Sunday, August 03, 2008

Happy Campers

We had a wonderful camping trip, however, I have to admit that John and I are pretty tuckered out now that we have everything unloaded and put away. Camping is not exactly a trip to the Hyatt.....

We ended up with nine different families - as well as a couple of one-day visitors. And, I loved having every single one of our camping companions. We had tent campers, "pop-up trailer" campers, "camper" campers, and full on "travel trailer" campers (they were the luxury liners of this trip). Next year, I think we'll have a full-on Monaco Coach joining us..... We also had 3 boats going for the trip - four when our buddies, the Kokkelers, joined us on Saturday day.

This is our 7th annual group camping trip. The first two years were spent at Little Fawn Campground on Elk Lake on the Cascade Lakes Highway. That place is still near and dear to my heart, - we had half of the campground devoted to us and the kids - all little at the time, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED traveling in a pack and getting so VERY dirty. Dirt was the number one reason we chose to leave that place - the fine, silty dirt covered everything.....

The second camping destination was Hot Springs Campground at East Lake (next to Paulina). We had the entire campground there, and once again, the kids loved taking the place over with their bikes and activities. Boats were allowed on the lake, but not for skiing which is why we finally decided to end up where we are now (that, and the long distance away).....

So, now, we find ourselves at year two of camping at Packard Creek Campground on Hills Creek Reservoir. It's only about 15 minutes from Oakridge, thus an hour and 15 minutes from our house. There are many advantages to this location, but I will admit that I very much miss the high desert/mountain smell.... but gazing at the stars with Mikayla on Thursday night made me realize we are definitely far enough away from civilization to qualify for good camping. (No cell service and no internet too!).

I really resisted combining the camping element with the boating as I feared it would change the entire feel and "goal" of camping. I was right - it has - but, I'm okay with it. To be honest, my best moments of the weekend happened on the boat and not at the campsite, so there you go - lesson learned. We kept the boat going constantly - particularly on Saturday - with an adults-only ride in the morning - Michele and I, along with Travis, John, and Phil (when it was QUITE chilly still) - another boat ride in the afternoon doing an innertube run with the Meyers family, and finally, a "Ladies Run" - with Michele, Amy, Nancy, Kris, Lisa S., Mikayla and myself - and of course, John as the driver. That was a blast - everyone had a chance to do something - either slalom skiing or wakeboarding - the highlight came watching Lisa S. try wakeboarding for the first time ever - and being successful. That boat ride emphasized to me, once again, just how blessed I am to have the ladies in my life that I do.....

Another highlight was being thrown around in the innertube with Brayden. I had no desire to get cold or wet at the time, but he really wanted me to go. That desire for Mom to hop in the innertube with him isn't going to happen indefinitely- so, joined him. We took some wild bumps (partly because the tube had partially deflated). I was shocked at his grip strength because I nearly went flying and I had long enough legs to brace myself.... but, we made it. On a funny note, when he flew out on a previous run with Nati (the only time that happened this weekend) - he calmly exclaimed "Oh My" when we came around to get him.... He and Ellie have the absolute funniest one-liners......

There was also lots of opportunities to chat with folks I don't normally chat with- which can be such a treat. It's also nice to just put up the hammock and ignore the world for a while. Remarkably, this camping trip will be remembered as the best "sleeping" camping trip on record. John and I slept 10 hours last night - (as did the kids). Our air mattresses worked perfectly, we were warm enough, and the camp was quiet enough.....what a difference in the quality of a camping experience that can make!

As for the rest of the details, I'll let the pictures dictate......

When I described the camping accommodations for everyone - we are in the "economy" section- this was our home for four days:

John, Michele, the kids and I went out early Friday morning - the lake was GLASS - so awesome!

We picked up Tanner once it got a bit choppy and those boys caught some air-

The S'mores ingredients were brought out on Friday night to the delight of the kiddos-

After S'mores, the boys did a little "Hide and Seek" with the Laser Tag vests and guns that Mike and Janet brought

I love this shot of Amy, Mark, and Champ - clearly getting a kick out of something-

Randy and Nancy - looking happy as well-

Unfortunately, the weather and lake turbulence wasn't nearly as "sweet" on Saturday morning, but that didn't stop Phil from enjoying a run on the wakeboard-

Later on in the day, the sun came out - and the ladies loaded the boat - here's Kris and Nancy

Amy might not love this shot, but I love that look on her face. Despite her apprehension, she did great on the wakeboard, and looked even more amazing skiing slalom.

Nancy, skiing like the pro she is.....

And, here's Kris, looking very determined (but having a great time!)

Michele probably won't love this shot either, but I think the fact that her mouth is open, which indicates she's singing praise songs - and the rainbow is behind her is a bit indicative of the "miracle" that is slalom skiing for Michele.....

And, finally, here's Lisa S. (Phil's wife). Today was her first attempt at wakeboarding and we were LOVING watching her give it a shot - and make it up successfully. The smile on her face says it all!

The "Ladies Night Out" on the boat .....

This shot was taken this morning - I just love how the kids all found fun things to do.....

Finally, the humans weren't the only ones who had fun out on the water - this is Koda - going for the tennis ball launched out off of the dock.....

3 comments:

Growin' with it! said...

oh man! mike has been braggin' on this one about koda and he is right...INCREDIBLE! that dog can get some air. loved all these pix!

and HMPH! bummed i missed that invite. ah, well, we are going camping this weekend.

at my inlaws ranch....
where my M.I.L wants to "cook for us"...(grr, i know ungrateful sounding)...and the boys will probably want to be somewhere with their cousins...and c & i will sit cranky at the river wishing we had somewhere....ANYWHERE we could afford to go for our vacation this year.

your weekend looked fabulous. you are so blessed with such great friends!

HollieHobbie said...

wish we could've been there! It is so fun seeing everyone.

richard said...

Woo hoo whay to shred!!!!! I miss my boat and wakeboard!

Looks like you had a great time!