Tales of the Camping Mamas

I remembered the underwear, a plethora of underwear actually that magically needed no laundering upon returning home. Little boys are funny.  But I forgot the swim trunks and my hairbrush. Thankfully, neither are absolutely necessary when camping; where improvisation is key.

It was two moms, two boys, two nights and countless fun and moments to remember.  Having paid our dues in prior years, with tent set up + take down and sleeping on the ground [or attempting to] on air mattresses that never quite have enough air, we upgraded ourselves to a yurt this year. For the non-campers, a visual aid is provided.

This was like the Ritz-Carlton to us – actual beds, a lamp, a heater [that was never needed] a skylight, and a real door that could be passed through without feeling like we had entered a page in Alice in Wonderland or The Hunchback  – no shrinking of our tall selves was required.

We weren’t the only ones who loved the yurt, while the boys were chillin’ on the bunkbed,  a bird flew into our humble abode. After an unsuccessful attempt to nicely have the bird find it’s own accommodations, we engaged the help of the park ranger.  This is big stuff apparently, our bird in the yurt was the talk of the park staff meeting.  That, and the keurig coffee machine we saw plugged in- in the ladies restroom.

Surrounded by pine trees, amazing mountains and quiet, except for the wind rustling through the aspens, we surrendered our phones, computers, iPods, etc. Our entertainment came from books, trees, lakes, sticks, bed-heads of epic proportions, our own imagination and for the boys, the campfire.  I don’t have a daughter, so I am not 100% sure, but there seems to be a genetic vein of pyro that runs through boys…can anyone dispel my theory?

There is something so soothing and nourishing about focusing on the simple tasks at hand, preparing food, rolling a sleeping bag, walking to the showers – the simple day to day tasks are admittedly more of a challenge in Mother Nature’s house, but it’s as if she is gently pulling us in, saying, ‘sit down and rest my dear‘. While in her house, we are allowed to rest our brains for a few days, slip into the rote actions of life and forget the rest of the world and all it’s worries.

The food tastes better.


Sipping wine among the trees and around a campfire with a perfect friend, is well, nothing short of amazing.

Hiking into the forest, while heart pumping and sweat-inducing, is awe inspiring

But it’s these boys that take my breath away.

But, what photos cannot capture are what will remain etched in my memory: two boys asking, in one moment, how far they can wander into the woods without supervision and in the next, asking their mama’s to snuggle in zipped-together sleeping bags. Two boys, who with such confidence, blazed ahead on the trail well beyond our sight, feeling proud beyond measure and then being overheard saying they wished mother-son camping lasted three nights.

The smell of campfire smoke in my still clean, unworn and overpacked clothing, that upon returning home, I refuse to wash. I want to keep that scent of days away from it all with my boy reminding me of a special time, even if  just for a few lingering days.

Two friends raising  their boys together sitting side by side without a word needed because we know that we are the kind of friends where the silence is just like having another friend along.  And asking each other, ‘what percent are you at?” while reading the same book on their kindles.

Driving down the highway and hearing the words, “mom crank it up”  and then the sweet voices of two boys uninhibited and free, singing along and knowing all the words, and the  knowing glances between moms with grins from ear to ear. We are full with the moment; we know it is fleeting. And really hoping they have no idea what the lyrics really mean!

The cleanest clean that comes from a 3 minute 4 quarter shower and the feeling of slipping on a fresh pair of pants, socks and sweatshirt after a day of living in the dirt.

The first sip of wine around the campfire.

Waking up and seeing the clear blue sky and the tippy tops of amazing trees through the skylight in our Ritz, yurt.

I surveyed my posse, “what is your favorite part of mother son camping?”:

Boy 1:  the campfire

Mom 1: the quiet, the unplugged-ness of it

Boy 2: roasting things in the campfire

{ I tell ya, it’s genetic! }

Mom 2 {me}: here is the best way I can give you my answer: As we started driving down the mountain, sun-drenched and beginning our trek home, the sun shining, blue skies and a gentle breeze blowing through the car, this song played on the radio. We sang along and I answered, “it’s right here. Right here”

As we drive away, all these memories are tucked away safely, imprinted upon us.

