Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Great American Backyard Campout

ON Saturday our family participated in The Great American Backyard Campout, held by the National Wildlife Federation. This is a nationwide initiative to get more people out enjoying the great outdoors and is designed to be a gentle introduction to camping. Not that we needed a gentle introduction, but with Emma not having camped for a while and me 7 months pregnant, we figured close to home might be a good idea :-)

We joined an environmental education center, where around 20 other families had gathered for the one-night adventure. Emma and I went exploring after the tent was pitched, while Papa cooked bratwurst. Our explorations took a little longer than expected, as we found aviaries of injured black vultures and barred owls that were very interesting to watch. There were some wild vultures who were perfectly capable of flying away that were keeping their caged relatives company just on the other side of the wire. The evening's organized activity was a nature walk on the boardwalk next to the Chattahoochee River, which was definitely geared towards older children but still interesting. We got back to the camp, Emma snuggled down into her bed and was out like a light.
The next morning, she woke with the birds and I tried to get her dressed and out of the tent so that at least one parent could get a bit more rest. After various attempts to move her along, I said "listen, a woodpecker, let's go and see if we can find it!" Unfortunately this had the opposite effect as it was more excitement than she could contain. Thomas 'thanked' me with bleary eyes as his head was rowdily shaken and 23lbs of excited child jumped up and down on his chest. "Papa, Papa, 'pecker Papa! Come see!"

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