Friday, June 19, 2015

First Family Camping Trip

This week, we took Grig's vacation and went camping!

We couldn't really afford to go anywhere, but we've been buying a little something here and there over the last few months so we had all the equipment.

It took us until the day of to decide where we were going to go, but we finally decided on a little reservoir just 20 minutes north of us. It was our first family camping trip, and we were both pretty inexperienced at this. I had been camping before, but we'd never been in charge, so we tried to think of everything we'd need.

We brought both dogs. We debated whether or not to leave Dakota home. We didn't know if she'd be able to handle the stress of the trip, but we finally decided to bring her.

Very beautiful place
It took pretty much all day to get ready. Our original plan was to go from Monday - Thursday night. We were hoping that we wouldn't have to come back into town, except that I had a church activity on Wednesday night that I was partially in charge of.

We finally got to the campsite at about 8:00 pm. I was worried about not being near the restrooms, so we picked a little place not very far away. The mosquitoes were horrible, and if it hadn't been for the bug spray we brought, I don't think we would have made it even one day.

We had time to unpack, set up everything, and cook dinner, and then it was time for bed. We made hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner. We'd bought a campfire grill, and we used it to fry the hamburgers. They tasted amazing! We followed it up with s'mores for dessert.

While Grig was away getting ready for bed, Kevin and I turned off all the flashlights and just listened to the darkness. As we did so, we heard what sounded like kids playing and carrying on. However, as I listened, I realized that it wasn't kids, it was coyotes. They were fairly far away, so it was just fun to hear them.

That night I didn't sleep well. I don't usually sleep well during the first night while camping. It was nice to have the dogs there. We knew that they'd alert us if anyone came near. (Well, actually, we knew Arkhon would alert us. Dakota is pretty deaf and mostly blind. She'll bark if Arkhon barks though.)

Tuesday, I was awake by 5:30, and it was already pretty warm. We made breakfast (it was really complicated...we had a bowl of cereal) and then I fished a little while Grig and Kevin went on a walk. I didn't catch anything, except some cute pictures.

By 9:30, we were in the water. At first, it was a little cold, but as soon as you plunged, it felt perfect.

We swam for a couple of hours, Kevin didn't really like it at first. He didn't like getting all the way wet, and after a while, he got cold. He was also tired. We made lunch. For lunch we tried to cook hotdogs with crescent roll dough on the outside. We decided we didn't like that combination as much. It would have been better with sausage in the middle. After lunch, we all took a nap in a very warm tent at about 2:00 p.m.

We woke up at about 4:00 p.m., and then we went swimming again because we were baking. This time, at the end of it, kevin was starting to splash around, and we developed a fun game where he would drop rocks and we'd try to catch them under the water. He loved it.

Grig and I took turns playing with him and swimming. Arkhon wasn't too sure about the water at first. He'd never been in water deeper than his chest. However, after we started to swim away, he began to plunge in after us, and it wasn't too long before he was becoming a real water dog.

The real surprise was Dakota. She immediately waded into the water, but at one point, when Arkhon and I were swimming away from shore, I looked back to see that she was swimming out to meet us! That was a surprise. Dakota ended up having a great time. She only really went for one good swim a day, but she seemed really happy. We were glad we brought her along.
After swimming, we ran out of bug spray. We'd been sharing our with our poor dogs, and our bottle became empty pretty quick. So, I ran to a store in the nearby town, but when I went to purchase the bug spray, I realized that Grig had my card in his wallet. The lady at the store was super trusting, and allowed me to take the mosquito spray before I paid for it. She wrote my name down instead. I quickly drove back to camp, only to discover that Grig had left his wallet at him. I left the spray and Kevin with him, and drove home quickly. I grabbed the wallet and a bit more firewood, and then drove back quickly. I got to the store at 6:50. I didn't know when they closed, and I was worried I was going to be too late. To my relief, they were still open, and I paid for our purchase.

