Before we had our twin boys, we were tent campers. Not because we are hard core or rugged, sleep-on-the-ground type purists. We would gladly camp in a giant, shiny luxury RV. But tent camping costs about 1000% less. So we are “car” campers. We bring a stove and a cooler and an air mattress and pretty much everything we can fit into the wagon of our car. Now we have two little munchkins, so we have less space than we used to. And of course, now we have more stuff we need to bring.
But we like to camp. We have resolved to give our boys this experience. We both loved to camp as kids. I don’t remember camping when I was less than one year old, of course. But as I got older, it was my favorite. I loved loved loved to go camping when I was a kid.
We’re not idiots, by the way. We live in Oregon. We knew that it was going to rain. We were camping west of the Cascade Range before mid July. So our usual tent was out of the question. I reserved a “yome” at Lost Creek near Mt Hood.
Now. I’m going to do the internet a favor right now. Before this trip, I googled around to see what it was going to be like to camp in a yome. It’s a cross between a dome and a yurt. We’ve stayed in a yurt and it was an entirely pleasant experience. In this case, Lost Creek is way out in the woods. I figured there would be no electricity. But I didn’t know what else to expect. Was there an awning? Furnishings? I knew there were beds, but anything else? I googled around and found nothing. I even called the ranger station and they didn’t really know either. There was no informations on the yomes on the internets.
So here you go.
Lost Creek is a pretty, densely forested campground. It’s a number of miles up Lolo Pass, off a forest road. So it feels like you are way far out in the woods. Because you are. Lost Creek is way far out in the woods. It was nice.
This is the interior of the yome. Two futon bunk beds, with full sized mattresses on the bottom. You can sleep six if you want.
That’s it. Those are the only pieces of furniture inside the yome. No tables, no chairs. Just the beds. There were two plastic windows and the door. The roof was a dark material, so it was not bright inside. But it was a hard floor, and a (mostly) rain proof roof over our heads. We unpacked.
It might look like the boys are feeling a bit forlorn about all this. But in the first hour of arriving, they were ecstatic. They were jumping up and down. They were looking all over and grinning into the air. They giggled and stared. THEY WERE SO EXCITED. The rain tapped against the roof, there were new sights and smells. They watched us unpack and get settled and they were thrilled. Dave and I were relieved that they were enjoying themselves.
(Those Go-Pods, by the way, are one of the most-used baby items we own. They fold up like camp chairs and they give the guys a place to move and wiggle while staying stationary. I highly recommend them.)
It rained while we unloaded the car. As soon as we were done, it really started to rain. I mean, really, really started to rain. The water dropping from the tree branches above sounded like jackhammers on the roof of the yome. I stood in the doorway and watched as the water pooled and broke into streams running through our campsite. The picnic table was outside. The fire pit was outside. The rain came down, down, down.
Still, it was lovely. The woods were incredibly green. The rain came down in gray sheets. I watched as an
three eight! inch pool formed outside the doorway of the yome.
It rained. We set up our camp chairs, the chairs we would normally use to sit by the fire. We snacked. We made ourselves a cocktail. We looked at each other.
The boys got bored and hungry so we fed them and cuddled. We’d normally let them crawl around on the floor, but it was wet from our shoes and covered in pine needles.
Dave and I looked at each other. I was regretting that I didn’t bring a book or some crochet to work on. I figured I wouldn’t have the time. I mean, I knew it was going to rain. But maybe I didn’t know how much it was going to rain. The forecast said 90% chance of rain for both the days we were camping. I wondered what 90% meant, exactly. Like, it would be raining 90% of the time? Or there would be 100% rain in the air, minus 10? Or, out of 10 minutes, would one minute not be raining?
Dave and I looked at each other. All our means to fix dinner involved fire or our camp stove, which we’d need to use outside. Dave put on his raincoat and trudged out into the wet. He dug a channel near the entrance to the yome to drain off the moat of water that had formed. He lit some charcoal, stood in the rain, and grilled some veggies and steak. He discovered that his raincoat was no longer waterproof.
We huddled in the yome with cranky babies on our laps. The boys liked summer squash. We couldn’t shovel it into their mouths fast enough.
The rain let up and we took a quick walk through the campground. We held the boys in our arms and they absorbed everything. They blinked and smiled at the drips of water. They made cute cooing little baby noises. We wished we could have traveled further, but the rain started back up again. We headed back to the yomestead.
We barely knew the time, because, what’s the point? We were in the woods. We measured by how tired the boys seemed to be getting. Our biggest worry was being away from their own beds, and their familiar room. We had no idea how they would sleep. We have a big playpen that is 3 x 3 feet. I hoped they would sleep in there. I hoped they’d be okay sleeping next to each other. I hoped they would be warm enough.
They fussed as we put them down. But after a few minutes, the crying stopped and the giggling began. We peeked over, and Cask had his hand in Loyal’s mouth. And they both thought it was hilarious. They both eventually konked out. Dave and I breathed a sigh of relief. They are such good babies.
So. The yome was one big tent, of course. So we quietly picked around the room so we didn’t wake up the babies. This would normally be the time we’d sit in our camp chairs, drinking wine and poking the fire. This time, we chatted quietly and listened to the rain crackle against the roof.
We decided to go to bed too. There was nothing else to do. And we knew the babies would be up as soon as it got light out. The futon mattress was surprisingly comfortable. With the rain on the roof, and the chilly air on our faces, we snuggled down into our sleeping bag. I slept better than I would have expected.
Of course, I had an ear out for the boys. I wondered how they were going to do through the night. Would they wake in a strange place, in the dark? Would they freak out? Were they cold? Or hot?
In the middle of the night, I heard Cask grunting and whimpering. He may have been asleep and making these noises. But I had to look. When I checked on him, he erupted in tears. I scooped him up and rocked him until he was calm. But he did not want to go back to the playpen to sleep.
This is where I felt bad about sleeping away from home. I want to take the boys on adventures. But sleeping away from home is hard. The noises, the smells, the temperature, the dark. All that stuff makes it hard.
Not knowing what else to do, we tucked the little boy into our bed between us. He continued to cry and we both shushed softly into his ear. He was out in 30 seconds, his little fists balled up by his face. Poor exhausted little boy.
Loyal slept through everything. He is a rockstar sleeper.
In my mind, I had already decided that if the rain continued, and there was every indication that it would, we ought to pack up and go home. It was wonderful to have a dry place to sleep. But the point of going camping is to spend time outdoors. And if we couldn’t go outdoors, we’d just have to sit around and look at each other. Bleh.
The boys got us up at 5:13 am. It was raining.
We changed the babies, fed them, and packed up. We were gone by 8 am. Dave said we were taking part in the grand tradition of getting rained out of our camping trip in Oregon. It’s not really camping unless you go home soaking wet.
Lost Creek is a lovely campground. Some of the sites near the river looked perfect. We will come back later in the summer. By then, the boys will be running around and eating bugs. Can’t wait.