Day tripping

October 17, 2012

Last weekend we had a major plan fail. We had hoped to spend the last long weekend of the school holidays camping with friends. Five families were all poised to go to a lovely nearby-ish creek and caves area for some camping and jolly good fun. Five families which included 12 kids aged from 6 to 16.

I had cooked and washed and everyone was raring to go. And then the rain came, and came and kept coming for two whole days. And so our plans were washed out … quite literally.

The forecast said that Sunday would be clear and so we adjusted the plan to a day trip instead. And my oh my it was a fun old day. Five families and 12 kids made the trip for the day.

We had a roaring fire, we roasted chicken and potatoes and apples and damper in our camp ovens, and we had marshmallows and pots of tea, the kids frolicked in the water, played hide and seek and soccer, and explored the creek, while others sat around the fire chatting and keeping half an eye on kids in the river.

It was an amazing end to the school break. Everyone had a good time, no tears, no accidents (which is kind of a miracle with such a big group of kids), everyone was determined to have a good time and did!

How to plan and execute a camp cooking day tripping lunch excursion for a bunch of families.

  1. Find a nice location within 90 minute drive area (less is better but more is too much). Ask friends for suggestions, do some research. Make sure the spot you choose has some fun activities or places to explore for a wide age range of kids. Check if there are toilet facilities and drinking water. Can you light a camp fire?
  2. Pick a day, check the weather forecast!
  3. Invite a few families from your community, school or scouts or craft group. A big group is fun, try for five families.
  4. Make sure you explain that you will cooking the dinner when you get there over a camp fire, so people can bring appropriate food. We had two families bring the chickens, others brought the potatoes, someone else made damper to cook, we assigned someone to bring firewood and we made sure to have enough camp ovens to do all the cooking. Don’t forget the tea and milk. And you will also need snacks to keep everyone going while they wait two hours for the dinner to cook.
  5. Check that everyone can bring a camp chair or blankets and a camp table is handy too. Bring a soccer ball and you might need a change of clothes for kids (they will fall in the river!).
  6. If some folks don’t know the way or aren’t used to driving on dirt tracks or out of the way roads, then arrange to drive in convoy and make sure everyone will converge at around the same time … especially important if mobile phones are out of range or someone gets a flat tyre.
  7. Light the camp fire straight away. Get the food on to cook, prepare snacks, set up the chairs, make some tea and then sigh as you relax and the kids go and play and explore.

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