25 November, 2012

A new tradition

Reading in bed was popular.
Well, we're back from camping. Actually we've been back more than 24 hours, but I loathed to even open the computer, I was enjoying my non-computer time so much. I didn't turn it on until this afternoon to do an important email, and of course, type this blog post.

We had a much more successful trip than when we did the same trip this time last year. Everyone was appropriately dressed and had sufficient clothing and bedding to stay warm. It was also just a little warmer than last year: 3 degrees Celsius for breakfast instead of -2C! It makes a big difference.

We've noted before that our family does better when we're not doing a "first". We're all more comfortable knowing what to expect. It was fun to go back and repeat the same things we did last year.

The weather was different this time. We didn't have the wind that kept me awake half the night last time, but we also didn't have clear skies and sunshine. We mostly had grey cloud and drizzle. That's probably why it wasn't quite so cold. However, the rain wasn't bad enough to keep us indoors. In fact it held off while we enjoyed playing Park Golf.

The Swing
We also discovered a couple of new attractions. They've strung up a couple of swings from high branches. One of the swings swung out towards the view down the mountain and the ground fell away, so it felt like you were a lot higher than you actually were. There also was a flying fox that looked sedate, but it actually was a bit scary: you hurtled towards a tree and only stopped at the very last minute!

The Swing
 The autumn leaves were beautiful again.
After Park Golf-ing, we retired to the tents, and blankets
for a game of Monopoly. This all ended abruptly when
one of the pegs holding the annex came out of the soft
soil and knocked everything off the table outside. Once we'd
fixed that it was time to start the fire in preparation for dinner.

 And fire was not only practical, but a fun occupation. Quite a few hours were spent in front of the fire, either enticing it to greater things, or cooking food on it. Such fun!

I've learnt too that chocolate is a Must Take for camping. Not only will it melt nicely in foil over a fire, tastes even better when combined with banana and marshmallows in the foil — it covers over any lack of food that occurs. You finish a meal with chocolate and no one remembers that they'd desired just one more slice of bread, even though there weren't any left!

 Our trip included a Japanese public holiday and the start of a long weekend. The second night we were there the campsite was full. Almost every tent held children, so it wasn't a loud night. And the campsite is actually well laid-out, so that it didn't feel crowded. There were plenty of places for the kids to run and play.

Mt Fuji was shy while we were in its vicinity (too
much cloud and haze), but here is something of a view.
One of the other fun things we did was go to an onsen (Japanese hot baths), on the second evening. We learned from year's experience and  we did that after dinner, then raced home and jumped into bed before we could cool down too much. After a day in the good old outdoors, a hot bath made us all very sleepy.

The advantage in going camping in the cooler part of the year is that the night is longer, and once the sun is down, it is too cool to do much, so bed's the best option. We got more than eight hours of sleep both nights and have come home feeling refreshed.
Apple Farm shop
On the way to the campsite on Thursday we noticed this apple farm with their roadside apple shop. We stopped there on Saturday on the way home. They had "seconds" for sale for only 100 yen per kilo. We got a big bag and I've made Apple Pie and Applesauce this afternoon. I wish I could go back now for more apples. They are simply delicious. The boys enjoyed this stop. They got to see apples on the tree for the first time in their lives. More and more I appreciate the old adage that food is the way to a man's (and boy's) heart!

As we travelled home, I asked if this was to be our new family tradition: camping on the American Thanksgiving long-weekend and I got an enthusiastic "Yes" from everyone.

1 comment:

-J said...

Your camping trip sounds lovely! And how special to create your own tradition on a holiday you don't celebrate.