But, we will be back!

Oh, and how could I ever forget the campfire cones!?  Oh my, campfire cones! They deserve their own post, so check back tomorrow for the full scoop!


44 thoughts on “Tales of the Camping Mamas

  1. what a beautiful and touching post, Bonnie. You’re no slouch when it comes to camping! The food looked fantastic and you got wine–yeehaw 🙂 Having just taken two girls camping, I’ll say that the pyro gene crosses gender as they were all about the flame.

    I love how you wrote this–how lucky you are to have such a friend. Is this the one that is moving? For sure you must be looking forward to October ’13. And yay for the yurt–smart move.


    • Hi Liz! Thank you, so much, and I am so glad you came to visit our campsite! 🙂 Pull up a chair and I will pour a glass of wine for you! We had such a great time on that trip, I am so glad I wrote this, I go back to it and remember all the moments. Yes, this is the friend who moved, and I miss having her right across town. But we will make it work and I am totally looking forward to more tall tales in October!

      The yurt was a GREAT upgrade! You’d love it I am sure!

      Funny that the pyro gene crosses both genders – it is kind of mesmerizing, I guess i can’t blame them, huh? 🙂

      By the way, on the food? That grilled stuff up in the photos? Grilled haloumi cheese. Have you ever heard of/tried it? If not, I must fill you in!


    • Thank you so much!!

      The yurt is part of the campground, they have about 6 throughout the whole campground, and it can be rented just like any other campsite, but costs a bit more than a campsite without one. It was a lovely way to camp…I think we are spoiled now! 🙂 Thanks so much for being here…


      • Oh boy!!! Cut a branch about an inch in diameter and long enough to hold over the fire. Whittle the bark off about 6 inch from the end. Make a dough using biscuit mix and water and wrap it around the stick and over the end. Toast it to yummy doneness over the fire–don’t burn. Slide it off the stick and fill it with butter and jam. Delightful!!


        • A hay hole is a forerunner to a crock pot. Early in the day dig a big, deep hole, line it with rocks, and build a roaring fire. Let the fire burn down, making sure the rocks are hot, very hot. Take out any remaining burnt remains and line the hole with several inches of hay. Place your covered baking dish with roast and veggies in the hole, cover with another deep layer of hay, and go off for your day’s adventure! When you return, dinner is served.


          • Ok, wow, we have a couple of things to add to our repertoire! The dough boys sound amazing…delightful, I can think of several adjectives! 🙂 thank you for taking the time to give me the whole scoop on both, and now I am kicking myself for not joining the girl scouts!! 🙂


  2. As someone who was once a young boy (many years ago!) I can officially say: WELL DONE MAMA’s. Your boys will fondly remember this trip forever.

    And yes, there is something about fire and boys. It’s a guy thing! ;-D! I belong to a mens’ team and we sit around a fire once every week, rain or shine (well, technically darkness as we meet at night.) It’s wonderful.

    Speaking of wonderful, thank you for the fun post, Bonnie.



    • Russ, thank you so much!! I love the well done mama’s – that will just stick in my mind (and heart!) so thank you for that! It’s one of those things, we jus won’t know for years to come.

      I knew it..boys + fire = together! My brother said the same thing. Thanks for stopping by the campfire 🙂


  3. Love the post! Glad you had fun in your yurt. I have to say I’m not sure about the genetic fire thing…I am somewhat of a pyro too and was as a kid. Maybe I’m an anomoly girl! 😉


  4. BonsEye!!! Mmmm, fire. No think too much about it. Like moth to flame…moth with ancestral memories that fire good. Thank you fire for your light. Thank you fire for your warmth. Thank you fire for your protection. Thank you fire in the belly. Boys…man-childs…instinctively drawn to what they have known since fire was discovered. It’s in our genes and in our collective conscience. It is remembered, but for so long ago…we take it for granted. But in the woods, it is magic re-awakened…reunited with our true being, our real place, our home, our family both present and past. And it’s pretty cool to just burn s#@t up! Moth just got burned!


