Camp Savta 2014 – Day 3

Lost River Gorge in Woodstock, New Hampshire is a family favorite – – we took our own children here when they were small, so it’s a great feeling to be able to take the next generation.   It is pricey – –  $14 per child and $18 per adult – – and worth every penny. (For more extensive photos, you can see pictures from a past visit to Lost River here.)

Located in a deep gorge, there are intricate  staircases and over 1000 steps leading down, up and out of the gorge.  The stairs are architectural wonders in and of themselves.

Some of the grandkids climbing one of the staircases in the gorge.

Some of the grandkids climbing one of the staircases in the gorge.

A beautiful view of the gorge.  My daughter and her youngest child are at the top, on the bridge.

A beautiful view of the gorge. My daughter and her youngest child are at the top, on the bridge.

Besides the rushing water and waterfalls and weird rock formations and glacial boulders, there are a series of caves that are fun and exciting to climb around in.  (Note that strollers are not allowed, so if you aren’t prepared to carry your baby in your arms or in a backpack carrier, wait until they can walk on their own.)

Posing in front of a cave.  The kids were so excited they kept running ahead to explore the caves.  I could barely catch up to them to take a picture.

Posing in front of a cave. The kids were so excited they kept running ahead to explore the caves. I could barely catch up to them to take a picture.

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Heads peeking out

Heads peeking out

The Lemon Squeezer cave is the favorite due to its narrow opening.  Once you squeeze into the opening, you must crawl around on your stomach to get through to the exit.  Fatties need not apply.

The Lemon Squeezer cave is the favorite due to its narrow opening. Once you squeeze inside, you need to crawl on your stomach to reach the exit. Fatties (such as myself) need not apply.

At the gift store tourist concession (where the bathrooms are located) at Lost River Gorge, two of my grandkids cuddle up to a "bear."   It didn't help when a few of my grandkids glanced at the merchandise and declared in loud voices, "These prices are a RIPOFF!"  (they were right!)

At the gift store concession (where the bathrooms are located) at Lost River Gorge, two of my grandkids cuddle up to a “bear.” It didn’t help when a few of my grandkids glanced at the merchandise and declared in loud voices, “These prices are a RIPOFF!” ( They got a few dirty looks from the employees, but they were right!)

 

 

 

After a quick dinner back at home, I took my 3 granddaughters, ages 5, 7, and 8, on their first-ever camping trip 3 miles from my house, to a primitive site in the White Mountain National Forest.  The four oldest grandsons had a Boys Night Out with my husband the previous night, and now it was the girls’ turn.  We had set up the tent 2 days beforehand.

We had set up the tent a few days before the actual camp-out.

We had set up the tent a few days before the actual camp-out.

It was a magnificent spot on the edge of a stream that had two waterfalls and a natural swimming hole.

It was a magnificent spot on the edge of a stream that had two waterfalls and a natural swimming hole.

They were VERY nervous.

My granddaughter was fine with the idea of sleeping in the dark, as long as she had her blankie friend to provide an extra dose of courage.

My granddaughter was fine with the idea of sleeping in the dark, as long as she had her blankie friend to provide an extra dose of courage.

Little kids are normally scared of the dark, and in the Maine woods it gets very dark indeed.  Also, there are many strange sounds that they’d never heard before, from bullfrogs to barred owls to the occasional howl of coyotes.  It didn’t help that when we arrived at dusk, we had barely settled in when we heard a loud “BOOM!” – – a single gunshot about 1/2 mile up the road:  we are smack in the middle of bear-hunting season.  It also didn’t help that their mothers were not exactly fans of the camping experience, and made no bones about saying so (the ground is hard, the bathrooms non existent, and lots of bugs).

But I told them that we would all be sleeping together in one tent, and each person would have her own flashlight.  I also assured them that if they had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, they should wake me and we’d go outside together.  I was confident we wouldn’t be harassed by bears since bears really aren’t interested in people  – – just the food associated with people. We had eaten dinner at home and brought no food nor snacks along, and we’d return home first thing the next morning before breakfast. I figured it would be an uneventful night.

Once the girls got over their nervousness, they were happy and excited by the prospect of sleeping in sleeping bags in a tent, and for the next 20 minutes they chatted and giggled happily before finally falling asleep around 9 pm.

having fun and being silly

having fun and being silly

finally!

finally!

About 11 pm I was awakened by a feeling of claustrophobia, heat, and difficulty breathing.  A quick check revealed that two of the sleeping girls had rolled on top of me during the night.  I eased myself away from them and moved to the extreme opposite side of the tent.  But every hour, I’d awake to find yet another body part resting on top of me at all sorts of weird angles.  It didn’t matter where I settled – – the girls gravitated towards me in their sleep.  It was going to be a long night for me!  But I was happy they were sleeping soundly, and the next morning, despite my own cranky exhaustion, they woke up with huge smiles on their faces.

After I moved to the other side of the tent, the two sisters gravitated towards one another - in their sleep!

After I moved to the other side of the tent, the two sisters gravitated towards one another – in their sleep!

They absolutely LOVED camping!  It brought me great joy that I was able to share this experience with them, and create some wonderful, positive memories.

Upon awakening, it was a bit chilly.

Upon awakening, it was a bit chilly.

P.S. Although I own a small, lightweight backpacking tent that I love, when camping with my grandkids I used a larger, heavier tent with an “anteroom” to stow our stuff, and a large open room with a high ceiling for sleeping.   There are definitely better (and much more expensive) tents out there, but it’s perfect for fair-weather camping for newbies.   It’s made by Coleman and I got it for $60 on sale at Costco – – a true bargain.  

http://www.costco.com/Coleman%C2%AE-Evanston%E2%84%A2-Screened-4-person-Tent.product.100116995.html

 

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