Before the birth of my son, Holt, my husband and I felt that a family trip? (no, sounds too ordinary) a family adventure? (nah, I’m 37 weeks pregnant), a family excursion? (ugh, no, too scientific), a family get-a-way? (perfect!) was in order so that we could spend some time with our daughter Harper as this would be the last time we would be away from home – just the three of us. We wanted the get-a-away to be memorable, relaxing, and without frills. We wanted special time together as a trio before the family grew into quartet. We wanted the experience to be happy. . We decided to go camping.
Camping? Why not? As a child, some of my fondest memories were going with my family to my grandparents cabin in the Sequoia National Forest. It was peaceful, rustic and memorable. My husband Brady also has memories both as a child and adult for rustic getaways with just the basics and necessities, but with the memories to last a lifetime. Together, he and I share some amazing times together when we rented RVs and drove from California to Texas with our two dogs. From on the road adventures to the basics of log cabins, camping has been ingrained in our lifestyles since he and I were both small children. When Harper was 2 ½ years old, we went to El Capitain Canyon, just north of Santa Barbara. It was delightful. Can camping and delightful be used in the same sentence? Yes, it’s possible especially when you have the ability to combine the beautiful, rustic outdoors with basic yet charming amenities such as cabins, tents, a grocery supply store and a kid friendly evironment. So it was off to El Capitan we went for another amazing family experience.
These days, camping means so many things to so many people. There are so many styles of camping from your Cabin Camper (rustic hotel camping) and 5th Wheel Camping (an RV) to the more extreme backpackers and future campers (hiking for miles bare essentials). Regardless of someone’s comfort level with mother nature and the elements they’re willing to endure, I think you’ll find joy among these folk. Why? Because there seems to be satisfaction in leaving the comforts and routines behind and becoming more self reliant on some level when you’re camping. It’s a deep down feeling that’s good for moms, for dads, for kids and for the soul.
For our final trip together as three to El Capitan, it was a happy time for the Smiths. Not to over use the term, but call us happy campers. And, there are more happy trails ahead.
Photography by Rebecca Sanabria.