Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hector goes camping

We love camping. We love getting out of town and into the bush, enjoying the quiet, the space, and the feeling of timelessness. Since I became pregnant, we had been looking forward to taking our wee baby camping. Sharing our love for the outdoors and introducing the wonderful wilds of New Zealand to our new little person. So, two and a half months on, with Christmas fast approaching, we packed the car and headed towards a private campground I'd heard about in Little River on the Banks Peninsula - not 45 minutes from our house.

After a botched attempt at a paddle on a lake along the way (it was WAY too hot to be out in the middle of a lake with no trees along the side for shade), we pulled into Little River for an ice cream cone and a regroup. Stephen was gung-ho, while I worried about the heat which was apparently making me cranky. But I insisted we at least check out the campground and eat our lunch there. So we drove on down the road to find the road in. Unfortunately, we had absolutely no idea where the campground was, so this step took some time. After driving down two wrong roads we pulled back up to the ice cream place and asked where we might find the campground. Five minutes later we were pointed in the right direction and we were off.

The Little River campground is up the Okuti Valley and is tucked up against the hillside running up from the Okuti river. There are lovely tenting and caravaning sites with a funky kitchen and fire pit area with a disco ball. There are mud slides nearby and a nest of (mostly) stroller friendly trails. We pulled into a site, set Hector up in the shade of the trees, and set up some lunch. As I was now in better spirits (lowered blood sugar levels does turn me into a rather grumpy mum), we decided to set up the tent and give the night a go - we could always drive home in the night if we needed to.

We spent the afternoon playing Kubb (while Hector slept in the tent), exploring the trails (with Hector strapped into his Chariot), and eventually, making some dinner (with Hector strapped to Stephen, leaning the ropes of cooking for mom). This also included much worried thought on the extreme heat (28 degrees), the vast hordes of biting sandflies, and the hot, hot sun beating down - at least by me. By 8pm, the time we usually start Hector's bedtime routine, the campground had filled with other campers and we were ready for bed. So we changed his nappy, read him a story, and fed and burped him before plopping him into the stroller bassinett (removed from the stroller) at the head of our tiny tramping tent. He squirmed and wormed for a while, as I fussed over making sure every last sandfly that had gotten into the tent was eradicated. Eventually, Hector was asleep, the flies were all dead, and I felt mildly comfortable with the temperature in the tent.

After one more game of kubb, we both got ready for bed and scrambled into the tent (killing more flies). We settled into our blankets, stuffed the excess sleeping bag under our heads, and read a little before calling it a night. After lying in bed stressing about things that might go wrong, I must have eventually fallen asleep because I woke up holding Hector's blanket under my head. This caused me to freak out and yell at Stephen that I had squashed the baby. I eventually woke up enough to realise Hector was fast asleep in his bassinett and Stephen was still half asleep and completely confused. Calmed by the normalcy of affairs I fell back asleep until Hector woke me up for his next feed. While he managed to go back to sleep, he was fussier than usual and required much longer to settle each time.

The next morning, we awoke at the normal Hector time and began the day. Once again, the men cooked breakfast, while I packed up the gear. We munched on bacon, eggs, and toast, got back into the car and drove into Little River for a well-deserved treat for mom, for making it through our first night of camping.

I have now stipulated that our next camping trip has a max temperature cut off of about 22 degrees, actual pillows for mom, and perhaps some more practice time in the tent for Hector (and maybe some for mom too). Can't wait to see how things go when we start getting out to huts!

1 comment:

  1. I love this Erin! We have also been doing the outdoorsy-lite type outings... having never before given thoughts to the angle the sun is shining into little eyes or whether the breeze is a mite too strong for the little nose, it feels like I have jumped into a million versions of fussiness and it is wonderful.