Cape Lookout Campout in May

Last week, the 1st-3rd grade classes at Ella’s school did a field trip campout at Cape Lookout as a wrap-up to their habitat study. Michelle and I went as chaperones and Maddie tagged along as well. The campout was just an overnight trip, so we tacked on a couple extra days and stayed through the weekend. Best choice ever.

The school part was a lot of fun. As chaotic as you’d expect 30-ish 6-8 year olds to be, but fun. There was a scavenger hunt, lots of activity time, beach time, a boat sailing event (they made boats in class), and a lot of exploring. The kids seem to have had a blast, and Ella was particularly bummed when it was bedtime on Thursday night. A large group of students had devised a forest fort, set up guard posts, and worked to fend of other groups, spies (me), and do catch & release with prisoners (including me). But eventually, that group had to go home.

Which left us in a beautifully sunny, nearly empty campsite. The girls and I made several rounds about the campsite, peaking in to yurts, climbing nurse logs and stumps, and hitting things with sticks. Then, with no fanfare at all, Madeline started riding a bike without any training wheels. Once she got going, there was no stopping her. At first, she needed help getting started, but after a good half-dozen loops, Ella showed her how to start herself. The riding went on and on.

Then, our friends Eric, Erin and Remi arrived from Portland (beating back traffic and construction), just in time to see the sunset. We had a lovely fiesta meal and enjoyed some s’mores and beers by the fire before the kids needed to crash. The next morning, we headed to the beach after some pancakes and spent several hours in the sand. Digging, cross-word puzzling, and daring each other in to the cold Pacific. We returned later that evening to build a fire on the beach and make dinner over the fire. It was spectacular and no one got burned.

All told, it was a fantastic weekend. The coast was gorgeous (70-80F) and sunny with very little wind. We stopped by Tillamook and got some ice cream for the ride home. More camping to come.

Ella’s first camping trip

Back in April, we scrapped a camping trip with my parents because it was 50F and raining. We thought it would make for a miserable first camping trip for Ella to be stuck in the volkswagen for two days. So, after aligning all our schedules (Hilary’s too) we picked this weekend. My parents, Ella and Barley went over to Nehalem Bay State Park on Friday morning, and Michelle, Hilary and I met up with them after work.

3 minutes after we arrived, Ella vomited twice. She’d woken up with a cough that morning, but was fine until around 4pm, when she started to slow down. She perked up a little after some tylenol, so we stayed the night, and it went fairly well considering. She didn’t vomit again, but woke up 3 separate times with the saddest, most haunting vibrato crying I’ve ever heard. But after 3 interruptions, we all fell back to sleep for about 4-5 hours.

The day was quite nice, though overcast and cool. We had a great breakfast then rode our bikes in to Manzanita for coffee and more children’s tylenol. The town has changed quite a bit since our first visit in 2002, but it’s still a charming place. After returning to camp, we ate lunch and goofed around a bit while Ella got a much needed nap. We tried some kite flying, reading, and relaxing.

The campground is about 1.5 miles south of town and is really pretty swank. We happened to be there at the same time as a Winnebago View/Itasca Navion Rally, so there was this erie twilight zone feeling because all the campers there were the same. Nice folk though, and they were quiet, so there were really no complaints.

After Ella’s nap, her coughing had gotten worse, and our prospects for a rougher night convinced us to head home after dinner. I know sounds like all we did was eat, but that’s a pretty important part of camping, isn’t it?

Having a physician for a father has it’s benefits, so we knew that it was in fact croup that she was afflicted with and how to deal with it. She sounded pretty rough for most of the weekend, and it was clear that she was in pain when coughing at times. Luckily, the tylenol and ibuprofen allowed her to enjoy herself and she would go from being morose and in pain to her busy self in cycles throughout the day.

Despite the illness, camping again seems promising. She was kind of confused by the whole sleeping bag thing, but we’ll get it down. I didn’t take any pictures because my camera was in Michelle’s purse, and I kept forgetting to retrieve it. Luckily, my mom, dad, and sister all had their cameras.