The weekend after Easter was absolutely BEAUTIFUL in Knoxville. And what is there to do on a beautiful spring weekend when you don’t have any other plans? Why you should load up the family and go camping!!!!
First, let’s start with a definition. Camping means different things to different people. For some, it’s loading up a backpack and walking down the trail until you start running out of daylight. Then pitch a small tent for the night before hiking on down the trail. This probably isn’t the best method if you are planning on taking a 5 month old with you.
As a matter of fact, if you are planning on taking a 5 month old, you probably should forget the whole tent idea anyway. Of course, anybody who knows us already knows that we gave up tent camping after the “bear incident”. We’ve even moved beyond the pop-up camper. Yes indeed – our version of camping is to load up the 28 foot rolling hotel. And our version of “roughing it” is cooking steaks on the grill while baking some potatoes in the microwave and some biscuits in the oven followed by a little dip of ice cream from the freezer. Yep – it’s rough…
So we loaded up the camper and head up to Norris Dam State Park – one of our favorite spots. We arrived, got the camper set up, fed Mike, and fed ourselves. By then, it was time for Mike to go to bed. He slept like a little angel is his pack-n-play.
Mike’s first night camping!
The next day, Mike woke up in his usual good mood…
Hey everybody! I’m camping!
The weather was absolutely fantastic. We fixed some scrambled eggs, biscuits, and sausage (yep – that’s roughing it!) and decided to work a little bit of that breakfast off by taking a stroll around the campground. And we decided that Mike, who has now demonstrated his ability to control his head and neck, could ride in the stroller seat (rather than in his car seat attached to the stroller). He later told us that he likes the new way MUCH better than the old way – he loves looking out at everything going by!
Dude! I can see out! This stroller thing might not be so bad after all…
Mom with all her babies – Izzy, Foxy, and Mike!
Camping is FUN!
After that, we came back to the campsite and relaxed a little. Mike took a little nap, got to spend some time on Dad’s lap and got to spend some time on Mom’s lap too! All while looking out at the blooming red-buds and budding trees.
Me and my mommy!
Now – just because we don’t hike in to our campsite, doesn’t mean that we don’t like to take little hikes! No indeed! And as it turns out, there is a short little trail that loops around the top of Andrews Ridge that we thought would be perfect to take Mike on. We’ve been on it enough that I believe the dogs know it by heart. So dad loaded up Mike in his carrier (would you call it a “front pack”?), gathered up mom and the dogs and headed to the trailhead.
Dad and Mike – ready for the hike!
The Andrews Ridge trailhead – one of our favorites!
The dogs already know the way…
This is a short little trail, only about 2 miles. And it’s nice and wide, smooth, not rough terrain and reasonably flat (especially for East Tennessee). We started of down the trail and Mike would swing his head from one side to the other watching all of the scenery. He even looked up to see a couple of hawks gliding above. Then, about half way down the trail, we noticed that he wasn’t looking around any more. He had fallen asleep!
Mike says, “Boy, this hiking is HARD work”!
After we got back to camp (and Mike finished his nap), we had some supper and hung out. Mike was just beginning to wonder what was next when his dad began piling up some wood. He told Mike, “it just isn’t camping if you don’t have a campfire”. And Mike loved it! He set out with mom, dad, and the dogs until he fell asleep.
Mike and dad sitting by the campfire.
This fire is great – but I’m ready for bed!
Our last day was a little less eventful. We spent the morning enjoying the beautiful weather before packing up our stuff head heading back home. It was a fantastic weekend and Mike has told us that he can’t wait to do it again!
“Man! I can get used to this!!!”
“Bye everybody! I hope you can come visit and go camping with me soon!”