Sportsman’s Report Summer time plans and tenting with kids | Sports activities


Thinking ahead, beyond a restless Europe, beyond the next variant, to summer holidays and short vacations. It’s hard to erase some of what’s in the daily news and look back at the first normal summer in more than two years; a Fourth of July celebration with hot dogs, cold watermelon and finding shade. Swimming in the mill pond, do we have mill ponds? A word of caution about swimming, last summer the Russian River became unsafe for swimming due to algae growth. In normal summers, the lowest discharges are recorded from July 1st. Here are a few ideas to plan a summer vacation for your family.

The first step in planning a summer camping trip is to gather some information about you and your group. Are you a family? age group of children? Are you experienced campers or are you new to the dirt? Are bathrooms a priority and possibly a quarter shower? What travel time can you and the children reasonably accommodate? The list goes on and on. Once you have a good idea of ​​what works for you, the next step is to outline your happiness. If you have children under the age of ten, this would be your first priority. Exposing young people to an eight-hour drive (or longer if my father drove) can turn into a nightmare. For the little ones, two hours is the maximum. A potty stop, leg stretch, and water for the dog are essential to a happy journey. As an old man who loves road trips, two-hour breaks are essential to relieve a sore back and stiff knees. My travel buddy and I swap driving at these stops and we have a maximum of eight hours a day on the road.

If you have young children and are new to camping, consider the KOA at Petaluma. Easy drive, close to home if you forgot to feed your birds it’s a short hop home and back. A notebook is important for this test run. Make a list of things that would have made the trip easier. Generally geared towards families, the KOA’s are crowded, noisy, and simple. One thing my mom taught me was to bring a friend for every child, one that you and they like. They entertain each other instead of getting bored or annoying the younger siblings. If your goal is to teach them to fish with you as they grow, just break them in. Bluegills off the dock with a Spider-Man pole or a Barbie pole is just the ticket. Toddlers and tiny tots are required to wear a life jacket around the water, drowning near a parent is the number one fatality for young children. For girls or boys who want a high Eeew! factor, start with a small jar of bait such as scented marshmallows for trout etc. Gently re-insert the fish to teach conservation and sportiness. One thing kids love is the campfire. You’ll learn about smoke and fire safety and the joy of sitting by the fire after dinner and sharing stories about your day. A word of caution, toddlers have no sensibility near a fire, they will fall into the fire pit, a real hazard. Make sure you pack a camp chair for each person and a Weenie stick for each child. Make sure you schedule at least one night of fire-roasted hot dogs, fries, and beans. Hot chocolate packages are a must for every night.

Day trips with your little campers are best if it’s a short drive, or even better, a very short walk. Your next long weekend camping getaway could be at Cassini Ranch in Duncans Mills. Less than an hour’s drive from home, the family-run establishment sits on a bend in the river. The country store is full of things you forgot to pack and there’s plenty of ice cream to choose from. Eating ice cream on the porch in front of the country store, watching the traffic come and go and being able to touch the silly antics of the little songbirds will always be fond memories. The country shop also sells duck feed and the small mud pond is full of ducks and geese. Make sure you carry the duck food ice cream cone yourself or the birds will overwhelm your little one. Cassini has a long, wide gravel bar on the Russian River, great fun swimming and crafting in the shallows near Mama. The beach is not far from the campsites, often a short walk back for lunch or a nap. They offer a daily fee if you want to have a picnic there.

Another basic camp is beautiful MacKerricher State Beach on the north end of the seaside town of Fort Bragg. The well-stocked Cleone Pond is fun for the older children and the nightly Junior Ranger activities are always popular. Everyone should have a bike and their own flashlight for this park. There are miles of safe hiking trails. From home drive to Willits then downhill on Hwy. 20 to Fort Bragg is about two hours.

All three venues are full, reservations are hard to come by in the summer. They each have a good website to help you make reservations.

A Sonoma County native, Bill Hanson is a lifelong athlete. He is the past president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.