Mother Nature brings families together.
We’ve made a lot of lasting memories with our children over the years, but the family camping trips are in a category of their own.
- There was the weekend an enormous pine tree blew down on the neighboring picnic table which was also the weekend we had a black bear in camp.
- There was the weekend with a mouse in the camper which made our daughter forever terrified of the little rodents, understandably so, since he ran across her pillow!
- There was the weekend we rafted the slow part of a river and got eaten alive by mosquitos.
- There were the weekend archery shoots when our extended family came to walk the course, camp, and explore the backwoods with us.
- There were many amazing weekends, all etched in our hearts and minds.
Mr. Fixit grew up camping with his family and taught me the ropes when we started dating so we knew this would be one of our family traditions. When our kids were little, we bought a 1965 Airstream which we fixed up along the way. This became our weekend home for many excursions from fishing trips, to hiking, to gold mining.
Advance preparation was always the key to success. Many of our necessities were left in the camper but to avoid forgetting something essential, we had a checklist in a plastic sheet that we reviewed with a dry erase marker before each departure. The categories included food, clothing, safety, and fun. Bug spray, sunscreen, and the first aid kit got the most use.
We were reminiscing with our now adult camping companions recently and hands down some of their best memories came from rainy days stuck in the camper playing games. Yahtzee, Hearts, Spades, Jenga, and Monopoly topped our list. Unplugged with unbridled laughter, we cemented our family connections.
Cooking was another bonding opportunity. The chuckwagon required all hands-on deck prepping, cooking over the fire, and cleaning up. Our go to was foil packs. Lots of chopped veggies and meats for each diner to build their own foil meal that cooked in the coals. Roasted hot dogs, foil wrapped corn on the cobb, and s’mores were always on the menu. Somehow breakfasts cooked in a camper tasted just a little better, especially when beds became benches and jammies stayed on extra long in the morning while the sun is warming up the next adventure.
Our daughter, a natural nester, loved setting up the camp. She remembers the silver clips we used to hold down the vinyl tablecloth, setting the table with slotted dishes used only when camping, putting chairs by the soon-to-be-lit bonfire, and getting the clothesline ready for wet swimsuits and towels. The closet with warm jackets for cold nights was one of her favorites along with snuggling deep into cozy sleeping bags at the end of the day. Our son took off exploring the minute we pulled in, and we could always count on him to bring sticks for the fire, unusual rocks, bugs, dirt, and new friends back to camp.
We hauled the kids’ bikes so they could explore the campground. Headlamps made it easy to get around in the dark at night. The dogs were with us, leashed of course, and couldn’t have been happier to mark their new territory. A small solar panel mounted to our camper helped when we didn’t have hookups and we all learned to conserve water since our tank had limited capacity. A lesson we try to carry into our daily lives.
Gone are the days when we loaded up on a Friday afternoon in search of the perfect campsite for the weekend but not gone are the memories. With little effort, the four of us are off and running with stories … “remember that one time when.” And if we can’t quite get the memory right, we can always consult the photo albums which hold the key to our escapades.
The opportunities for your next Montana adventure are unlimited and Cherry Creek Guest House is ready to serve as your home away.