One of us goes to Hawaii, the rest go camping

Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm not sure I can recall a single camping experience in the Pacific Northwest when it didn't rain.  Even if it's not in the forecast, precipitation will follow me.  The last one was a doozy and we were not terribly prepared.  I swore to write off camping and insisted that this was God's way of telling us we must buy an RV or, at the very least, a tent trailer. My husband and our budget did not share my logic.  

Back in March we were spending an evening with some dear college friends when they said "you should come to Alta Lake with us."  Trey jumped on the invitation and made a 5 day reservation that night.  5 nights? On the ground?  In Washington state?  3 days has always been my limit.  Knowing we could modify the reservation later, we went with the original plan.  In early June I got a call from Sue, Quinn's friend Nick's mom.  Seems they had secured a condo for a week in Kona, Hawaii and wanted Quinn to join them.  Asking Quinn to choose between Hawaii and camping.  Hmmm.  Tough choice.  Our first family vacation without one of our children was a disappointing prospect but I knew this was not only a chance of a lifetime but an inevitable part of my kids growing up. I needed to get used to the idea sometime.

Back to camping.  As I begrudgingly helped pack for the adventure, I was brewing with self pity inside.  When I looked at the forecast it wasn't typical June east-of-the mountains weather.  Day 3 called for showers the entire day.  That sounded like the perfect time to pack up and leave.  I could do 3 days but enduring wet camping was not an option.  We drove through a huge rain and windstorm for most of the way there, downed trees and wayward branches were everywhere.  When we had to take a detour 30 miles into the drive, I decided it was a sign we needed to turn around and bag the whole idea.  No dice.  We soldiered on and arrived with plenty of daylight to set up our site and meet all of the 40 other people who were already there.  I had no idea.  I knew there would be another family or two but all in all there were 20 kids and 19 adults--most of whom had been friends for the last 10 years.  Nothing like being outsiders.  And 7 of the 9 families had fancy trailers or RV's while we would be slumming it in a tent.  This was going to be a stretch for me.

After setting up and eating dinner, we ended up in Mike & Julie's RV and pretty soon it was full of half the other adults we had just met.  Within a half hour, it felt like we had known these warm, friendly people for all our lives.  They were so incredibly welcoming, fun and generous.  No one cared that we were "newbies" or that we had nothing to offer by way of a boat, jet ski or other water toys.  Even when the rain arrived on Tuesday, we set off into town and enjoyed a day of doing some "touristy" things and by the time we returned the storm had passed.  Although we tossed around the idea of leaving on Wednesday, when we woke up to sunshine and blue skies, the decision was made for us.  

I never thought I'd last five consecutive nights on the ground and actually be sad to leave a campground.  (Although it was nice to sleep 10 hours in my own warm bed.) But it was more than the camping. It was the memories. Watching my kids make new friends, play hard and try new things was priceless.  Having my husband completely unplugged from his phone and computer and totally relaxed for 6 full days was worth the inconvenience of recreating my kitchen on the dirt. Being warm, listening to constant laughter and ribbing of each other, sitting around the campfire and hanging out with normal people my own age was a heart filling treat. Although Quinn may have had an exotic vacation (and I'm always up for one of those), we had our own "vacation of a lifetime." Who would have thought?  Not me.

Quinn, Nick, Ron and Sue ready to board their flight.

Quinn and Nick looking forward to "hanging loose" in Hawaii.

Our home for the next five days.

Jodie, waterfront director extraordinnaire, helping Ian get ready to wakeboard.

Darrell has thrown the rope. Time for action.

And he's up!

We put up our 60 foot tarp in preparation for the rain.  From then on we were affectionately referred to as "Occupy Alta."

The only other "tenters" and our camping neighbors, Darrell & Shelli. Darrell threatened to get some white spray paint and deface our tarp.  He was the daily comic relief.  Love this couple.
The view from above.

At the top of the goat trail was this wonderful rugged cross.

Ben raced up the trail and enjoyed the view.

Where the teenagers gathered to play everyday.

How the other half lived.  I had serious "RV envy."

Jodie, Carl and Darrell feeding the crowd their amazing fish tacos on our last night.

Instead of pulling his boat out to refuel, Jeff took care of business and was ready for the week.

 Andy was such a saint and pulled everyone all day long behind his boat.  

1 Comment »

One Response to “One of us goes to Hawaii, the rest go camping”

janna said...

Love, love your blog, Dana! Thanks for looking at mine so that I could see yours. My family of 3 girls are headed off to our 3rd annual camping trip at the end of the summer. We are gradually increasing the nights. One night the first year, two the second and this year is three nights in a tent and at a campground without a shower. Still trying to research what I am going to do about that...