Once I made it back, we made dinner. We tried chicken, pineapple, and onion shish-kabobs. I cut the chicken into chunks, and put pineapple and onion slices in between. We then seasoned them with Mrs. Dash, wrapped the kabobs in tin foil, and threw them into the coals. Those turned out really well. I never thought the combination would be so delicious. After dinner, Grig and Kevin went on a walk while I made peach cobbler. When they returned, we ate our dessert, which also turned out really well, and as it became dark, we went to bed.
I slept a lot better and didn't wake up until 7:30 a.m.. We had bacon and eggs for breakfast (so good!) and then we went on a walk.

There were some real advantages to bringing dogs to a campout. Here are some things I learned about it:

1- Dogs are great guardians. You can leave your stuff with them, and no one's going to dare to touch it. Especially if your dog is great at barking at people who come nearby.
2- When you're swimming, you have someone to swim with if your husband is watching the baby.
3- They are fun to watch play in the water.
4- You can sleep knowing that large predators are more likely to stay way.
5- They love it.

1-When you leave them, they sometimes bark in protest.
2- They get tangled up when they are tied.
3- You have to spray them with mosquito spray too, or the mosquitoes start swarming your camp.
4- You have to bring food and supplies for them as well.
5- If they aren't good at listening, you have to keep them tied the whole time. (Arkhon got a lot better at this as time went on. At first, he had a hard time disengaging his nose, but by the end, if we whistled or called, he came running. Dakota never wandered, because she is too old.)

While on our walk, we saw some rabbits, and Kevin was really excited about those. We also saw raccoon tracks.

We were running low on mosquito spray and water, so we decided that we would head home Wednesday night instead of Thursday. We ended up leaving a day early, but I think it still went really well.

After our walk, we went swimming again, and when Grig and Kevin disappeared after swimming, I decided to fish for a while.

When they got back, Kevin joined me.

We tried a lot of different types of baits, and I finally went back to powerbait. I was just about to give up, when I felt a tugging on the line. I called for Kevin and Grig to come and join me, and we pulled in a little blue gill.
Kevin loved that fish, and here is the part that Grig wanted to call:

Kevin's First Lesson with Mortality

Kevin happily took the fish back to camp. I showed him how to carry it so he didn't drag it on the ground the whole way. When he finally got the gist of it, he carried it around proudly for awhile.

Then came the tragedy. I set up a spot to gut it, and Kevin watched with interest. He was okay with I stabbed it, but when I took its head off, he lost it. He began to sob the most heart-wrenching cries. I felt really bad, but I tried to explain to him that we were going to eat it. He cried and cried. Grig comforted him while I finished preparing it, and then I hugged him as well. 

Grig was laughing a little bit, but mostly because he was raised on a farm and has had similar experiences with sheep and cattle. We grilled the fish up in butter, milk,and some garlic salt and it was delicious. When we were done, there wasn't much to eat though, so we also cooked hamburgers and hotdogs. It's a good thing we weren't planning on living off the land, because we would have starved. 

After eating his hotdogs, Kevin was happy again and he recovered nicely. The dogs enjoyed eating the fish guts, so everyone was happy. 

Honestly, I don't like killing fish very much either, but I do enjoy catching and eating them. Sometimes I wimp out and make Grig kill them instead, but that's not fair to him either. 

If I ever want a farm, I have to "woman-up."

After lunch, we packed pretty much everything, and then we went swimming again. 
Campfire food is the best!
Things were going great. Kevin was finally playing in the water by himself, and the dogs were sleeping on the beach, when suddenly a sheriff came walking down the trail. He scared both me and Arkhon, and Arkhon barked at him pretty well. He was just making sure we were all behaving. He was a nice guy. He asked if we were camping, and we told him we were, but that we were leaving pretty soon. 

Then, he pointed at Grig's  head out in the middle of the lake and asked if he was drowning. I told him that was my husband and he was just swimming. 

He said bye and left. 

We finished swimming and went home to shower quickly before my meeting. 

Thus ended our first family camping trip. 

I think it was a great success, and everyone had a great time.
Here's an American Avocet that we saw.

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