Monday, July 5, 2010

Big Meadows, Big Deer, and Big Kids...

My wonderful husband decided that the weekend after his Senior Board (which he passed by the way!!!) would be a great one for camping. Now, I love to camp...the campfire, early morning birds, being in nature...etc. However, tent camping with a 16month old and a 3 year old is a bit different! Nonetheless, we are adventurers and went for it! The Shenandoah Valley is about 4 hours from our house and Big Meadows is a famous campground right smack in the middle of it. Legends say that the Meadow (pictures above and one down further) was a the home of some Indians, and the ground is packed down so hard, that trees are just now starting to grow! Between my husband and me, I am much more the worry wart or I like to call it practical. One condition on the trip was to not bring the dogs (worried about ticks). Husband complied...and away we happily went talking about camping, seeing deer, and going to "Dark Hollooow Falls".

We arrived at our campsite a little later than planned, 7pm, but immediately set up tent with the help of Logan and got dinner started, Hamburgers! While all this was going on the boys were helping Daddy and playing around. These campgrounds were awesome, felt totally safe and so clean! Now...the pictures to come is why camping with a 16month old can be an adventure. After getting the tent set up, I turn around and get a closer look at my little Austin..."seriously kid?"
He was as happy as can he was left that way until time for bed and then he got a wipe washing in the car. Silly Man!

Logan had fun exploring our campsite the next day and I had a great time taking pictures. What can I say, I love my subjects!
Oh...some stories. It wasn't till about 1030 that we were finally getting to bed the first night, I was unzipping the tent to go outside to get Logan from Mike and he wispered loudly and said "There are three skunks right at my feet"! Which was also about 4 feet from ME! So...zipped up the tent after seeing one out of the corner of my eye and waited like a wimpy girl for Mike to let me know it was safe. We only had one incident with sleeping at night. Austin woke up furious about 130am the first night and I had to calm him down in the van to not wake up the entire campground. Other, than that it was freezing at night, so thank God I brought warm clothes and ton of blankets!

DEER, Oh my Goodnes, So MUCH DEER! Right away when we pulled in the first night there was deer in the campground and a ton the next day! We saw a couple of bucks and a few females. A hunters dream to have a deer walk 5 feet from you! Not only did they walk around but, one buck laid down in the tall grass between our row of campgrounds and the next...if I didn't see him lay down, I would have no idea that he was there!

The first morning Logan was up early and he got some great time alone with the deer...notice the big middle picture, he is holding a twig up to the deer and saying something...totally did that one on his own!

Mike really talked up the hike to Dark Hollow Falls, a kid friendly hike to a kid friendly waterfall. Logan just kept talking about it the whole drive there, the first night and next morning. As a tradition in my family when I would hike as a young girl, a walking stick was a must. Little did I know it would be 18 dollars! Should have just found one in the woods! HA! Well, Mike and Logan do their usual jabber in the car, and all of a sudden Logan shouts "I'm a Hiking Man!" So, there you have it...our little hiking man...

I love this picture of my me it says so much about them in life, being children and being a Daddy.

The trail was light and easy...mostly downhill there so you know what that meant going back! The trail followed a creek (which I am sure has a name...but I don't know it right now) and there were several small waterfalls along the way. Mike pointed them out and at one point Logan was ahead of us and found the little waterfall (the one in the bottom right picture) and declares "There it is! There is Dark Hollow Falls!" We gladly explained to him that there were falls much bigger than that!

Everyone was looking!!!

Our little hiking head walking stick and jumping off of everything! We were so proud of him walking the entire way there and back. Only 1.4 miles, but that is a lot to a 3 year old! He definitely was pooped because no later than 5 minutes after getting in the car he was asleep!

Dark Hollow Falls!

The weather got warmer and was a beautiful sunny day! The boys even got on the swimsuits and tried going in the water at the bottom. Less than a foot deep but oh so cold! Do you see Mike and Logan in the picture?

Having fun with my camera...despite not having a tripod, which would have made a world of difference, I slowed my shutter speed and got some fun pictures of the water.
Beautiful wild flowers, the boys down below, Austin playing in the water, and Logan throwing rocks...could be a better 1.5 hours spent at the falls!

Here Mike took this great picture of the butterfly...there were so many around, but very hard to catch on camera. So many people were there to take pictures, set up some awesome tripods; even one guy had a camera that zoomed 500mm! That thing was so long! What shutter speed would you do the falls at? I tried a variety between 1/10 and 1/25. One thing I found too was because the falls were in the sunlight, I couldn't open the shutter speed too much because then it was so bright! I tried compensating with the Aperture...but no luck. Guess I will have to read up on it! Anyone have any suggestions?

Some of my favorites that sum of the trip...

Lastly we pieced together a panorama picture of our campsite!
This trip was so fun for me because we got a glimpse of an older big boy Logan. We are so proud and impressed with who he is adventurous, loving, outgoing kid. (he made a friend by the way and nearly broke our hearts!) We are now more excited than ever for family vacations as the boys get older. I told Mike that I am so glad that I am a mom to boys because of how adventurous they can be and not necessarily afraid of much! At least then, I am the most wimpy one of the family! Austin was a blast too and reminded us to enjoy the simple things in life and to NOT WORRY! Overall, we will be camping again if we can!


Eryn Stennes said...

E-these pictures are GREAT! Looks like an amazing time.

Joey&Casey said...

Wow! It amazed me how quickly you are able to get home, load your pics and edit them. You are so fast and good:) I love the deer picture the waterfall pic is perfect, great job! You did exactly what I would in that situation. You capture moments so well! Looks like you guys had a wonderful time..skunks..ewwww...cold...ewww...see that is why I don't camp! hehe Oh, and I love the long picture of the campground. I need you to show me how to do that!

Laura Bora said...

You made me teary eyed with all these beautiful pictures!I felt like I was right there with you. What beautiful boys God has created through you and Mike. You are SO talented at photography and Lindsey, Casey, and you have all gotten me very much interested in one day purchasing a nice camera like you guys have when finances allow :)! What an awesome boy Logan is, so much boy stuff to look forward too, and what a ham little Austin is. Looks like such a beautiful place and oh, I could go on and on! Thank you so much for sharing!

Mike said...

Good job with the pictures hon! What a great post, wanna go back? I love you!

Lindsey said...

I love the pictures...especially the wood fence one. And the panoramic picture could be an ad for you mini van. :-) Sounds like it was a great trip...minus the skunks. ;-)