Last week, Matthew loaded up the truck and the whole family went camping in northeastern PA. One of his online forum friends owns a mountain; we spent Thursday through Sunday living on it.
We packed the truck and headed out. Stopped in Frackville for McDonald’s, drove through some interesting fog and rain with 10m visibility or less, and got up to the cabin around ten. D. let us stay in a guest room in his cabin so we weren’t trying to set up the tent in the dark, and we got the kids settled into their sleeping bags around the bed.
Matthew and Marcus started bringing gear up to the campsite at the top of the mountain as soon as they got up. Rebecca helped me pack up the sleeping bags. We goofed off in the yard for a bit–catching toads and frogs, gathering blackberries (handwashing came between those two activities)–until Marcus came down to get Rebecca and Madeline and I; we started up the trail but then Madeline stepped into a knee-deep puddle, lost her sneaker, and was on the verge of a tantrum when Matthew drove up and rescued her. Breakfast was probably around noon. (I had breakfast bars and fruit leather available so that the children were not melting down.)
We spent most of the day up at camp; the guys made a foray to check out D.’s quarry while I put Madeline and Abigail down for naps. Dinner was steak and burgers and utterly delicious. I had a shower and bathed the smallest two in a bucket; I have never been so grateful for two gallons of water as I was then.
We got a bit of a late start because of heavy rain in the morning, but after the rain stopped, everyone came out of their tents and started cooking. After pancakes and bacon, we hiked down–okay, _I_ hiked down with Abby while everyone else got a ride–to the cabin. D. took a load of us to tour downtown, so I picked up a candy bar for each of the kids. When we got back to the cabin, I played with some resettable swingers with a suppressed .22 rifle while Abby slept. Very cute and quiet. Both of them.
The kids built a fire that afternoon and cooked Italian sausages over it for their dinner while everyone else did their jungle walk–we could hear the Tannerite going off as they hit their targets. When the guys got back, there were more hot dogs, s’mores, and popcorn.
Everyone geared up and we drove to a nearby farm for long-distance shooting. Rebecca and her friend L. ended up reading in the shade until they got taken back to the cabin to bake and watch TV. Madeline weathered the heat fairly well with copious amounts of red Kool-Aid (which she promptly spilled all over herself) and clementines. Abigail slept through most of the shooting.
B.’s wife had made up chicken kebabs that he cooked over the embers. They were in some sort of Lebanese garlic marinade and were absolutely delicious.
Packing! Now I know what we _don’t_ need to bring with, as a lot of stuff was never even opened. At some point, all the kids collapsed in the cabin with a widescreen TV, air conditioning, and a million channels while Matthew played Tetris with the truck and all of our supplies.
### Things we learned
* Dr. Bronner’s soap is very good at creating a lot of suds from a small amount of soap; it also rinses off with a minimum of effort.
* NoRinse shampoo is totally awesome.
* Canned, not frozen, vegetables.
* Even filthy children like to get the occasional shower.
* More hand-food, fewer dishes.
* L.’s [wet-bags](http://gen-ydiapers.com/shop/outlet/laundry-bags/) are teh ossum.
* Instead of packing a bag of clothes for each person, pack clothing by the day. That way you only need to grab one bag of clothes instead of six if plans go awry.