On June 24th God blessed us with our second child, a sweet little girl. Fast forward a couple months and while we so enjoyed the extra time at home with our son Nolan and little Molly, we were getting itchy for a vacation. While we were happy to have a summer baby, to avoid the need to bundle her so much, summer camping was still on our minds.


Baby Molly with Dad

So with little preparation required, aside from packing an excessive amount of diapers and burp rags, we set out with our trailer for a trial run at camping with a 2-month old. We chose to take a day trip at a local pond only 10 minutes from home. Far enough to feel like a vacation, close enough to abort if things went south with a potentially fussy newborn. With Molly still having frequent night awakenings, we weren’t ready to take the plunge at an overnight trip quite yet, so a day trip was just what the doctor ordered. Hanson Ponds near Cle Elum, WA is a popular place to be in the summer, but going on a weekday meant we had the whole place nearly to ourselves. We parked our trailer in one of the access spaces to the pond, broadsiding the truck and trailer to provide additional privacy as well as safe boundaries for our 2 ½ year old son.


Hanson Ponds Campsite

Within minutes we had created our own little camping oasis. We spread out our outdoor blanket for baby play, sand toys and trucks, and lounge chairs. While Molly napped, Nolan and I had fun exploring the beach with shovels and buckets. And when I introduced the idea of throwing rocks in the water, Nolan thought that was so fun. We put his pool floatie on for extra precaution, but he was great about not going too close to the water as he threw rocks one after another.


Enjoying a Little Rock Throwing

Meanwhile my husband, Brad, took a few minutes with a trash bag and extension grabbers to clean up our campsite. The area wasn’t exceptionally trashy, but sadly, as with any public area there’s a potential for litter. With an exploratory toddler, picking up at the start of a trip has taken on an additional level of importance.

After cleaning up, Brad brought out his metal detector to enjoy exploring too. When Nolan saw buttons and heard beeping, he was quickly intrigued and had fun being “Daddy’s special helper” as he helped dig for “treasure”. This was such a special experience as metal detecting with his own dad was something Brad enjoyed while growing up. Every time a tradition like this is carried on to our son, I know there’s a twinkle in Brad’s eye. Someday soon Molly will join in too, but for now we’re taking in all the baby smiles we can.


Metal Detecting Fun

Once Molly woke up from her nap in her car seat, we moved into the trailer to change her diaper – always so thankful to travel with our trailer for plenty of soap and water during these diaper days. Then we got her fed and enjoyed playtime by the pond on the outdoor blanket. The view of the water and trees along with the joyful sounds of our little ones playing put me in Mommy heaven. I was so thankful to be in such a state of peace, which let’s be real, is scarce during the sleep deprived newborn stage.


Peaceful Setting

After plenty of play time we were all ready to go in the trailer for lunch. So nice not to have to live out of coolers and to have plenty of space to store food for our hungry, growing boy.


Enjoying Lunch in the Trailer

After lunch we got Nolan ready for nap and then enjoyed some time relaxing and taking in the scenery while Molly played. When she was ready for another nap we laid her down in her rock ‘n play, a travel cradle, which tucks in right next to our bed. A perfect fit and so compact to travel with.


Molly in Her Rock N Play Travel Cradle, Fits Perfect Right Next to Our Bed

With both kids in bed at the same time (a rarity not to be taken for granted), Brad enjoyed more time metal detecting and I spent time reading a book and enjoying the peace. Once Molly woke up she was thankfully content to sit on my lap while I finished the last few pages.

So far everything had gone off without a hitch and we had our picture-perfect camping trip. Right? Suddenly the peace of nap time was cut short when we discovered that our son, who never actually fell asleep, decided to spend the time in his crib reaching through the rails and turning the heat on for the thermostat. With the trailer climbing 80 degrees and Nolan’s quiet time interrupted as we went back to turn off the thermostat, nap time was aborted. (Look for an article on baby proofing the crib area and trailer in the near future #babies). Though the afternoon relax time was brief, we still enjoyed our time. While we tended to the kids, a gentle pitter patter on the roof soon turned in to a down pour of rain. After playing in the trailer with the kids, Brad loaded up all our gear before it got too wet. We were thankful for our camping experience but decided it was time to head home.

We were glad we left when we did, because as we pulled up the driveway it began to hail. In August! We could barely get under cover before the hail began to downpour more than I’ve ever seen in Washington. While it’s obviously not ideal for camping, hail has always been one of my favorites. We stayed in our truck bundled up from the sudden onset of cold weather and protected from the massive amounts of hail. What fun to watch! Nolan was fascinated by a new type of weather he’d never seen before.


Hail in August!

When it finally stopped, we rushed the kids inside to get warm and we heated up some hot chocolate. Not the most peaceful or relaxing trip we could have asked for, but hey, with a 2- year old and 2-month old I call that pretty good. So glad we got a camping trip on the books, even if it was a trial run. We’ll always remember our trial by hail! Happy camping to you. No matter the season of life, no matter the weather. God Bless!

Emily Helgeson
Author: Emily Helgeson
Emily Helgeson lives with her husband and two children in Eastern Washington. They enjoy adventuring together and are learning how to use their RV to continue this lifestyle with their growing family.

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