The weather was looking great and I decided on Thursday to take my 5 1/2 year-old twins on a quick overnighter the next day. I asked around to see if anyone else could come with us but I didn't give people enough notice so it was just to be the three of us. Mom was on a business trip so we wouldn't even have her along.
I'm lucky enough to live near the Appalachian Trail so we didn't have far to go. I knew there was a shelter just .1 mile off Rte. 501 about 45 minutes north of us and that was my plan. The shelter is described as having a "year-round caretaker" (I had never been there) so I knew I wouldn't have to worry about a bunch of partiers carrying their beer in.
We arrived at the trailhead around 3:00 pm, put on our hiking boots and packs and began our trek.
We did the quick walk to the shelter only to find that the caretaker lives in a house about 30 feet from the shelter! It didn't seem like we were in the woods at all (more like being in someone's back yard) so I opted for "Plan B." I knew there was a campsite about 1/4 mile north on the AT so we headed for that...
We arrived at the campsite to happily find that we had it to ourselves. We set up camp - the girls were excited to be sleeping in a tent (my Lunar Duo) by themselves, knowing that Daddy would be right next to them in his hammock.
With camp established it was time to get water.
The spring (Pilger Ruh for those of you who know the area) has been around and documented since the middle 1700's. Somebody piped it to make it easier to use and my girls enjoyed taking turns filling my AquaStar.
After a nice freeze-dried dinner we made a small fire to roast marshmallows to make s'mores.
The girls eagerly changed into their jammies and crawled into their sleeping bags around 8:00. I got into my hammock and sang them a couple of songs and by 8:15 the sounds of sleep drifted out of the tent. They slept until 6:45 (their usual time to get up) and then helped me get the bear bag down after they changed back into their hiking clothing.
We had some hot chocolate and oatmeal for breakfast before beginning to pack up. Having twins (at least after the first year or two) is pretty easy, but when they conspire together they can be trouble...
In this case I got off easy because Zoe was simply asking her sister a Harry Potter question.
It had been a clear night and I enjoyed the stars (I had only tied up the ends of my tarp) but it started clouding over as we ate breakfast. We broke camp, policed the area for any trash (ours or others) and headed out for the 15-minute walk to the car.
We passed a scout troop heading the opposite way - the girls got a lot of smiles as we stood to the side as they passed. We arrived back at our car just as the rain started...Our timing couldn't have been better. I had raingear for them packed but was quite happy that we didn't need it.
It was a great Daddy-Daughters outing and they're already asking about the next one but now they want two nights. I'm not complaining!