We finally managed to spend the night at the Haven, our new land barony in the hinterlands. It was awesome.

Hiking stick, check!

I don’t know if it was because it’s the longest amount of time we’ve spent there at one go, or if it was something about physically spending the night there, but in any case it was the best trip we’ve had. As much as I wanted to go up there already, I think this trip really lit a fire under me to go back.

And that’s kind of funny, since mostly what we did was hard work.

I guess this face helps her lift?

Hey, watch out for that…branch

I think she’s carrying quite a bit for her size!

We were only there for a short time, but I think we had just the right amount of work planned. Basically, the first day we hiked around until we found a dead tree (apparently THE dead tree…this was harder than we anticipated), cut it down, chopped it up, and carried it back to our campsite.

Chainsaw time

Prepare to feel the wrath of my ax of justice

When we were done with that, we were pretty hot and sweaty, so we decided to go to the beach. Immediately, a thunderstorm blew in. Oh well, we we wanted to cool down, right? The tent ended up leaking only a little bit, and it cleared up for a few hours just at the right time to have a camp fire that night. We even saw a few stars, before another storm blew in and we went to bed.

It rained all night, but the tent didn’t leak. After a very early morning wake up call (4:30…happy father’s day, love Evie), we got back to work. All we had to do was hang up the swing Ron made for Oliver’s birthday. Sounds easy right?

Ha ha ha, it’s funny how close to death I am!

Well worth the near death experience

Actually, the coolest part about doing the swing was that it ended up being a lot more than just hanging up a swing. We found the perfect tree, but we needed to clean it up a little bit. We ended up cutting down a handful of big branches and cleaning out all the scrub under an enormous old pine tree, creating a nice little hollow for the kids to play in. It kind of killed me to cut this beautiful old tree (I know you’ve been around for 100 years, but my kids need to swing), but we made a really cool little area that I think the kids will appreciate for many years to come.

In fact, maybe that’s what made the weekend so great. It’s like we “claimed” the land a little bit by doing some work to it and bending it to our will. Even just deciding where we would camp and how we would organize it, digging a fire pit, designating the wood stacking area, and locating a “bathroom”.

The finest facilities money can buy

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the bathroom got a lot more use than I was feeling was entirely necessarily within a few hours of arrival. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

I will say this: it gets pretty dark and quiet out there at night. Pretty dark and quiet. I had to go get something from the car, and although it wasn’t that far outside the fire light, my back did begin to creep a little bit. Lets just say, nobody took the trek back to the bathroom tree after 10 p.m. or so. I’m sure this is the city-slicker perspective, but it’s awfully easy to imagine something hiding in the woods right behind you.

Which is why, when Matt (on his first camping trip ever) went to the car, I immediately suggested that we all hide in the woods before he came back. Rachael added that we should perhaps knock over one chair to up the creepiness factor. Luna also obliged us by whining worriedly into the dark in the direction we’d gone, which was creeping me out even though I was the one hiding. Unfortunately, Ron was sleeping in his chair, so we just had to abandon him. We wondered which would be funnier: Matt coming back and finding us all gone, or Ron waking up and finding us all gone?

I don’t know if Matt had a moment of goosebumps or not, but, despite the fact that I was able to sufficiently muffle my snickers, he found us quickly enough when he came back. Unfortunately, I probably spooked myself out more than Matt, hiding in the woods like that. My imagination loves nothing more than to run away with itself. (What if she’s not whining because she wants to come with, what if she’s whining because there’s a monster RIGHT BEHIND US!)

I’m having some second thoughts about camping out there all alone.


5 thoughts on “Haven

    • The bathroom seems to be the hottest topic of conversation (hence the inclusion of the picture). There are a lot of zoning restrictions about outhouses that I’d rather not run afoul of.

      I’m not really too worried about it (even if everybody else is). First off, if we’re only staying one night, I can probably hold the worst of it in (but apparently not everybody can, since two people insisted they had to go within a few hours of arrival). To me, an outhouse is barely a step above leaning on a tree, and I always more or less held it at the reunion anyway. Second off, there’s a gas station just up the road, and we have a pass to the state park which is nearby as well. Plus there’s town with restaurants, etc. So if I really truly had to go, I could probably figure it out.

      I’m told it is difficult to use the shovel, because the ground is full of roots.


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