The Smuteks Go Camping | Rocky Gap State Park
Usually, our little family tends to take vacations to the beach. We like the sun, sand and waves and we *really* like hotels with crisp sheets and an excuse to eat out for every meal. These vacations are always fun and we enjoy shuffling from restaurant to activity to restaurant again. This year, however, I managed to convince my family to take our vacation… camping. No crisp sheets, no restaurants, and *gasp* no TV or internet.
As a kid, I grew up camping, fishing, boating, hiking and doing pretty much anything that involved being outside. Even when the weather was poor, my dad would load us kids in the truck and take us for a ride through Loch Raven. Being outdoors was something I always loved and envisioned sharing with my family when I grew up.
Then, I met my husband, fell in love, established myself as a photographer in Baltimore, and took on the city life. My husband is not much of an outdoorsman, and so we had never gone camping- ever– in the 15 years that we have been together. Last year, friends of ours invited us to PA for a trip to Knoebels Amusement Park and I shared about the trip in my end of summer blog. So, last year, we dipped our toes into camping a bit, as we stayed in a cabin and built a fire each night to roast some marshmallows. However, it didn’t really feel like camping. After all, once we woke up, we showered and hit the amusement park for fun, rides and restaurant food. Plus, the campsite was rather crowded and we were all together in a cul de sac style campground. It was hardly remote or “roughing it” in the woods.
This year, it was off to Rocky Gap State Park- my favorite place to camp as a kid. Between Lake Habeeb & the different camping loops and hiking trails, it is the perfect place to camp with kids. It turned out, that once we got to Rocky Gap State Park, we had NO internet at all- not even on our phones! So, our little family was able to truly spend 4 days together- laughing, cooking, eating, exploring, playing and simply enjoying each other, with no electronic distractions.
The Smuteks Go Camping | Rocky Gap State Park
One of the things that would get me most excited about going camping, was when we would drive through the mountain, on our way to the campground! Once we arrived, us novice campers worked quickly to set up camp… and the hammock. #CityCamperFail This was also the first time we had taken any of our pets on vacation. As it turns out… Ernie LOVES camping!We spent the first night just hanging around the campground and getting the fire going, but the next day we headed to Lake Habeeb for a fun day in the sun! Check out this awesome iPhone panorama! Nothing is better than a family camping selfie! And, my dad came up for the night… and fixed the hammock. Thanks, Dad!!!!!Simon is on a HUGE Spider-Man kick and he loved being in his “web bed” The next day… well, the next day it POURED. But, the Smuteks aren’t ones to get a little rain get us down. We had the best fun, playing in the rain and just being with each other. Also- SO glad we opted for the cabin with the porch, over a tent! Once back on the porch and out of wet clothes, we opted to binge on Oreos. Because vacation. And more selfiesAs I mentioned earlier this week, I finally upgraded my macro lens and it came just in time for me to check it out on our camping trip! I’m not much of a nature photographer, so it was a lot of fun to step outside of my comfort zone and take some images of the beautiful things around me. Simon got a little bored, so we got him a bag of ice. This *may* have been the highlight of his trip! He had a blast throwing and eating the ice. Plus, our still-rear-facing-in-a-five-point-harness five year old, got to ride up front with Daddy, for the ice run! Once the rain quieted down a little bit, my Dad got the fire going again and Simon and I made our way to the hammock. That night, Simon had some fun hanging in the cabin. There is nothing more fun than a little boy!The next day was still a little wet, but not so much that we couldn’t have a little adventure. Ernie and I set out first, to see what we could find, and then went back to the campsite to get the boys. We had a great time exploring Rocky Gap and I just loved watching our boy and his dog on their big adventure! Once back at the campsite, I made dinner and Simon made “Marshmallow, pretzel soup”. He was pretty proud of himself! The first few days, Simon was not a big fan of camping. He missed his TV and his video games and wasn’t a fan of the bugs. I was a little sad, at first, because I wanted him to enjoy camping the way I did, as a kid… playing in the mud and finding frogs and turtles to play with. Well, he finally warmed up to this whole “unplugged” vacation and then we found a newt! Ernie is starting to get up in age, and while he enjoyed all of our adventures, I think is favorite was simply curling up by the fire and enjoying his time out in nature. Overall, even with the rough start, we had a blast on our camping trip and I can’t wait to go again next year!