Well, we made it back from our first camping trip of the season and it was a huge success. Everyone did so well, that none of us wanted to leave yesterday.
The trick for the dogs: Keeping them busy! I bought a variety of chew treats to keep them chewing and of course we walked them as much as possible.
Of course there are certain places they are not allowed to go inside the campground: the inside pool, the mini golf course (as you can see we were really roughing it! In our defense we don't use these feature... but probably only because the dogs can't come with us).
But we were able to do something really fun, that we could take the dog's with us.... Letterboxing!
What is letterboxing? Think of it as a worldwide scavenger hunt! You can find "clues" online to thousands of letterboxes throughout North America. So you pinpoint where you will be and you print out clues that then take you to a variety of locales and you follow clues like, "Park facing the big tree with three branches, take 40 steps north, turn to your right and head toward the tree that looks like a giraffe. Look up to find your treasure." The treasure is typically a waterproofed box that holds a stamp, stamp pad and a notebook. The participant, in turn also has a notebook and their own stamp.
Once you find the letterbox you stamp in the box's journal, writing who you are and when you found the letterbox. Be sure to thumb through the journal to see who else has visited. Also be sure to write in your dogs' names! More and more dog owners are participating in Letterboxing because it is a great way to get you and your dog out of the house. This movement is thanks, in part, to the Dog Scouts of America a group of people who encourage owners to get their dogs out to do stuff. Dog Scout members can also earn badges in Letterboxing.
But I digress, once you have stamped your stamp (or doggy language marked your spot saying "I was here.") you take the stamp you have found in the letterbox and stamp in your own journal. It creates a wonderful keepsake that you can look back at for years to come.
Now, I first heard about Letterboxing via the Dog Scouts. It sounded intriguing, but we never tried it. Last summer, my friend Kathy and her sister started taking their kids. And they loved it! So we went with them one day and I was so excited at how excited the kids were at finding the boxes (or "treasure" as my daughter calls it).
This weekend was the first time I took Mark or the dogs (the picture is at the site of our first "family" letterbox find). Our friends Kathy & Scott and their son Kyle came with us for guidance, as they are letterbox pros.
For more info, or to find letterboxes located in North America, visit this site.
Also, if you go letterboxing don't forget to bring water for you and the dogs, and bags for cleaning up.
When we got back to the campsite the dogs were so tired they settled in on their beds with some chew treats and we didn't hear a peep out of them all night!
Ahh, the great outdoors, tired kids and dogs... and the campfire. It doesn't get any better!
PS - In Letterboxing, most people carve their own stamp. We are not this talented. Mark wants a stamp of a greyhound holding a light sabre (unfortunately I am not kidding!). So if anyone knows someone who could create one, please let me know!