This winter we’ve suffered multiple, untimely toddler illnesses. A trip to Steamboat Springs ended up three days holed up in a condo with a miserable two year old instead of winter family fun. A trip to Leadville got canceled altogether, due to yet another round of colds keeping us down. So unfortunately there will be no posts about these, however, it did make me nostalgic for misadventures of the past…


Those less than perfect adventures that often become family lore, the trips we talk about most. And you kind of have to suffer through some of these to truly appreciate the seamless, magical adventures.


Below are my all-time favorite camping disasters and maybe by sharing you’ll commiserate or even learn from our mistakes. Every disaster usually adds an item to our packing list or a box to check before leaving the driveway.


90 degrees in town? It can Still Be Freakin’ Cold in the Mountains

Let me take you back. To a time before children. It was an unseasonably wet summer and we were camping with my husband’s family. It rained. And it rained. And it was cold. However when I was packing my bag in our little air-condition-less ranch it was north of 90 degrees. And so I shivered in my one pair of ever-damp jeans and hoodie. We took refuge in the in-laws popup camper and we played cards and we drank. Despite the cold and the wet, it ended up being an amazing trip. However, no matter what the weather, I still to this day over-pack the blankets, the layers and the beer. Just in case.


Camping in Lower Elevation? The Foothills are Freakin’ Hot in July

Back in the day, when our extra curricular activities still included going to shows, the White Stripes and Jack Johnson were playing within days of each other at Red Rocks. And so we decided to camp in July just outside the venue at -I believe- Bear Creek Campground. No trees. So hot. Sad. We BAKED for three days, learning not all Colorado campsites are created equal. (Disclaimer: This was a decade ago, maybe the shade situation has improved over time.) The shows were worth it, but that may be the most uncomfortable three days ever. This trip taught us the importance of investing in a rain/shade canopy. Not always easy to set up, but can absolutely save a trip.

10575302_10153254519561734_7783579999848365889_oThe Ground is Moving

Bugs are a part of camping. We are choosing to sleep, eat and hang out in their house. On a Friday night when L was a toddler, we felt lucky to find a spot along the Poudre. It was dark when we set up and didn’t notice at first that the ground was moving. With ants, so many ants. We didn’t let it ruin our weekend but in the light of day we may have passed on the epic ant metropolitan.


Where are the Pillows?

And sometimes you forget pillows. Or the keys to the camper. I don’t think these need further explanation. Make a list, check it twice.

As I reminisce our more infamous trips, a smile is spreading across my face. Sure there were moments at the time that it crossed my mind I should get a new hobby. But not only are they something to laugh about now, they make the magical trips when everything seems to go right that much more dear. It’s not always rainbows and wildflowers, but sometimes it is. (And luckily for us, we learned many valuable lessons pre-kids.)

What are your most epic camping disasters?