Monday, August 23, 2010


That harmless sounding phrase was put in all caps, because that is what we were awoken to, from site 16, both Saturday and Sunday morning, around 6:30am - being bellowed by that camp's resident. We all felt like yelling back, "Well, if Jim's not awake, the rest of us are!"

Fortunately, that was probably the worst we dealt with during the time we camped from Thursday through Sunday. Which was a lot better than I thought it would be, because the day before leaving, on Wednesday, I was ready to scrap the whole adventure.

Dad had actually been the one to tip us off that we had a potential problem on our hands on Wednesday. He called to tell us that he'd gotten some "intel" that Hills Creek Reservoir - where we'd planned on going (and have gone for the last 4 or so years), had been drained to a VERY low level - eliminating the swimming area, and making the place pretty desolate. Hmmm, good news to have the day before going there. We debated driving up and checking it our for ourselves, but figured it would be more productive to actually do some scouting for a better location. Fortunately, Michele was down (I don't know what I would have done if she wasn't - so thankful for that) - so, we quickly loaded the girls in the car (left the boys behind) - and ventured off in the direction of Green Peter Reservoir.

The whole thing was a bit of a downer to me as I felt like what we were doing was trying to find a compromise to everyone's desires, that would result in "lukewarm satisfaction" for any one person at best. We needed to find a good place to ski/wakeboard to make John, Michele, and Travis happy; Dad would really enjoy a place with decent fishing; I wanted a place that felt like "real wilderness" where we went camping; and this year, especially, travel distance was an issue - as Brayden and I had to return to Eugene on Friday for his middle school orientation, Mom was hit and miss with a horse clinic, and Michael had to return on Friday for work. The internet showed promise with three different campgrounds along Green Peter Reservoir that was just as close to us as Hills Creek was. However, after winding all the way to the top with Michele (23 miles of winding, with a headache and no painkillers with me), we were sorely disappointed with the "just one" campground that was so tiny we'd never manage to get a boat or an RV into it, even if there was a spot available. Here's the girls posing while we took an "outhouse pit stop" at that tiny campground.

On the way back down, we stopped into the county campground we had passed - and were surprised that it actually held promise. (At that point, I was resigned to perhaps scratching the whole experience, and maybe breaking the weekend into day trips - designed to make each person happy for at least one day). We ended up reserving some ideal sites for us through the weekend, which was also a big relief as it took the pressure off of me on Thursday to determine which place would work best for everyone else. So, that's how we ended up at Whitcombe Creek Park at Green Peter Reservoir. Here's a pic of the spot we chose:

I have to say that it all turned out much better than I expected, maybe even enough to surpass Hills Creek and repeat again next year.

On to pictures - which, I have to admit, weren't a major priority for us to take this last weekend. Being lazy was kind of the operative goal.

This is a picture of Dad with the girls, who INSISTED that they wanted to go with him, versus on the boat with Michele, John, and Traig on Friday. (This was the day that many of us were gone). Dad was delighted with how great of helpers they were. They wished that they'd caught more fish, but settled on being pretty happy with catching (and releasing) plenty of salamanders.

By Friday evening, we had a full "site" of campers - as the Meyers had joined us and the rest of the crew (sans Mom) had returned. We announced that we would be leaving at 7 for an early morning boat run, and everyone opted to sleep in except Michele, myself, and Travis (who drove up Sat. morning for just the day). On Friday, the water had been "ocean-like" with its whitecaps and choppiness, so we were beyond thrilled to discover that that had been indeed a fluke, and generally (especially in the mornings), Green Peter is pretty smooth. This led to Travis and Michele partaking in both the wakeboard and the slalom. Despite the water temperature being warmer than any lake we've been to so far, the briskness of the morning had me believing there was "no way" I'd get in. However, it all looked just a bit too tempting, so even I took my turn on the wakeboard and was very glad I did. The water was indeed so smooth, and so warm, it was a blast and super fun run for me. (We actually all felt that way).

When we returned to camp, everyone seemed pretty content to sit around the fire. The kids had been so wound up playing "cops and robbers" and "capture the flag" that we were actually encouraging them to wind down a bit by watching a movie in the Schilling's trailer for a while. Notice the dirt all over their faces - and the food being consumed - that was a general theme of the weekend for everyone.

This location was a prime one for the kids - and the source of arguments for who got to claim it - just the roots of a huge tree, but somehow, in the kids' eyes, it was a world of so much more.

Just hangin' around the campfire.....

And, this was Brayden - for about 5 hours on Saturday. The poor guy accidentally poked a stick in his eye. No major harm done, but it hurt and he was majorly light-sensitive for the rest of the afternoon. Mikayla commented that it might have been the first time she ever witnessed him napping.

Later that afternoon, John and Mark were our heroes by taking the loud crew of kiddos to ride the innertube on the lake. I guess they all had a blast.......(despite the serious look on the boys' faces - that's just their pose these days!)

This seems to be a perfect pic to sum up the camping experience. That Saturday night offered plenty of s'mores, lots of laughter, and some fun "around the campfire" games. What a great crew to hang out with.........

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