Happy Campers

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Family Camp. I spent some lovely summer weeks at Girl Scout Camp as a kid, sleeping in a mosquito-netting-swaddled cot inside a platform tent, eating questionable breakfast foods, and facing down packs of daddy longlegs in the oversized outhouses.

Seriously, I had a blast those summers, but those are the memories that have stuck with me.

Skylake turned out to be a great vacation. Our trip started with a long drive up the freeway. We stopped in Coarsegold, which was a little disappointing as a tourist attraction, though we did have a tasty steak dinner at the Grizzley Bear restaurant. We wanted to get some fudge from a little shop, but it was closed when we arrived Thursday afternoon and again when we drove back on Sunday. A board advertised businesses in nearby Oakhurst, including a yarn shop!

So Close!

Too bad it too was closed when we drove up on Thursday and again all day Sunday. Bummer.

The camp itself was beautiful, tucked away in the Sierras. Little Miss was absolutely thrilled with the horses:

Skylake Horses

And we could barely get her out of the (freezing cold!) water at the lakefront:

Duck on Bass Lake

There were campfires and songs and s’mores both Friday and Saturday night. The food was really good, well worth waiting in line for.

Food Line

The plumbing situation was a step up from my childhood summer camp. The showers were a lot like the showers in my college dorm, and there were actual flushing toilets and real sinks! Only the daddy longlegs spiders colonizing the corners reminded me that we really were at camp. Well, that, and the moonlit walk there from the cabin. With three people in a cabin meant to sleep eight, we had plenty of room. I enjoyed checking out the graffiti left by campers past:

Cabin Graffiti

There was a lot going on during the days, too. Campers over age 6 get a trail ride as part of the package, while the little kids get a chance to ride the horses around the ring. K and I skipped our rides in favor of getting Little Miss two ring ride sessions.  On Friday, kids could make sand candles (which I did at camp when I was a kid!) and plaster casts of their hands. Saturday, there was tie-dyeing. Unfortunately, we hadn’t thought to pack plain white t-shirts, so we skipped that activity.  There were ping-pong and foosball tables – Little Miss developed quite the nice ping-pong serve.  Just outside our cabin was a sand volleyball court that the kids spent hours digging up.  While Little Miss worked on a sand castle, I pulled out my knitting. I managed one round on the Lotus Blossom Tank before realizing that I just wasn’t going to be able to focus on a lace pattern while chatting with people. There was a young girl there who was going to take a knitting class sometime after camp. I would have taught her to knit then and there if her left hand hadn’t been wrapped in drying plaster at the time.

Several families had been coming to camp for a number of years and knew each other well. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and mostly understanding of the three-year-old shouting early in the morning. After repeatedly saying she wanted to go home on Friday and Saturday, Little Miss didn’t want to get in the car to leave on Sunday. I’ll take that as a positive review.

Notes on Camp

It’s time to let you all in on a little secret.

Those last two posts were written on Wednesday and scheduled to go up on Thursday and Friday. Why? Because my vacation wasn’t all hanging around the house this last week. K and Little Miss and I piled into the family hybrid on Thursday and drove up to Family Camp in the Internet-less (at least, for those of us without Data Plans) wilds of the Sierras.

I had planned to post some lovely photos, but my plans were thwarted by our wifi gateway, which seems to have finally bitten the dust.  To tide you over, a few notes:

1. Running on a hilly trail at 3600 feet is different from running on a flat stretch of pavement at 500 feet. Really, really different.

2. Camping is ever so much nicer when there are flush toilets available.

3. Even slightly complicated lace patterns will be too much to handle while simultaneously chatting with other campers. Stick to stockinette.

4. Never underestimate the entertainment value of a deck of cards. Or, if one of your party happens to be a toddler, the entertainment value of a bowl, a stick, and a really big patch of sand.