Daketown with the Kiddies

Posted on 30 Apr 2022 by Steve Markham

Adele and Lewis wanted to come camping with me last night, so we went to a short-leg favorite, Daketown State Forest. It was a beautiful afternoon when they got home from school, so they played with friends until long past a reasonable time to leave. We went anyway, don’t you worry, it just means dinner was eaten in the dark.

Alfredo chicken with carrots, and oaties for dessert. Thanks for asking:)
Alfredo chicken with carrots, and oaties for dessert. Thanks for asking:)

In addition to leaving late, we also had to stop by Walmart for the Knorr packet of Alfredo and some camp fuel, having used up the last of both on the Assateague trip. When we finally got to the trail, there were two huge, branchy trees laying across it. It took us several minutes to find a path around.

No pictures of the interesting bits, of course, since my attention is elsewhere
No pictures of the interesting bits, of course, since my attention is elsewhere

Then we got to the stream crossing and of course the water is higher now than in the Fall when we went last time, so it took us several more minutes to cross. A few minutes here and there usually doesn’t matter, but when the sun is setting every minute counts. I know how to make dinner in the dark. I also know how to set up a tent in the dark. But I did have a cute little boy right next to me the whole time. “I’m very brave in the daytime, but at night … well … I’m a little scared.”

Adele and Lewis slept in Andy's two-man, which has been on loan to us since the before times.
Adele and Lewis slept in Andy's two-man, which has been on loan to us since the before times.

I slept in my hammock. The trees right by the tent were about 12” too far apart, so I strung up on the other side of the site. I slept beautifully, as did the kids afaict until about 4:45am, when Lewis started coughing. I took my sleeping bag and jacket to the tent, to make sure they were warm enough. Eventually we found a comfortable way to squeeze three of us in there without crushing Adele, and they fell soundly asleep for another couple hours.

Steve, Lewis, and Steve's jacket (with Adele underneath)
Steve, Lewis, and Steve's jacket (with Adele underneath)
Adele brought a book, and might have stayed in the tent all day if I let her
Adele brought a book, and might have stayed in the tent all day if I let her

Eventually Lewis got hungry and told me to go make breakfast. They played together in the tent happily, so I did last night’s dishes first, then made hot cocoa and invited them to join me. We also had oatmeal (cooked in the pot and then dished up from there, which helped it come out perfect) and slightly scrambled eggs (mostly for me, though Lewis had a bite of whites).

The kids were grinning and playing all morning
The kids were grinning and playing all morning
As we left the house Janet told us to take lots of pictures, and the kids would prompt me often
As we left the house Janet told us to take lots of pictures, and the kids would prompt me often

After breakfast they went exploring while I packed up. I would occasionally glance up to see two buddies walking in the sunshine along the top of a fallen log, or throwing rocks in water, or exploring pancake island. After maybe an hour they came to get me (well, my camera).

They then ran back into the woods
They then ran back into the woods
Adele found a better option for crossing the stream
Adele found a better option for crossing the stream
They desperately wanted to show me their pony
The stop wasn't for me--they started again almost immediately after I stopped recording

Then we came back, finished packing, and I ferried our gear back across the stream the same way we came last night. Then the kids. Adele slipped a little and got one foot wet, but not soaked.

We crossed on those two big rocks at the bottom of this picture
We crossed on those two big rocks at the bottom of this picture
Adele is a good hiker as long as the distance isn't too far
Adele is a good hiker as long as the distance isn't too far
Lewis is a happy hiker, but is as easily distracted as, well, as a 6yo boy
Lewis is a happy hiker, but is as easily distracted as, well, as a 6yo boy

We took one break on the way out to delayer and have a snack.

Lewis was thrilled to be hiking in PJs
Lewis was thrilled to be hiking in PJs

The last time I went to Daketown with Lewis and Camille I think we were home for breakfast. This time we got home at 11am. What a swell time:)