Monday, July 25, 2011

Into The Wild

Camping is not my favorite thing.  That was our vacation of necessity while growing up, and between six years of Girls Camp every Summer and "cheap" family cross-country trips, sleeping in an enclosed space and dealing with clean-up and take down is not my weekend of choice.  But my children need to learn how to rough it, I say.  They need to know how to work hard and get dirty and sleep on the rocky floor, because...there is just nothing quite like it.  Nothing like sleeping on rocks, I mean.  Really.  You can't re-create that feeling.  Ever.

And so off we went this past weekend.  The timing was right and my siblings were heading out on their own camping trip the same weekend, so we decided to duo-family it. They already had the location picked, so we agreed to their plans located three hours east.  THREE hours.  Now, we live pretty darn close to natural habitats, so this long car drive threw me off a bit.  But it was where my brothers wife grew up, so we threw comfort to the wind.  That's what you do when you go camping, anyway.

When we first moved to Washington, Rowdy and I went to a concert at a location in the central state called the Gorge. It's absolutely breathtaking---a canyon outdoor amphitheater, laying on the grass listening to Jack Johnson.  It was awesome.  But what I really remember about that day was driving through the green and lush land that IS Western Washington.  I remember talking and laughing as the tall green mountains stood ominous above our road (snow capped, even) and then out of nowhere...we were in the middle of nowhere.  Desert.  Sandy tumble weed canyon desert.  What happened?  I tell ya, I have never seen such a contrasting State.

And I had the same feeling this time as we drove.  I was expecting a campground amongst trees and bright green moss and gurgling brooks.  And what I saw instead was Eastern Washington.  For some reason, it is always shocking to me. The sun intensity.  The jagged rocks and barren ground. The soft light greens amongst browns and grays and tans.

But as the weekend progressed it grew on me.

How could it not?


I went to give him a kiss and instead gave him this...  ;) Reminds me of this picture.

We decided to crank out the crank-only ice cream maker.  My gosh it was heaven.  And hard work.  And easy when you have enough helping hands to turn it for 45 minutes (in this moment it was my youngest sister). Sweet vanilla with homemade chocolate raspberry sauce. Let me know if you want the recipe.  I might just give it to you without requesting a foot rub for sun-blistered feet in return.

Funny how chocolate covered faces just fit in to the picture.  No need to wash off right away since it will get dirty again in five minutes anyway. 

No make-up.  Intense Summer heat with dirt-drenched flip flops. Lake-water hair in pigtails even at the ripe old age of thirty. It all works together for good, don't you think?

(Me and my SIL who might just kill me for putting this no make-up picture up)

Camping--oh camping...

There is something that happens when family gets together in such an environment.  Often I find myself retreating back to my "oldest of 11 kids" role, but more than that I find myself wanting to reminisce about how obnoxious and silly we all used to be.  How my brother and I would put M&M's on layaway and "remember that time when that guy came banging on the door with a finger missing?  And you (me-Carrie) held a cloth over his bleeding and pulsing non-finger he kept repeating his blood type over and over in case he passed out?"  Such drama.  Such good and bad and happy and scary memories that must be...always must be...shared with peach cobbler cooking in a dutch oven over an open fire.

Rough'n it, for sure.


Sue said...

Beautiful spot.
Beautiful photos.
Beautiful family.


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Sounds like a wonderfully relaxing trip. . . . even if it was camping!

Love the last picture!

Amy said...

Fun! And yes, I do want that ice cream recipe. And dutch oven peach cobbler. We're going camping next month. I must prepare myself.

This makes me want to visit Washington! For the green, not the desert. No offense, but I got more than enough desert down here in hell's backyard to last me a lifetime.

Cherie said...

I think you totally captured the true spirit of camping!!
We LOVE camping not because it is a less expensive vacation but because it connects us and the food is yum (ha ha).

Glad you had a wonderful trip with your family!!

Amy said...

What fun and crazy times you had as a family. That, I think, is the beauty of having a large family. All the memories. And now, I want to go camping with my family! And eat homemade ice cream. The best ever.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Cute! Your daughter looks so much like you...oh and we used to "camp out" in the car on long trips!

Mary Seals said...

the picture of the rock wall is my favorite. I miss camping...

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Wow. I think this is the first time I've seen a real, whole photo of you! Yea! Now I know what you look like!!
You should post more pictures of you.

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