Thursday, September 2, 2010

Live the Moment

We are not what you would call hard-core campers. Our main objective is to be outside. Sit around the campfire, maybe enjoy a hike or two, then crash in a tent complete with air mattress and sheets. We don't even use sleeping bags.

To get our last-minute camping fix before summer ends, we ventured up Big Cottonwood Canyon with Lisa and her family for one night of outdoor adventure.

First order of business upon reaching the campsite: dinner. Lisa and I chopped vegetables for tinfoil dinners while Chris and Christian set up our tent. Somehow in the midst of that, the dads managed to switch babies...

Dinner was delicious. Even though we forgot the meat. Occasional vegetarianism isn't all bad.

After messing around for a while,

and seeing as there was still a couple hours of daylight left after dinner, we opted to hike up a trail near our campsite. Jane wanted to try out the hiking backpack. What do you think?

We opted against Jane carrying herself and instead loaded up the kids all off-ground. Pretty stylish, eh? All eight of us all together!

It was so nice to be up away from the smog. You forget after awhile how bad the air smells until you get away from it for just a bit. It was lovely.

This particular trail gave us quite a variety of views. After the super-steep stretch at the beginning, of which I have no pictures because it was hard to climb and way too hard to multitask while climbing, we had to cross a stream that cut through the path.

The trees thinned out for a while and we hiked through shoulder-high (on me) plants. Cute family, by the way.

We designated a quitting time so we'd be back to camp before dark. And what ended up being the top of our hike, we came to a nice meadow. Complete with cute daughter,

and studly husband.

It was really nice to hang out after the hike, enjoying the fire.

A moment to brag about my husband (again--"studly" also counts as bragging). He made the absolute best, most delicious, tastiest s'more ever. Ever.

The trick, apparently, is melting the chocolate by setting the graham cracker-chocolate sandwich on the edge of the fire pit while roasting the marshmallow to perfection. Mmmm...I'm hungry again just thinking about it.

As far as stories go, however, the night wins. First off, the actual tent site within the campsite was a good 30 yards away, up a little trail of its own.

That was inconveniently far away for our taste. We opted instead to set up our tent in the parking area. Lisa's family was sleeping in their van, so no competition there. Just pull the cars forward enough to make a spot and there we go.

(This picture was actually taken in the morning when the tent was coming down. It totally doesn't matter, but I couldn't let myself go on giving the wrong impression in my writing. Sigh.)

As I said, we take a large air mattress camping. Megan was sleeping in the pack-n-play and Jane had a three-inch thick sleeping pad we borrowed from my parents, which they long ago borrowed from my dad's boss's daughter. So, pavement accommodations were no concern.

Until 1:45.

I woke up to Megan crying. There was a fair amount of light coming into the tent, so I assumed that morning was not far off. I pulled Megan into bed with Chris and I in hopes of getting maybe an hour more of sleep before it was too light out. It was only after we laid down that Chris pointed out that it was only quarter 'til 2. It was only that light because we were right across the road from the bathroom. The deed was done, however, and there was no convincing Megan back to sleep in her own bed.

That was also the moment when Chris decided there was a hole in the air mattress. The uneven-ness had gone far enough--it was like sleeping in a dry ditch between two sheet-covered banks, we had lost that much air. He pulled the plug and let the remainder of the air drift out. We spent the rest of the night sleeping on none other than the parking lot.

Perhaps "sleeping" is an exaggeration. I spent most of the night with Megan's legs in my ribs (she slept horizontal to the rest of us) and a song stuck in my head. Not just any song. Corey Vidal's four-part acapella rendition of the Star Wars tribute to John Williams. Check it out on YouTube and you, too, can know the joy that was my pavement-padded night.

Oh, and it rained. A lot.

When we were cleaning up before going to bed, I had wanted to put everything in the locked car to prevent possible theft. I knew Chris would, ahem, mock me for being concerned about such a thing so I kept it to myself. I thought that I could probably convince the guys to help me haul everything to the car if I told them it might rain, but that didn't fly, either. The sky was completely clear. So, we went to bed with the food tote and coolers closed, but everything else was still out--chairs, tablecloth, hiking backpacks and baby carrier, hats...

And it rained.

In the morning, we came out to assess the damage. The only thing sufficiently covered, by Chris's waterproof leather jacket, was--you guessed it--the water container. Go figure.

But, never fear. It makes a better story, right? Breakfast was still delicious, hot chocolate included.

Once we got the pots separated, that is.

At least it had stopped raining.

Shout out to Michael and Amanda--Tennessee!

And to Dad. Orange, don't you know.

Jane was really cute all morning.

Even when she decided to throw a fit. She "just needed to cry".

We had planned on hiking up past a couple lakes in the morning. The weather was obliging, but the hiking backpacks were still thoroughly soaked. We opted instead for a child-friendly walk, no backpacks required.

Look familiar?

We went back to Silver Lake, the recently visited location of a playdate picnic. In the ten minutes it took to drive to the lake from the campsite, more effects of the night became apparent.

Megan didn't even twitch when I moved her to the stroller.

Once again, the lake did not disappoint.

This acrobatic display made me more nervous than the display the night before. Any guesses why?

We ended with a nice picnic, with Jane and Dalton momentarily being nice to each other,

chipmunks enjoying the crumbs,

and Megan on her knees. For some reason. She stayed like that for a surprisingly long time...


Michael said...

You gave us a shoutout!

Mom said...

One question...who took the picture of all eight of you?

Brenda said...

The timer on the camera took the picture.