“If you ask again whether you can light the fire, my answer will change from ‘maybe’ to ‘no.'” It’s an autopilot response only.  Because of course the campfire lighting, plus s’mores to follow, are very very veryveryvery exciting. Every. Single. Time.

I’m kind of excited about it myself.

The children and I are cabin-camping at BaseCamp at Golden Gate Canyon. It’s my first cabin-camp, my first campground experience, and my first time “out” alone with the girls.

I feel a little hollow, being unhitched for this weekend. But, since I’m the only adult in spitting distance . . .

. . . I’m saying “yes” to everything. Swimming at Gilpin County Community Center? Yes! BaseCamp playground instead of our regularly scheduled dinner? Yes!  Race around the nearby ball fields after dark? Yes! Fruit snack pouch just before a meal? Yes!

The cubs probably wonder which aliens abducted their mother. But they are not trying very hard to get her back.

BaseCamp is sparkling clean, pleasantly quiet, and feels safe as houses. Our cabin has a wall heater and a single LED bulb, which could be a Louis XIV chandelier for how happy it’s making me. With heat, beds, and a little light, I can manage anything.

Even Sylvia, the Mamamobile, looks relaxed.

We are all beyond hungry as the girls bring their dolls to the picnic table. I’m not winning any awards for camp cuisine tonight: dinner is half-warmed-over chicken nuggets. The girls cheerfully devour every bite.

Then it’s time, time at last, for the s’mores.

I manage to start a smoky fire. Cub #1 gets to use the lighter. (Knives in the last post, lighters in this post, yes, I know.)

But they look so happy.

We tackle s’mores without really waiting for coals, because I have some doubt about whether I can keep this fire going.

I don’t have cell service here. No Facebook. No wireless. I am entertained by my daughters, who are leaping and dancing around the fire, spinning in the smoke. “Mom! Look! We are fire faeries!” they announce. Of course they are.

Paper-cup chianti partners surprisingly well with s’mores. But what doesn’t?

In the morning, we explore Golden Gate Canyon State Park enough to conclude that more planning is needed next time.

The park is full of hikes, small and large.  I’m game to tackle one, but my Mama-sense knows it would be a mistake.  The girls clearly are suffering from a “morning-after-Mom-said-yes-to-everything” hangover. And DH, who delighted us all by driving up in the middle of the night straight from the airport, is feeling the effects of his generous gesture, to-wit, four hours of sleep.

So we drive through the pretty park end-to-end, pulling over for a cold picnic with a view at Panorama Point.  Then I take the girls swimming one more time, while DH heads home to catch up on phone calls.

Unpacking later that day, I reflect upon how unspeakably lucky we are to have all these choices in easy driving distance.

Less nobly, I also reflect upon a sound piece of Internet advice which I will not ignore again:

After packing this much stuff, you should plan to stay out at least two nights.