OT: Lair of the Bear question
We got our tent assignment for the Lair today (Camp Gold). This will be the first time we've gone for a week. I'm wondering about others' experience bringing young children.
I have a 6 year old boy and 3 year old girl. I have no concerns about the 6 year old, but our 3 year old doesn't have any experience "roughing it." We're a little concerned that she's slightly too young to make the experience worthwhile.
I would appreciate any thoughts or recommendations one way or the other. Have you brought a 3 year old and enjoyed it ... or hated it?
Make friends with the Kub Koral staff who can help with your 3 year old, and even provide an evening babysitting so you and your wife can get away for dinner. We've brought 2-3 year olds and although it's tougher at that age, she should have fun, if you don't mind her rolling in the dirt. Pat Graffis is the Camp Gold manager and is a great guy!
Roll with it. I attended with my kids younger. Heaven on earth for kids. Odd bear cub digging milk out of the tent cooler, creeks with trout and a swimming pool. Lake and horse riding close by - a break from the routine.................
I posted a similar question here four years ago, except my littlest was just over one at the time. A lot of folks said "go for it". The problem was, too, that she was a poor sleeper (ear problems). We went early, mid-June. When we went to bed the first night, it was about 70 degrees in the tent. When our daughter woke about three hours later, it was about 45!
Basically, every night was miserable for us. My wife would give me the baby every morning at about 6 AM and I'd walk her in the stroller in very cold weather until breakfast. Plus, she was too young for Cub Corral.
Even with that, though, we had a pretty good week. Did we return the next year? No! (But we're returning next year!)
Bottom line, if you're going in June, be prepared for cold at night.
A three-yr-old should be fine, unless she usually cries a lot at night. She will like Cub Corral during the day, unless she has never been to pre-school. Heck, she still might like it. You also have to be okay with her getting dirty and maybe falling down a lot.
Meals at the Lair tend to be more fun when your kid is old enough that you don't need to monitor them every second.
The Lair is great: We're going back!
We just got allocated Gold as well. Last year was our first time and we were at Oski for a weekend and our youngest was 2. You can leave your child at Kub Korral with staff if they are potty trained. Since ours wasn't, there was one of us parents there at Kub Korral with her. It wasn't ideal, but we still had a blast and are coming back this year very excited that we'll have a potty trained 3 year old - us parents will enjoy a few hours break each day!
The lair is cold at night. I suggest making sure that you have plenty of blankets. We would always bring a feather bed, put two beds together and the feather bed on top of the mattresses, and a few down comforters on top of that. Once you get beyond the night cold and the dirt, it is fabulous.
You have to let the kids get dirty, and just go to the pool every day. The pools are critical for the little ones. It is a respite from the dirt. Make sure you bring some clothes line to hang up your wet towels / suits every day.
3 is a great age to start. Lots of work the first time, but you will get the hang of it. Just don't think it will be like going to a resort (except for the prices). Bring a big cooler for drinks for the kids, and bring lots of snacks in a big plastic box for the kids (perhaps a rodent proof box). Then, just relax, and have a glass of wine. The kids will like the shows and the staffers will help out for cash.
Thanks, everyone, for your responses. I'm noticing a theme.
Lots of Lair campers swear by electric blankets. I may go that route, when I make my return. Doesn't really seem like "camping" though, does it?
Note that Pinecrest in later June, July or early August might not even be cold at night... unless it is.
True Blue Golden Bear
Bring rain gear. Tarps (with something to tie it up), jackets etc. Lights with extension cords.
IMO, the rain is a big deal. It used to rain for a half day or more almost every year growing up, then it didnt for years. I am guessing this year may be a year with rain showers once in a while (I dont know while, just a feeling).
Thats my advice.
We brought our 4-year old and 7-year old last year, and both loved it. They are already asking if it's time to go back yet. I echo what others said above, and would add a few tips that worked really well for us:
- Bring stuff to do while the youngest is not in the Kub Korral (which only occupies about 4 hours per day). We brought a scooter, sand toys, pool toys, games, etc.
- Make friends with the other families in the Kub Korral so that your kid has someone to play with at all times.
- We made several day trips to the lake. Even though our kids found the water too cold for swimming, they loved exploring the shoreline.
- Send your kids down to the creek that runs through the camp. Ours spent hours wading through the water looking for ladybugs. Bring crocs or some sort of decent water shoes for this activity.
Remember that if your kids are bored, none of you are having a good time. Come prepared for that, and I think you will have an amazing week. Good luck!
Kids are born wild animals and we slowly train the wildness out of them - but it takes a decade or so. You may doubt their ability to "rough it" until you get them in those conditions and you realize they're just fine because they haven't yet been fully "civilized," and if anything, it's YOU who's having the problem adjusting.
Originally Posted by BearInTennisShoes
I think you and your 3-year old will be totally fine. There have been SO many, many families who have brought kids starting from birth and almost everyone has a good time. You may have a morning or two where you're sitting at the lodge at 6:00 a.m. after a relatively sleepless night and wondering, "why are we doing this?" but almost invariably people adjust by about day 3 and you end up having a great week.
I would only say DO NOT have any food items in canvas backpacks, as the squirrels will enter your tent, chew unsightly holes for access, and ruin your backpacks before you can say "NUTS".
My next-door-neighbors have t-shirts that say that! Except they TOTALLY misspelled "rocks", as "c-h-e-a-t-s". Go figure...
Originally Posted by GoCal80
When I was on Lair Staff (back in the day), I proudly never used an electric blanket (we called them EBs). Now that I'm a few decades past that, I sleep under an EB every night I'm up there. It is well worth the comfort and a good night's sleep.
The Treb lives!