Last week my eleven year-old and I went camping by ourselves. This was a somewhat spontaneous decision prompted by Dad and Owen’s heading to Europe.
To review, this is Europe (Westminster Abbey, London. Pop. 8.136 million)
This is Camping. (Heaton Bay Campground Spot 64. Pop. 2)
We were lucky enough to find camping spots both nights, though we did have to pack everything up between and move to the other side of the lake.
Three things I learned while I was camping this weekend:
A younger child loves to be alone with her parent. There was no one to tell her how she was doing anything wrong. Without any hovering siblings who could “do it better,” she made 394 trips to the car to haul gear, learned how to set up the tent, made several of her own meals, built our fire independently, and did much of the clean up.
Hobo packets work best when you bring pre-cooked potatoes from home. Also, a cooler full of condiments covers a variety of sins.
Eleven is the perfect age to go camping alone with your mom. Eleven is big enough to work hard but young enough not to mind the lack of Wi-Fi. Eleven can pack her own backpack and follow directions about how far from the tent she has to be to spit her toothpaste, but still be excited to beat her mom at every game we brought.
Two nights and three days was long enough to be ready to go home to our own beds and cats and cellos, but long enough to feel like we were away.
What’s your most essential camping condiment? (Phoebe’s is dry BBQ rub. Mine was milk & sugar for my tea.)