Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Hampshire Vacation Part II - Camping

We happen to live in a great neighborhood filled with great families, many of which enjoy camping. A couple of years ago a sort of 'tradition' began where a bunch of these families and other good friends decided to go camping together. Last year was the first year my family joined the fun. Chris took the boys and Chica and I stayed home. I was not yet prepared for camping with the entire family, particularly a napping two year-old in diapers.

This year, however, I did not want to miss the fun. One family picked a campground in North Woodstock, NH which was not far from where we had our lake visit. We no sooner packed up the car from some fun on the lake and drove about 35 minutes south to our next destination - Lost River Valley Campground.

I didn't bring out my good camera many times, and the picture quality is a dead giveaway. I also borrowed pictures from good friend and fellow photographer, "Lee".

The camping group got quite big this year. There were a handful of new families who came. This picture (worst possible lighting scenario) includes everyone but two families (one left early and one came later). Including them, there were a total of 12 families and 31 kids (not including our cousin CC who joined us for camping too!).

I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't been there: 31 arguments, no injuries, no issues.

Highlights from the trip...other than lots of campfires, food and drinks, bike riding, manhunt, singing, dancing, scavenger hunts, playing in the river....

Almost the entire group went to the Lost River Gorge and Caves which was an amazing adventure. There is a pathway of staircases built throughout a gorge. Along the way are "caves" which are pretty much tunnels through rock formations that you could climb through. The caves were not for the weak, claustrophobic or overweight. Some were pretty crazy to get through. Since I shared ownership of Chica, I only went through one or two. But the kids had a blast hiking through the gorge and climbing through the caves.

Chica and daddy, Ben and then Luke exiting caves:

And here is a glimpse at some of our group walking along the staircases.

Another fun time for the kids was riding the paddle boats, swimming and salamander catching at the nearby pond.

And here are some random photos of other activities:

Chica came out of the tent one morning wearing this outfit which included her bathing suit and new pink boots. Quite the slave to camping fashion:

My crew and some buddies one morning. I was en route to Dunkin Donuts for my coffee. (Huge trip bonus)

Jack and CC at the evening campfire.

CC and Luke

Jack demonstrating how cold the river water is.

Ben and his buddy posing for me.

And the beautiful river right along the campsites near us.

We had wonderful camping weather....clear and cool! The nights got very cold but my crew did well in the tent in their layers and sleeping bags. I got three very good night sleeps which were unexpected.

After this trip, I look forward to using some of the new ideas I have about improving our family camping. But all in all we had a blast. Anyone have some ideas of other great family friendly campsites in Northern New England?

Next stop......winding down summer and preparing for school!

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