet, peaceful night, with perfect camping temperatures.

Before breakfast, we started a small fire and made some coffee and hot chocolate, bringing our first Great American Backyard Campout to a close.  You can look at pictures from other campouts on their official Flickr page.  From the photos, it looks like there was alot of good times shared with families across the Nation on Saturday night.  Next year, we may try to organize a neighborhood campout.  We hope you’ll join us!

See you on the trail…

Monster the Tent

Monster the Tent and our fire ring…

A happy camper...

My happy camper.  “Dad, can we do this again tonight?”

Roughing it, instant Starbucks style

Roughing it, instant Starbucks style. That garage-sale torch is my new campfire-starting best friend…

Great American Backyard Campout – This Saturday!

Great American Backyard Campout

This Saturday, June 22, 2013 is the “Great American Backyard Campout” organized by the National Wildlife Federation.  The idea for the Campout is simple:  on Saturday (or another night that is better for you), pitch a tent in the backyard, or setup your ENOs, and sleep out under the stars with your kids.

Doing so gives you an opportunity to spend time doing something different together, unplugged from Kindles, TVs, laptops, iPhones, and all the other “screens” that now occupy the majority of our time these days.  According to the Campout website:

“The nature of childhood has changed. There’s not much nature in it. The American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades, taking a mental and physical toll on today’s kids. But you can help change this trend. Think how good you’ll feel giving your children the benefits of spending more time outdoors, providing them with memories to last a lifetime…”

You can register your participation in this event on the GABC website or, just pitch a tent and let the fun begin.  You can also visit the Backyard Campout Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

If you are a mom and have a teenage girl who isn’t into camping, here are some things you can do while the boys are roughing it:  13 Crafts for your Teen Girl from childpsychmom.com

Otherwise, I encourage you to join thousands of others in this fun and FREE initiative.  Your kids will thank you for it, and you’ll have a fun time too!

See you on the trail…

Backyard Campout

Last fall, Joe, Nitro and I spent an evening around our fire pit and in the new tent in our first backyard campout. We are looking forward to doing it again this weekend!

Parkin Archeological State Park, Oct. 2012 (or Happy Father’s Day 2013!)

I was talking with a friend the other day about how I have several blog posts I’ve been meaning to write, and realized that I’d better do it soon, before best intentions become forgotten ones.  The intent of my blog, after all, is to keep a record of camping and fun experiences with Joe, for Joe.  So for Father’s Day this year, I’m picking up where we left off –father, son, and dog- in Arkansas.

On the drive back from our trip to Village Creek State Park, Joe, Nitro, and I stopped by Parkin Archaeological State Park.  Parkin is located in northeast Arkansas, along the St. Francis River.  While they don’t have camping  there, they do have an informative museum and a short walking trail.

The park is located on what was once Sawdust Hill, a 20th century African-American community of timber and sawmill workers. As early as 1000 AD, it was a bustling Mississippian Native American village named Casqui, according to some archaeologists.  Proximity to the river made this space a valuable piece of land, once upon a time.  Today the Parkin site is on the National Register of Historic Places. [Read more...]