Old fashioned camping at any age

Living in Balance
By Jenipher Appleton

Algonquin Park beckons us each year; we have just returned from our 21st camping trip. And I mean camping. No RV, no pop-up camper. Sleeping in a real tent on the ground with a little help from an eggshell mattress and Thermarest.
You can hear everything from within a tent. Some of us have to get up in the middle of the night when nature calls. Standing in the bushes (as if anyone could possibly be watching you at 4 a.m.), you can detect snoring from just about everyone’s tent in the campground. I could even hear the steady drone of a camper about five sites away from ours. I’m sure his sleeping partner was thrilled.
Of course I cannot leave out the sound of zippers. Yes, I said zippers. In order to get out of a tent you have to zip-zip at least three times; one for the sleeping bag, one for the tent door and the last one for the tent porch. Then you have to do it all over again when you return to your resting place. That’s a lot of zipping.
Our son Andrew was two when we began camping with him and his older brother Tommy. They loved it from the start. As a result, they have continued to pursue this annual camping trip ever since. Now that Tommy is the proud father of a baby boy, he had no intention of missing this year’s trip. Yes, you can camp with a six-week-old baby. As a matter of fact, it worked out really well.
Oscar Thomas Henry Appleton was born on June 29th of this year. That makes us grandparents, if you hadn’t already figured that out. Oscar’s mother Sonja also shares a love of camping and was very enthusiastic about preparing for this year’s sojourn. Oscar’s sleeping accommodation was a red laundry basket lined with a bed pillow. He was swaddled up in a bunting bag each night around the campfire and went to sleep willingly in the laundry basket. He was shifted into the tent when his mommy went to bed and would proceed to sleep soundly, five nights in a row, until around 6 a.m. At that point Sonja would feed him and he would return to his slumber until well after 8:30 a.m. Must have been the fresh air. I would be up making coffee and starting breakfast long before Oscar thought it was time to awaken.
So, you can camp with an infant. Who knew? The benefits of camping the old-fashioned way far outweigh the hassles of the packing, and pitching of tents. A good cook tent or dining shelter goes a long way as well. So give it some consideration if you haven’t already made the plunge. Your family memories will be worth it.