Lakes, Bears, Forests & Fires AKA Beautiful Toddler Death Traps

We camp a lot in the summer – we love spending time outdoors, so camping just comes naturally to our family.  And, as an added bonus most of the places we camp do not have cell phone coverage, so we usually end up disconnecting from life for a few days.

But this summer has been a tad bit different.  Some of our favourite camping spots have massive, raging mountain rivers.  And we have a toddler who has a toddler brain and doesn’t listen all that well.  And, more importantly he has absolutely no fear of water.  So, we have simply avoided going to places with raging rivers – it just seems safer to completely avoid the horrifying possibility of Little MPB running into a river that would sweep him away in mere milliseconds.

We also learned on our very first camping trip this summer, that camping with a toddler is work.  In fact, it is the least enjoyable camping we’ve ever done.  Don’t get me wrong, Little MPB loves nearly every second of camping and we have some absolutely wonderful moments.  But, it’s just work right now as there is literally no down time camping with a toddler – we are watching him like a hawk, because of the aforementioned toddler brain and love of water.  From the moment he wakes up, to the moment he goes to sleep, an adult is constantly at his side because everywhere we camp has a lake to drown in, bears to eat toddlers and forests to get lost in.  A curious toddler brain also means cooking on a stove and/or having a camp fire is an added challenge, so much so that camp fires just happen after he goes to bed.  But really, right now, camping is more like just trying to avoid beautiful toddler death traps.

And don’t even get me started on camping with the neurotic Doodle MPB, she adds an interesting twist into everything we do as a family.

Needless to say, camping this year has been nothing short of exhausting.  So much so that friends, with a toddler, actually cancelled a trip we had planned together saying we just don’t have the energy for trying to keep our toddler alive in the mountains this weekend.  We fully respected their decision, it is hard work keeping a toddler alive in the mountains.  And I’ll admiit, we used their cancellation as an excuse to not go too.  Normally we go camping about 6 times every summer, this year, it looks like we are only going 3 times.

All this said, we aren’t about to stop camping, just because it’s harder then we are used to.  Spending time completely disconnected from technology in the outdoors is great for kids (and parents too).  The mountains refresh my heart and soul and rejuvenate me in a way I just cannot explain.  Simply, our whole family is happier after spending time in the great outdoors.

And, I honestly believe this is just a phase based on Little MPB’s age.  I think next year, when Little MPB will be 3.5 years old, it will be a bit easier.  And I’m convinced the following year, when Little MPB will be 4.5, it will be even easier.

And so we will keep camping.  And we’ll make an extra effort to really enjoy our next weekend away, as it’s probably the last one of this camping season.

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17 Comments on “Lakes, Bears, Forests & Fires AKA Beautiful Toddler Death Traps

  1. Absolutely agree. Personally I prefer glamping ( flushed toilets please!!) i cannot imagine taking my boys to camp with their energy. I am pretty sure it will be the most stressful vacation for us and my husband and I will simply be fighting the entire time!

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    • I cannot lie, there is always some arguing between the adult MPB’s on these trips! But, it also really helps to go with other people who understand the importance of having eagle eyes when camping like our friends with the toddler, because it means there are 4 adults to 2 kids.

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  2. We have been discussing a camping trip with DS this summer. Since he has been around, we haven’t done the things we always used to (I was about to do a post about this actually), and we need to get past that and start introducing him to these things! Glad you are still able to do these things. Though I can’t imagine the heart-attacks he must be giving you at every turn! lol. Crazy little fearless boy!

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    • Our love for camping is exactly why we keep going, even though it’s hard work. We want Little MPB to love camping and outdoors just like we do so we keep going and cope with each heart-attack as it comes.

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  3. Oh my goodness, I so relate. We went to our annual camp in upstate NY a few weeks ago and while the kids had a blast, I was a neurotic mess. My toddler has no fear of anything and a tendacy to push limits. I basically chased him around for 8 days straight. I can’t wait until he learns common sense!

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    • Oh my, 8 days?! I can honestly say we have not tried camping for 8 days and I doubt we will anytime soon!
      It will be delightful when they have some basic common sense! 🙂

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  4. We camped a couple weekends ago. Tru and levi were pretty easy (4.5 and 3.5) but Zane was an extreme challenge! Do hang in there, it’ll get easier next year, as you said.

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  5. It really does get easier as they get older! Bravo to you guys for still getting out there this season, even if it is less. It is a tough gig with littles.

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  6. It’s so much more work with a toddler! But also the moments and memories are so much more magical and worth it 😉
    Beautiful pictures!!

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  7. Mad props to you for continue to do it even though it’s more difficult. Little MPB is super lucky to be exposed to these types of family adventures. We need to be more adventurous as I’ve struggled big time straying from sleep routines with both L and O.

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  8. Last year I felt exactly the same as you with camping. We had some explosive fights on pretty much every camping trip. We made threats to sell the trailer because it clearly wasn’t something meant for us because we were always bickering. On one occasion I told E that I would be driving home the next day as I was exhausted and miserable and couldn’t hack it. It was rough. But this camping season we seem to have found our flow. The trips are still so exhausting, but we now have some pretty amazing go-to locations that are totally toddler friendly. It also helps that he’s a full-on mama’s boy and always wants me near him so there is rarely, rarely any risk of him wandering off. Also helps that he has zero interest in the fire so we never have to worry about that, plus after our first trip of the season a fire ban almost always goes in place so we spend the camping season with no fires. The one thing I’ve learned is the importance of getting some true down time once the kid has gone to bed. I will save dishes for the next morning and instead will pop some wine into a glass and sit down and relax. Making sure I have those moments in the evening make the long days bearable. I think you are doing the right thing with pushing through the exhaustion and getting him used to the camping adventures. Exposure to it all will be the best way for him to learn the boundaries of each camping site and also how to adapt to a different routine outside of the house.

    If it helps make you feel a touch better about your concerns about him walking off into the forest or into a rushing river…last year we spent the camping season camping in remote areas and didn’t have any issues. But September long weekend we went to an actual RV campground with all the luxuries and within the first 10 minutes he wandered off and we lost him for about 5 minutes. We ran around the entire park screaming his name, crying, until a teenage girl came over to us, holding him in her arms. He had wandered about 800m away from our campsite. I’m still so thankful that this happened in a busy RV park and not up in the back country where we usually go.

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  9. Wow that sounds intense! We are looking into a camping trip in October, our first with A being a toddler. This post slightly scares me off lol! The idea of a toddler death trap is terrifying!

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  10. I’m not a camper but 3 and 4 years old will definitely be easier than 2, for pretty much everything. I can’t say that my kids’ hearing works any better but they seem less prone to suicide by stupidity than before.

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