Ronin goes camping

August 22nd, 2008 by: cheyenne

We had our first camping trip in about 75 germillion years and it turned out great! We met up with some friends of ours (who also have a baby) at Takhlakh Lake near Mt. Adams in Washington, and even though we didn’t have a reservation, we decided we’d go for it anyway just leave early on Friday so as to have a chance at a site before the generator-wielding Good-Samers* took up all the good spots. Tragically, we hit traffic about six miles out of Portland and four and a half–yes that’s right, FOUR AND A FREAKING HALF–hours later we were still only 14 miles from home with a destination 160 miles away. And one would think only a crazy person would keep going at this point since there was almost no chance we would arrive before dark and because we planned to meet up with our friends, there was the additional worry that we wouldn’t be able to contact them since there was no cell phone service where we were going. If our target campground was full (we did have three other campground back-ups) it might be hard to find each other in the dark; with no reservation there was no guarantee. Blah blah yada yada. We kept going of course because we are crazy people. And also because we were now four and a half hours from home and I feared my head might blow up. Oh and also, this was one of the hottest days of the year, over 100 degrees probably. Ronin miraculously slept through the majority of the traffic jam (which turned out to be a bleeding brush fire for chrissake; LET IT BURN!) and was so good when she was awake, playing with her granola bar wrapper and humming to herself. I on the other hand, whined, cried, kicked at the dash, chewed my fingernails to the quick, bitched about the people in the cars in front of us, and behaved essentially like a total baby.

[It’s starting to freak me out how much she looks like a little girl at times. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that she’s just a little baby; I mean, she can’t even crawl yet.]

Once we managed to get back on the freeway on the other side of the mess, the going was great. There was a lot of traffic but everyone was essentially in agreement that they had somewhere to be like FOUR hours ago and so things moved along perkily. We arrived at the campground at 8:25pm, just as the light was fading, we found a note from our friends saying which campsite they were in, and when we pulled up, they had a steaming vat of curry vegetables with quinoa ready to go. The downside is we arrived right at peak mosquito hour and I sustained massive damage in the pitiful seconds it took me to don protective clothing and get inside a tent with the baby.

[The second night, we were on dinner detail: camp paella! Made all the more exciting by having the first stove run out of fuel, then the second backup stove actually break mid-cook. Joshua is a genius and was able to resurrect the stove so we got to eat a fully cooked paella that night. It even held out for coffee the next morning (the stove, not the paella).]

Ronin had been (as she is often) a total sleep monkey lately, depriving herself of solid naps only to top it off with sporadic and fitful night sleep. I was sort of dreading the camping scene after the previous nights of sleep drama but she actually went down fine and slept GREAT that night between us on the camp mattress. Where everything was weird and rustly and there were trees over our heads and bugs whining outside the mesh and smoky smells and loud thumping drunk teenaged site neighbors. Basically, Ronin thrives in the atypical. Who would have guessed? The next night went just as well. She slept solid and only woke at 5am to be fed (this from waking ten million times per night and needing to be fed at least two of those times). We are heading to Maine in a few days and so I’m hoping the exhausting train/plane/car travel, the layover in New Jersey, the three-hour time change, the unfamiliar surroundings, strange people, new sleeping situation, additional camping, and back-to-back visiting will do wonders for her nap and night sleep.

[The lake was sort of cold and Ronin was apprehensive at first. We discovered that just sitting her in the sand was the thing. She took to splashing in a big way and played happily until I noticed that her temples and the area under her mouth were turning sort of blue and so I pulled the plug on Fun. PS – It is really difficult to remove a sodden shirt from an excited splashing baby; remove shirt FIRST next time.]

[Meg with Rosalind looking adorable all cuddled up in a towel.]

Another interesting discovery is that Ronin appears to be mosquito proof. All the rest of us got zillions of bites; Meg and Nathan’s poor baby had probably thirty angry red welts on her face by the end of the trip and although I saw a couple of mosquitoes actually bite Ronin, she never even got a red spot, no less an itchy welt. I don’t know how that works but I’ll take it.

Meg and Nathan’s daughter, Rosalind, is eleven months old and already walking, eating curry, and using the internet. It’s crazy to think that this child is only four months older than ours. Ronin really seemed like just a little cuddle blob next to such fantastic mobility. I can’t wait for her to learn to walk but also it’s really nice to have a baby who you can just leave in the camp chair to play happily with her feet while you get dinner ready. I remember thinking something along these lines last time I saw Meg and Nathan. At that time Rosalind was three months old and during our coffee-shop visit, she pitched a fit that was not to be consoled by sitting, walking, singing, etc. I was eight month’s pregnant at the time and I sat there thinking, wow, I think mine’s kicking a little… My, but the belly is a convenient babysitter.

[The more mature baby can actually bite and ingest watermelon.]

[Our baby, on the other hand, dropped her watermelon in the sand several times before it occurred to her to taste it.]

* As luck would have it, a Good Sam parked in the spot right next to us and they ran a generator for HOURS so that they could watch TV (!!!!). It didn’t even look like the Olympics, which was our initial assumption.

4 Comments on “Ronin goes camping”

  1. Kerry says:

    I have been a lurker since finding your site via a search for porta-bote and I stayed because we have some things in common (including beautiful baby girls!). I’m so excited that you are coming to Maine! Please look us up!


  2. Bozo says:

    “It’s starting to freak me out how much she looks like a little girl at times”

    Don’t blink your eyes… the next thing you will know she will be asking for the car keys… they grow up in a flash.

  3. Peg Bowden says:

    That picture of Joshua and Ronin—wow—Ronin is definitely Daddy’s little girl. She looks so much like Joshua in the eyes and forehead. Very intense gaze. I’ll see you soon on the Maine Coast. More camping! Love, Gramma Peg

  4. Name withheld by court order says:


    There. That’s off my chest now. The idea of going out to the middle of nowhere to experience nature and bringing along a house, TV, radio, computer and a gasoline-powered generator to enhance the experience is just so , so … (it seems I don’t even have a word for it). That’s why all our camping is now done only in places that are inaccessible by anything other than kayak or canoe. It’s a great moron filter. And, believe it or not, spots like that are available even near major urban concentrations. So get yourselves a 3-person yak and never see the Samers again.

    Cute kids

Leave a Comment

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell