First Camping Trip - Kirby Cove


Dave and I had loosely debated camping with the boys here or there, and slightly more seriously when we were invited to go with a group of other families with toddlers back in April. The timing wasn't good for us so it was easy to decline the invite, but I told Dave that we should really give it a try.

One of the downsides of having twins is that we really have to conform to a schedule -- that's what's worked best for us and helps avoid some of the chaos. Along with schedule come routines and rituals. Dave was nervous about the camping in a tent part, worried about how they'd sleep and if we'd have any fun at all. The truth is, a lot of the activities that we do with then that end up being so much fun -- the beach for example -- are also a ton of work. This is how I expected camping to be, but felt that they were at a good age to at least attempt it.

I had first learned about Kirby Cove years ago when Dave and I hiked down to it one day before moving abroad. It popped into my head earlier in the year and I figured it would be the perfect place to do our first camping trip. That is, if all went horribly wrong, we could be home in our beds after a very short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. I knew sites at this location were extremely difficult to get (there are only 5 sites total and one seems to be reserved for rangers, boy scouts, etc).

I went on the website exactly 90 days before the first day I wanted to attempt to stay (when availability opens) -- in September as I figured a Sep/Oct trip would be the most likely to yield nicer weather, and got a site! I immediately tried to book a second site a minute later and all were already booked.

We had been having such amazing weather and of course it had to shift on Saturday morning -- freezing, so windy. I wasn't discouraged but just sort of expected it, we tend to have bad luck with weather for this kind of stuff. We packed layers and layers but I was surprised when we arrived and despite being overcast, it was rather warm.

Dave was in charge of setting everything up and I took the boys down to the beach with my brother and his family. So much fun! I didn't expect for them to be playing in the water so we weren't as prepared for that aspect, but still totally worth it.

We headed back to camp to make the fire and grilled up steaks and corn. We finished eating in the dark and made smores cones before the wind really started picking up. Families of raccoons were hovering for scraps but my brother was good about chasing them away.

We put the boys down with a little fussing, but surprisingly they settled in fine and were asleep quickly, and they slept fine all night long.

My brother, Elizabeth, Dave and I sat by the fire and then went down by the beach to see the cityscape and in that time I received this text...

Seriously, I can't remember receiving a similar text and how dramatic is the 100% chance?? We sort of laughed it off and went to bed, but I did wake up to hear rain. It must not have been much as it wasn't even wet the next morning.

The boys woke up just before 7 and had some breakfast and got to spend some time down at the beach and in the 'bear cave' with Dave, which was nice since he had missed out on a lot of that time the day before. We pretty much packed up camp and headed out of there by about 9am and since we were already close by, went to Muir Woods. The boys didn't do too well there -- not wanting to walk much and being stubborn/throwing mini-tantrums, but it wasn't too bad. We ended up at Fish for lunch so can't complain about that.

Though there were some stresses especially for Dave during the camp trip, luckily the next day he realized how much fun he had and agreed it was totally worth it. The boys loved playing with their cousins and Aunt and Uncle and had no problem sleeping in the tent. But seriously, using my brother's huge 2-room tent was perfect for us and allowed us set up their stuff just as we would in a hotel room.

The main lessons learned:
  • Get charcoal with lighter fluid, or bring lighter fluid!
  • Always bring flip flops, so much easier for slipping around and especially necessary at the beach, even though I thought we wouldn't really be at the beach
  • Anytime you're staying at the beach, bring the beach stuff -- empty detergent bottle filled with water, a big towel, etc.
  • Get set up before the sun sets. Dave knew about this one which is why he wasn't down at the beach with us when we first got there, but it would've been better if I had gotten all the food stuff and cooking supplies organized, as well as laid out their pjs and bedtime stuff instead of digging through the bag with the flashlight
So happy to report that overall, it was a success! Looking forward to more camping, especially at Kirby Cove. Dave is more interested in RV camping...

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