Both girls were great car travelers. Audrey is so easily entertained now - quite a "handsy" baby - touching and reaching for anything. Just throw a few books and toys in her car seat with her and she's good to go! We spent a lot of our drive singing songs, playing "i spy" and just chatting. Mom needed to drop Molly off for boarding just outside of the park, but we made it into our camp site in the late afternoon. We spent 1 night in Lodgepole and had to move after that. We had reservations at another campground that were canceled due to slow snow melt. Our 2nd and 3rd nights were spent north, just inside Kings Canyon. The 4th night was back down in Lodgepole. The packing up was really the hardest part, otherwise, moving from place to place wasn't too bad - but not preferable!
Laurel handled the camping pretty well for her first time! She was super excited to put up the tent. The bubble guppies cartoon has had a camping episode on and Laurel had been counting the days until we were on our own camping trip. She helped us put up the tent and bounced around all over putting everything away. Food went immediately into bear boxes. She was also excited to roast marshmallows but after one taste, she wasn't really interested. Laurel is easily deterred from eating things because of the potentional mess and stickiness. Once i decided to hold it for her, she was willing to eat it, but she'd rather go without all together than get her hands sticky! Knowing her need to be neat and clean, I figured the dirt would be much more of a problem, but it really wasn't. She threw a fit over not being allowed to wear dresses and she was a little afraid of the dark. The first night she constantly asked what the various noises were and nervously shines her flashlight around. She quickly settled in and got used to it. I ordered her a tickerbell sleeping bag and brought her fleece little mermaid blanket. The nights were quite cold, we had to bundle up. But Laurel stayed up later than normal, so she was out the second her head hit the pillow (her lady bug pillow pet!). She also slept in each morning.
Audrey was a real trooper for beign just 7.5 months old. She napped on the go, she ate on the go. The days were warmer than I had expected, so I tried to carry her around by hand instead of pressed up against me in her carrier. I bought her a tiny pop up tent that went at my head in the tent. She went to sleep in it just fine with her music player, blanket and baby. But we had trouble getting into the tent ourselves to go to sleep after her. She would wake up and act frantic and ended up sleeping with me all night. It was definitely not comfortable and I realized I wasn't a teenager anymore when my body screamed at me every night from sleeping on the hard ground. I'll know better for next time!
Laurel enjoyed the sightseeing but was always anxious to get back to the campsite. I'm pretty sure she thought we'd just be in the tent all day and night:). Our 2nd and 3rd nights spent up north, we met a family that had a 3 year old boy and a 10 month old girl. Laurel and the little boy hit it off and they played each night. It was nice for her to have a little play time and run around. The campsite those nights was spacious and really lovely. Towards the end of the trip though, she started to get tired from all of the walking. She really kept up for a while, but she started to get a cold and all of the walking was wearing her out. On the 3rd day she crashed and we had to take some time out of the day to let her nap. On the last night, our neighbors were a german couple with a 4 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. The little girl was so infatuated with Laurel. It was quite enlightening to watch them play - not speaking each other's language.
The park on the whole was a great introduction for her to camping life. Fairly easy activity, reasonable weather, and bathrooms we could deal with:). No showers, so on the 3rd morning, Megan and I held her over the large wash sink and cleaned her hair and body. Audrey received a sponge bath on the 2nd night. Each day we took different walks to see the great sequoias. Laurel was excited to point out the large trees and collect pine cones.
We drove home after a detour to visit a cave. The drive was later in the day and Audrey was so tired. We had a great time! Laurel crashed on the drive home too and we came back to LA in peace:).