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We are big into camping in our family. We try to always go on a couple of camping trips each summer as a family. I just think it is such an affordable, memorable and fun experience together. I love that the kids (and let’s face it, the adults too) get away from electronic devices and distractions and we all get to reconnect and spend quality time together as a family. As the kids get older and involved in more things it has become harder and harder to find the time to get away as often, so I was super excited to hear that there was a free campsite that you could even reserve ahead of time online right at the base of the mountain in east Kaysville. 

With Dad working until late Friday night, and the kids having commitments Saturday afternoon, we thought it would be the perfect chance to save a spot, drive up Friday evening, make a late dinner and then sit around the fire talking and enjoying being outside before heading into our tent. In the morning we figured we could fix breakfast together, explore the local nature trails and then pack up and be home in plenty of time since the campsite was literally only 10 minutes from our house. 

So I packed up the car… which used to be no big thing, but by the time you load up a family size tent, a playpen, 6 sleeping bags, 6 pillows, 6 camp chairs, some firewood, a child hiking carrier, a camp stove, a Dutch oven and a cooler of food, plus the 6 people that plan to use all that stuff, there was absolutely no room left. I felt like I was playing a game of Tetris trying to fit everything into the back of our small SUV.

Even the 2-year-old ended up having to hold things on his lap and balance his feet over a bag of stuff. I didn’t even bring us a change of clothes, we were just going to sleep in our day clothes and then come home to shower and get changed once we got back, but we still ended up with far more junk than anyone should need for a mere 12 hour long trip. 

So after all my effort image my distress when we arrived at our destination to find a quadruple locked gate blocking our path. We found an after-hours number to call for assistance only to be told that we should park there and carry our stuff in… the site was only about a mile further down the road.  And she managed to tell me that in a pleasant, ‘aren’t I helpful’ sounding voice. I just sat there staring at my 4 children and our carload of food and equipment, it was already after 7 o’clock, one of us would have to stay with the kids, leaving only one parent to ferry everything back into the site… there was no way we were going to make camp before dark and our kids were starving. 

So we begrudgingly turned around and headed home. At this point I was so irritated that I wanted to call the whole thing off, luckily my husband talked us all into salvaging what we could of the night and took us home to camp in the backyard… I had already purchased ‘camp food’ and hauled an entire car worth of stuff up from the basement after all. So in the end we made camp in the backyard instead and still had a pretty great time together. 

We made our dinner, 

roasted marshmallows, 

observed the native wildlife, 

jumped on the trampoline in place of our nature walk, 

used our flush toilets and running water inside the house, watched the sun set,

told ghost stories,

made shadow puppets on the tent wall, 

and finally got everyone to sleep. 

All in all it worked out, sometimes you have to be flexible. And if anyone knows about finding a way into these elusive campsites, please share, we'd love to try again, because the nature trail and orienteering course up at East Mountain Wilderness Park looks incredible. 

Unfortunately, we failed at figuring it out for you this time!

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East Mountain Wilderness Park: Unfortunately, we can't give you a review on this place...yet.

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