What do you love about camping?
Margot: Getting to go wherever we want. Like, when we know a place really well so we know the cool spots to check out and you and dad let us go alone. I love the fresh air and connecting with nature. I love to climb trees, swim in lakes, swing in the hammock with my sister. I love waking up in the tent in the morning and smelling the fresh air.
Ruby: Our hammock, waking up in the tent, campfires, s’mores, being with our family in the woods, playing with rocks by the lake. Floating in the river with friends, discovering frogs. I love making stuff out of things I find in nature. It’s so quiet. I love sitting on your lap and driving on dirt roads to campsites because that is so cool!
What about when we go to a new place?
Margot: You get to explore and it’s fun because you can usually find a little hideout so when you don’t want to leave your parents have to come find you.
Tell me about a camping adventure you loved?
Margot: I loved that site that we found by the river that night when you and daddy didn’t know where we would camp. We drove around and found that spot with a sandy beach and little river for Ruby and me to play in. And there was an awesome tree fort.
Ruby: The Little House trip two years ago. Pretty much all of that. And, the lake we went to last weekend. I love all the places we camp because they’re so fun. You really love to camp, mama.
What do you think I love about camping?
Margot: Everything! You love swimming in cold water, you love the outdoors and you love spending time with our family.
Ruby: Yes, all of that!
What’s your favorite dinner to eat when camping?
Ruby: Dal with tofu and rice. And s’mores!
Margot: Ramen noodles with vegetables. And s’mores! And hot dogs are sometimes awesome too.
Do you have a favorite piece of camping gear?
Ruby: My bug light. Giraffey. Hammock.
So if you could only bring five things – not including the essential gear – what would they be?
Ruby: Giraffey, my journal and a pencil, froggy pillow, a couple books and Mabel.
Here’s a little photo love story about Giraffey:
Do you have any advice or tips about camping?
Ruby: Don’t be scared because if you are scared, it will be scary. There’s nothing to be afraid of because every now and then you might see a bear but I’ve only ever seen a bear once camping and I go all the time. It’s pretty unlikely. And even if you do see a bear, chances are they won’t care about you because they’re just being bears! Go to different camp sites so it isn’t boring. If it’s really beautiful out in the night, do not use your rain fly so you can look up at the stars.
Margot: Yeah, you should always bring bear spray. But don’t ever use it if you just see a bear. It’s just good to have. Always bring a few cards games like Crazy 8 and Spot It. Always bring a bathing suit because if there’s a lake or creek near by, I suggest you go swimming. Even if it’s cold. And always bring a winter hat. And a few pairs of shorts, a few sweaters, a few short sleeves, a few pairs of long pants and a rain jacket.
What’s the wildest camping story you have?
Ruby: In the desert in Utah. My flip flops floated down the canyon in the middle of the night because there was a flash flood while we were sleeping. My mom and dad didn’t sleep. There were big puddles of water and it wrecked the beautiful couches we made out of rocks. Everything was wet! Then the next day we went on a hike and we went to a canyon that had an 8 foot drop and I was really afraid to go down there! It actually ended up being really fun (slash scary).
Margot: That time we went bike camping with our friends and there was a bear between Max and me and you, Kara, Graden and Ruby! We didn’t see the bear and Kara said, “Max! Margot! There’s a bear right there!” but we didn’t hear her because we were biking fast and laughing. But you guys were yelling and we stopped right next to the bear. And then it was fine and the big bear just walked away. What’s yours mama?
Nici: Hmm, I have a few but this one is exciting: One August night, when dad and I were 20 years old, we were backpacking in the Beartooth Mountains. It was super windy. We set up our tent in the most protected spot we could find and got in right away because it was so miserable outside. Soon after the sun went down we heard footsteps outside our tent. It sounded like people walking around. I said hello? and the movement stopped but nobody said anything. I was scared because I didn’t know what was out there and my imagination was going crazy. Then the animals started running away from us really fast. They turned and we could hear them running straight at us, skidding to a stop up against the tent while we leaned into the other side! They sounded big and strong. In a fit of courage, Andy poked his head out with his headlamp and saw a huge herd of mountain goats! We were so relieved. But those guys were upset we were camping in their sheltered spot. They kicked rocks on and peed on our tent all night long! Also here’s our smooching selfie from earlier that day:
Margot: WHOA. Dad had circle glasses?!
Ruby: Wait, how old were you? Is this your first kiss?
A big thanks to our local Honda dealership – Denny Menholt University Honda – for sponsoring our family’s road trip adventures!