  5. A very touching post Bonnie. I have such memories of special times like that when my kids were young. And they remember them too. They are grown now so I’m working on making those kind of memories with my grandkids. Love it 🙂


  6. The pics are great Bon! We had such fun. Every year it gets better!! Hopefully our boys will still want to do this when they are 15…


  7. I’ve fallen for you guys all over again! Love this post and can smell the campfire smoke from here. YURT a very special woman Bonnie. (sorry, someone had to do it). And seriously? that cone is dangerous. oh….and i like my marshmallows to catch fire, then i spin my stick to get an even burn….blow like hell (more than once)…pull the sticky yummy deliciousness off with my teeth oooooh so gently….hop around when that ooey gooey center burns my tongue….close my eyes in utter delight….lick the sticky strings off my lips…and sighhhh. doesn’t that sound good? mmmmm


    • Ahhhh…Rhonda…what a perfect thing to say! And so spot on funny too – you’re good, really good. Yurt a very special woman too. 🙂 Yes, seriously – the cones are coming…the cones are coming! I warned you.

      Oh and I love the way you attack, um, I mean, savor a marshmallow . I go for the slow burn, even tan, but I can totally appreciate your tactics! xo


  8. Welcome back! Looks like a fabulous time was had by all 🙂 I have two confessions to make: one, I cannot WAIT to hear about those campfire cones and two, I would TOTALLY be the woman who plugged the Keurig in in the restroom. My first thought when I read that was “genius!”


    • Thank you…and omg…can you hear me laughing OUT LOUD all the way from CA??? You should! Too funny…we gave that poor woman such grief about the coffee maker in the bathroom! but I have to admit, if she had offered me a cup, I would have said, hell yeah! but we made our coffee the camping way…and it was superb! 🙂 And…I am working on the campfire cone post as we ‘speak’ – it will be there in the AM.
      laughing…out loud…mwah!


  9. Makes me miss my little boys….now all grown. Both pyros….yep…I don’t know about that girl thing either! What a fab time. Little boys are precious…..so glad you enjoyed your time together…AWAY! (the yurt looked kinda fun! but I must first inspect the inside!!! 🙂 ) Hubby is sitting hear singing to the song as it plays….”how far is heaven…..♫ ♪ ♫” a great one, friend! ♥ Missed ya!


    • You are funny- many of the women in our circle of friends say the same thing! The yurt was fabulous – we are spoiled now and will probably go with a yurt from now on! Wonderful memories – I am still savoring the time!


  10. Ah Bonnie, you had me at the first image, and I remain dissolved until the end. These are the times that you and your friend create with your sons that will defy time, will only intensity with age and will be talked about long after the boys’ voices change. I so get it. And I loved the pictures – even though the picture of a child sleeping always makes me weepy. I love this memory-maker that you do, the joy you feel, the yumminess of roasted marshmallows (do you burn the outside or just carefully keep the marshmallow turning until it gets perfectly tanned?)…Thanks for sharing this perfect couple of days with us! xox


    • Thank you sweet friend…I knew you’d get it. I am still savoring the time and the impact it has made on me. I hope in my heart that my son, and his friend are imprinted, [branded perhaps?] with these experiences. And yes, a sleeping child just gets me too – he was so cute holding his flashlight as he fell asleep….sigh…

      As to the marshmallows…I aim for the perfect tan 🙂 My pyro boy loves the burn – until I shared that eating charcoal is not such a good idea…then he changed his ways! thanks for coming along for the ride – xoxo


      • I go for the perfect tan too…though as a kid I love burning the outside..Thank you for sharing this trip with us – it was magical!! xox


  11. that sounds excellent can me and my kids come next time? we love camping and we love campfires, we have never tried a yurt we couldnt afford it but it looks fab and since our tent is broken from camping in severe storms, not planned its just the way the weather in england turned out at easter!, we should save up a try a yurt 😉 loved this post thank you for sharing, have a lovely day xx


    • Kizzy – you crack me up! We’d be like sardines in that yurt! 🙂 You should look to see if there are any yurts to be found where you are and hopefully you can try it some time. Hope you are feeling better this week my dear! xo


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