The campout this year was full of surprises. I must preface this by saying that Mark ended up having to work the SECOND year in a row. If it wasn't for the fact that I KNOW he loves camping, I MIGHT think that was more than just coincidence...That left me flying solo taking the kids on the 3 day, 2 night campout. But I wasn't really alone. My oldest, Bryan, is an extremely wonderful Boy Scout and completely competent camper. I could not have done this without him (or at least it wouldn't have been nearly as fun!).
We were one of the first families to make it up to camp Thursday afternoon. I had packed up the car the night before and was mostly ready to go the next morning after adding a few last minute things. We drove the 3 1/2 hours up past Clint's Well to the campground and proceeded to pick out a nice shady spot and set up camp.
The raindrops began to fall just as we were finishing the tent. It proceeded to a torrential downpour in a matter of about 30 seconds. Bryan had brought his own tent that he uses on Scout campouts, while I had the other 3 kids with me in the big tent. We all went into our tents and sat there, bored, waiting for it to stop, or at least lighten up a bit. We hadn't yet had time to unload the games and things we had brought to pass the time from the car, and none of us were going to get soaked going to get them.
As we sat listening to it coming down outside one of my children commented that they were getting dripped on. They moved over near me. Then I felt the drops. As we looked around we realized the rain was leaking through the ceiling of our tent all over the place. There weren't any holes we could see. It was just coming through the seams (later I found out that it is a good idea to seal the seams of your tent every couple of years, starting with the first day you bring it home from the store). The rain showed no signs of lightening up.
Just then I heard Bryan outside. He had heard us talking to each other about the drips and had run over to our car and found some extra tarps we had brought and was proceeding to cover our tent with them. That cute boy was getting soaked as he tried to protect his family from the rain. My heart almost burst with the love I have for him. He didn't complain. He saw a need and went to work. Man is he amazing!
The rain lasted for about 30 minutes and then it was over. We got out of our tent only to discover it was sitting in about 3-inch deep water. Our nice shady spot was actually a bit lower than the surrounding land. We needed to move our tent. When that was finally accomplished we decided it was time to start thinking about dinner.
Bryan had made tin-foil dinners for each of us the night before. He had cooked them in the oven to make it quicker when we reached camp. All I had to do was go over to a friend's camper to borrow their microwave and warm them up. Bryan makes a great foil dinner! It was still drizzling here and there, so we decided to save the s'mores for the next night.
It is so funny to me how my kids fight going to bed when we are at home, but when we go camping they can't WAIT to climb into that fun tent and go to sleep! Bryan and Morgan stayed up wandering the campsites with their friends for awhile, but Colton and Kyle were down for the count within minutes. Camping wears you out, but man is it fun!
Friday we got up and had cereal and milk. When it is just me running the show, as much as I love to cook, I keep the food simple. Otherwise I would spend the entire time cooking and cleaning up! The kids never complain. They are just excited to be out there.
We don't have a ton of camping equipment - a few tents, ice chests, a table and chairs, flashlights, lantern, sleeping bags, and that's kind of it. But every year I try to get one more thing to add to our supplies. A couple years ago I bought a $5 solar shower from Walmart. It worked OK. You lay a black vinyl bag full of water out in the sun. After a couple of hours it isn't ice cold (not super warm but not cold either) and you hang it up in a tree and take a shower. I'd put a swim suit on and I could wash the grime off. I don't mind camping and getting dirty, as long as I have a way to get clean. I don't like climbing into a sleeping bag all sticky and dirty. I also like being able to rinse off in the morning.
Last year I bought a shower tent enclosure so I could actually have some privacy. The solar shower hung from a hook in the tent. Better.
This year I went ahead and got a shower heater plus pump. That was heaven! It's powered by batteries and heated with a one-pound propane tank. You stick the pump in a bucket of water and have an instant hot shower! Bryan asked to use it Friday morning. I told him if he got everything set up he could have the first shower. We were both so happy to have a shower that morning!
The ward had organized several activities. The teenagers (and some of the adults) were playing volleyball. Bryan had a lot of fun with that...
Some of the fathers had set up a BB gun shooting range. Kyle and Colton were in heaven...
Our ward Scoutmaster, who is also an amazing carpenter, had brought up a lathe and was helping anyone who wanted to make wood hammers. They picked out branches from the campsite and made some really cool hammers. Colton and Kyle both loved it!
Other ward members set up a long, high zipline going from one tree to another. It was amazing!
Morgan had fun hanging out with her friends and climbed quite a few trees (a little higher than I would have liked). She's about 30 feet off the ground in this picture...
Lunch while were camping was sandwiches. Thursday night we roasted hotdogs.
We got rained on again Friday afternoon. Thankfully, our tent was now covered and in a better spot - no leaks! We enjoyed the rest of the day and had a wonderful ward campfire that night.
Saturday morning everyone awoke to a yummy ward sponsored pancake breakfast. Bryan and I then proceeded to pack up camp while the other kids were off playing. Bryan and I had that camp taken down and packed away pretty quickly. I was so grateful to have him there.
On the way home we stopped along the way to pick up Wendy's frosties - our reward for all our hard work. We'll be up there again next summer! Hopefully with my husband in tow...