Last Friday evening we were rummaging through the house getting packed and ready to go on our first camping trip. Up bright and early on Saturday Bill ran to Dick’s to buy a roof rack bag to cram our gear into and on his return we packed up the SUV and hit the road, Southbound to the coast. Hooray!
The four and a half hour drive to Edisto Island couldn’t have been smoother, Sam and Bea were both excellent passengers and we arrived at the State Park camp grounds in the early evening. The tent was a breeze to pitch and within an hour of arrival we were all at the beach enjoying the sand, sea and cool ocean air. The cool air and refreshing water was especially good as away from the beach it felt like an inescapable steam room as temperatures soared and the humidity quickly turned everyone into hot damp sweaty messes.
Thus started a fantastic long weekend camping at the beach. We had a wonderful time and were to be found playing on the beach every morning and evening. The water was delightfully warm and the Bea found the sand to be very edible. She liked to quickly crawl from shell to shell and try to stuff them into her mouth before either Bill or I caught up and managed to prise them from her grasp.
We knew camping was going to be a challenge with the two kids and Quincy along for the ride. We didn’t really have any major problems though and managed to survive:
Actually, the biting bugs really weren’t as bad as I had been expecting. In fact, I’d probably go as far as to say that the levels of mosquitos in our back garden at home are far worse than anything we encountered while camping. We did make sure to keep the tent sealed at all times to keep the blood suckers out, and coated any exposed skin liberally in repellant while we were outside but it was very bearable and didn’t pose much of a problem. This may be in large part thanks to the…
which graced large webs in all the trees surrounding the tent and even tried to cocoon the SUV overnight while we slept.
In the heat of the day we decided to take a walk in the cooler shade of the leafy oak lined trails at the State Park. It was a really pretty walk, though you did have to watch your head as the aforementioned spiders had woven trellises of cobwebs at just above eye level and higher along the path and were poised awaiting their prey. We had a nice stroll but then when we were driving around trying to find the local shops later I realised I had a tick crawling up my hand. Then Bill found another on his leg, and one on Sam’s neck, and another on my leg. A full tick check had to be done.
Steam room like temperatures and humidity
Oh it was hot. Very very hot, and during the day the tent offered no shelter or respite. Poor Quincy suffered the most and we ended up having to pile the kids and dog into the car one afternoon and Bill drove us around with the AC cranked so everyone could cool off a bit. The humidity posed problems too as despite the heat nothing was able to dry. We had to contend with using soggy towels and costumes for the entire weekend as hanging them up to dry made no difference whatsoever.
Tiny little crabs populated the beach and would scuttle down the sand banks to the sea. They certainly weren’t timid and seemed to even want to chase us. Both Bill, Bea and I had close encounters with these little nippers. I was sat on the edge of the sea letting Bea feel the gentle lapping waves beneath her toes when something caught my eye. There on my shoulder was a little crab! It must’ve climbed all the way up my back before I had noticed.
Before we went to the beach my friend Stacy painted a fantastic picture of when she was little at Edisto Beach. I think she said she would tie chunks of raw chicken to long strings from each finger and then they would go out into the sea and dance and wave their arms around. When they would emerge from the waves each string would have a tiny crab hanging from it. I love that image and can absolutely believe it.
Bill, Quincy and Sam took a walk down the beach and found that the structure behind them in this picture was also a mass of crabs.
On the last evening we were saying goodbye to the beach and having another wonderful time at the sea side when suddenly the sky lit up with lightning and the evening started to darken. We hastily packed up, showered off the sand and drove back to camp. We arrived to a nice quiet scene of campers gently tending fires and lighting tiki torches, campers sat around picnic tables enjoying good meals. We piled out of the car and must’ve been a confusing sight as I grabbed the kids and got them under canvas and changed and dry, while Bill hurriedly battened down the fly tent, set up the guys, and prepared the site for bad weather. He barely made it into the tent himself before the storm hit. It was a big one. We huddled in our shelter nibbling on salad and dip and nervously eyed the tent walls waiting for the rain to quell. Big thumbs up to the tent. The storm raged and we stayed dry.
We managed to have an evening camp fire and Sam toasted some marshmallows without having any accidents. I impressed Bill by being able to light the fire with one attempt. We also decided to bake some potatoes and try to have a cooked meal ready for the next day by wrapping potatoes in foil and putting them among the embers. This seemed like a great idea until we forgot about them in the midst of getting the kids to bed and securing the camp site at the end of the night. The next day Bill woke up to find that…
Hungry Raccoons stole my spuds!
Apparently they had had a great picnic. Foil and bits of potato were all over the place. Oh I was aggravated at myself about this as until then I’d been being really careful and making sure that all our food was kept locked in the car when not in use and our dirty dishes washed up and never left out. Rats.
Bedtime with Sam
Getting Sam to be good and go to sleep was interesting. Our first night was the most challenging and I had to give up my spot on the air bed to him and go sleep on the floor. Actually I think I was better off like that anyway. Sure, it was hard and uncomfortable, but I thought sleeping on a layer bouncy hot air was worse. Each night got a little better but settling him down for the night was hard.
I said the first night was the most challenging. Oh yes. Deep from slumber I was shaken awake by a frantic Bill. “I think Sam’s pooped in his pants and I need help!” Bleary and confused I tried to assist and was appalled to find that our delightful child had indeed pooped in his pants. Not only that but in his wriggling to get away from Daddy he had managed to smear it all over the bed. With me awake he wanted Mummy hugs and so clambered on top of me, getting me dirty too. Bill was then lovely enough to attempt to lie Sam down where I was sleeping and change him there. Getting more poop all over the floor and carrying it through the tent. Great. Somehow we managed to clean the boy up, disinfect the tent floor and clear up all the mess by torchlight. I had to get changed too and we were just settling agitated Sam back down to sleep when Bea’s cot got kicked and her eyes and mouth flew open in protest. Wonderful. Daddy and Sam went back to the airbed together and I
was left fending off an angry baby. Oh that went well. Thank goodness that wasn’t repeated nightly.
Yes, we survived all those things, and what’s more we had a brilliant and relaxing time. Loved it.
It’s not a holiday without ice cream and I do like a good mint choc chip cornet. Apparently so does Bea.