*Guest Post* Camping in a Hurricane!

Hurricane weather is the best kind for camping with babies.

I should clarify: the day before a hurricane is the best time to take babies into the woods.  All that warm tropical air being pushed ahead of the storm made our October camping trip one of the warmest I have ever taken, at any time of the year.

My daughter, Sylvia, is almost 18 months old.  It was high time she spent a night in a tent.  We were not exactly roughing it: there was a double stroller, a bottle of wine and a hammock.  But this was car-camping.  There’s time enough to take her into the backcountry (next year!)  We made it an all-girl trip; my friend and her daughter of a similar age joined us.

I didn’t know what to expect from the kids, but I knew Sylvia would adapt well enough.  I’ve never balked at taking her anywhere.  I don’t believe children should limit your adventuring or experiences in any way.  I’ve always believed this.  I doubly believe it now that I have my own daughter, so Sylvia is well used to new surroundings.  As long as she’s got snacks, she’s happy!  I was hoping the rain would stay at bay, because tenting in the rain is no great picnic at any age.  The rain did stay away, and any concerns I had about not having a walled and roofed shelter were quickly allayed by the balmy weather and brilliant starry sky.

If Sylvia had the language skills to express herself, I can imagine her saying something like this:

“Outside? 24/7?  Why, this is just the natural order of things, Mommy!”

Sylvia eating one of “Those Cookies”

She is an outdoor girl through and through.  When she was a bitty newborn, the one thing that was guaranteed to calm her down was to step outside with her.  The wind on her face – she loved it!   This girl was made for camping!

She woke up on Saturday morning, sat up and reached for the tent zipper.  The first thing she said was “ide! ide!” (For the uninitiated, that’s toddler-speak for “outside.”)
We had the campground practically to ourselves.  Terra Nova Natural Park, overrun in the summer months, was next to deserted.  We enjoyed the company of red squirrels, snowshoe hares and Canada Jays (also called Whiskeyjacks, Gray Jays or Camp Robbers for their bold thievery of unattended food,) and one silver fox.
Canada Jay eyeing Those Cookies in Sylvia’s hand
Naturally we brought far too much clothes and food.  But the one item that proved indispensable was the bear bell I lashed to Sylvia’s belt loops.  I knew where she was at every step.  It was not to keep the bears away – the chance of an encounter is very low in our part of the world, where black bears are skittish and grizzlies don’t live.  And the arctic sea ice that ferries the occasional polar bear to our island won’t be back until spring.  
I don’t even bring the bell intentionally.  It was packed into my camp kettle, and found it when we went to make the first pot of tea on Friday night.  I’m so glad I had it.  The bell allowed me to tend the stove and set up the tent, knowing Sylvia was always very close by.  As long as she was moving, I could hear her.  And Sylvia?  Well Sylvia never stops moving.
Exhibit A, B and C:

The trip was cut short by one day due to the threatening storm that finally made landfall.  We scurried home just as the leading edge of Hurricane Ophelia started raining.
All in all, Sylvia’s first camping trip was a wonderful success.
Sylvia sits still, momentarily.
About Laura:
Laura is a Saltwater Mama who blogs about baking, outdoor adventures and the never-ending chore of feeding the woodstove at The Sheds Project.  She lives 20 feet from the Atlantic Ocean, on Canada’s furthest Eastern coast.

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