Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back To Nature Florida Style

While most people probably picture Florida as all beaches and Disney World, our back country is beautiful as well, and the best time to enjoy it is between November and April, when the weather has turned cooler (finally!) and the rain is rare.  Most days during this time the sky is brilliant blue and cloudless…and lucky for us, this was the case this weekend.

Yes, we canoed the Peace River in the beginning of November with our Boy Scout troop…but FabPreteen is not allowed on these trips anymore and she has been fussing about taking her on one of these overnighters. 

Traditionally we go family camping every year Thanksgiving weekend…so we decided this year to make it a family canoe trip.

Starting off, you know how I have been complaining about the record high temps this fall?  Well early in the week was no exception….80s!  Yes..80s here!  The early part of the week was pretty brutal as far as heat was concerned….BUT…

Of course, as soon as we are going to be unprotected, outside, and vulnerable to the elements, guess what!  We had a big ole’ cold front come through…with great comfy temps in the daytime (low 70s or so….HEY…stop laughing at me all you northerners!!) but in the mid- to low 40s at night, chilly at night in a tent.  I was very worried about the kids…especially FabPreteen who wanted to sleep alone in a tent (another thing I am not crazy about!)

We own two canoes…but one is only for one person, so we decided to rent another canoe for the kids.   After digging around at the outfitter’s website, we discovered a 12 mile route (compared to the 20-miler we did a few weeks ago) and opted for this route instead.   Also…I saw that the outfitter owned a piece of property along the river and instead of just pulling over alongside a nice portion of riverbank to camp (which is what we usually do) we could stay at their site for the night, at no extra charge.   Still completely primitive…no running water…no electricity…no showers…but it did have Port-A-Potties, which I thought might be a little easier with the FabPreteen along. 

Only catch for staying here…we could not use our own canoe!  But while going back and forth on this with FabHubs, I saw that for $30 they would deliver all our gear to our site as well, which would make it so much easier on us with the three kids, two canoes, and space at a premium.  We may be tent campers but we are not  minimalists and between wanting to eat well and staying warm we had a lot of equipment to bring, more than would fit in a canoe comfortably.

So after going back and forth a while on this, FabHubs and I decided we would just rent both canoes, let them bus us to the drop off point instead of having to deal with getting our own canoe there, and have our equipment delivered.   Downright spoiled and luxurious as far as camping is concerned, don’t you think???  HeeHee!

Friday morning was spent in a frenzy of packing and getting ready….my brother and fam were still in town and we wanted to visit with them before we left as well.   (Yes..I try to cram it all in!)  By 5 p.m. we were finally ready, with the exception of getting the food into coolers, but I had a list of what I needed to grab in the wee hours of the morning so I wouldn’t forget anything in my bleary-eyed state.  We then went to my mom’s for dinner and had dinner with family (brother, wife, 5 girls, sister, her two kids, my aunt, mom’s SO, and even my dad dropped in for a visit).  We stayed until about 10ish…with a 40-minute drive home. 

The plan was to pack on Friday, get up really early Saturday to be at the outfitter by 10 am (a 3-1/2 hour trip) and be in the river by 11.   And so we did!

Stay tuned for more to come…….

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