With the additions of Mississippi and Arkansas, ELK has now visited 20 of the United States:
Friday, October 4, 2013
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Juniper Springs Campground
Ocala National Forest
Recently, tent camping has been a frequent request from Egypt. I had hoped to take the girls to northern New Hampshire for a long weekend of camping, but it didn't work out. I didn't want to disappoint Egypt, so I took her on a 3 day, 2 night father/daughter tent camping trip in Florida, in July. We were extremely lucky as the temperatures topped out in the low 80's and we didn't have a single drop of rain!
As soon as we picked a campsite, Egypt helped to scout out the best location for the tent. Once she picked a good spot, I left her to get the tent out of the car. On my way back, I heard Egypt screaming and looked back to see that she had fallen into the fire pit with her legs in the air and her head backing against the metal fire ring.
I could tell by the cries that she was hurt, but I didn't know how bad. Luckily, the fire ring didn't have any hot ash remaining from the last fire and after a few kisses and some reassurance, Egypt dusted herself off and we were ready to set up our campsite.
Egypt helping with the stakes:
First request was to go swimming in Jupiter Springs:
After swimming for 3.5 hours bike ride around the campground loop:
Getting ready to build a fire (after lots of camp fire safety talks and establishing a safe zone around the fire ring):
Watching a few Alicia Keys videos before bed:
Early morning bike ride:
Bubbles before swimming:
Egypt was tired of hearing the bugs buzzing around her ears and came up with this solution herself:
Fishing for minnows before swimming for 7+ hours on day 2:
It took awhile, but Egypt finally asked to jump off the platform where the older kids were having fun. I asked Egypt several times and she was sure. I walked up with her and she went right to the edge, grabbed my hand and jumped off. I wasn't expecting her to jump so fast and went a split second after her. As I came up, Egypt was already above the water and her smile was magical. She wanted to go again and I asked if she could do it by herself so I could take pictures. Without hesitation, Egypt said she was a big girl and proceeded to jump a couple more times:
Emerging from the 25 foot deep springs:
The magical smile:
We saw this squirrel on our way back to our campsite:
Helping to make some coffee to have with the smores:
I think the safety zone actually got through:
It was smores time after some mac and cheese:
Breakfast on top of her air mattress for comfort:
Another early morning bike ride:
We ended our trip to Juniper Springs with a nice hike:
Egypt had a great time and wants to go again "next weekend". This was her second time tent camping, but she was only 2 1/2 when we went camping for just one night as a family for one of Kellisa's camps. I was a little worried planning the trip, but she was an angel and we both had a blast...so more tent camping is definitely in the future!