Tuesday, May 31, 2016

First Camping Trip of the Season!

Last week, I said to Grig, "Let's go camping this weekend." 

He thought about it, and once we checked the calendar to make sure it was free, said, "Sure."

So, Friday night, we drove up to our favorite free place to go camping and went to our regular place. It was covered in RV's. We had forgotten it was Memorial Day weekend. (That happens when you don't have any kids in school.)

So, we drove around the lake until we found a pretty secluded place (still nearby the restrooms) and camped there. Kevin fell asleep while we were looking for a place, which was okay since it was raining, so he stayed in the car while we unloaded. The dogs were pretty excited about the water. 
 As we set up our tent and stirred up the dying embers that someone else had left, we spotted a bird out on the water. Grig wondered if it was a loon. I wasn't sure. Later we found out it was a grebe. I think it's a western grebe, though it could be a Clark's grebe. Anyway, we were pretty excited to see them.
 The sunset on the lake was beautiful, and though it was a little chilly, once the rain stopped, it wasn't too bad.
 Right after it stopped raining, Kevin woke up. His first word as he got out of the car was, "Wow!"

He was pretty excited. He clambered over the rocks to get to his father, and the dogs were right behind him. Half way through this trip, we discovered that Siff is well-camouflaged. Can you find her in the picture below? It took me a second when I was flipping through pictures.
 Arkhon was pretty happy to be back at this lake. I took a similar picture of him and Dakota last year. It made me a little sad to return to this lake, just because it was the last time I saw Dakota REALLY happy.
Dakota and Arkhon last year, before she died.
She loved it here. Being back to the lake made me remember how I was swimming, and my old, fifteen-year-old dog swam out to me, even though I was pretty far out. She was so happy while we were camping. Seeing Arkhon sitting alone by the lake made me really aware of her loss again. He's really grown up since she left us.
Arkhon, now leading a new generation.
 As it got darker, we tied the dogs up so they wouldn't wander off and get lost. We sat around the campfire and cooked hot dogs and marshmallows.
Suddenly, Siff started woofing; very quietly and softly. We heard a twig snap, and I whipped my camera in the direction of the sound. An eye gleamed green in the light of the camera, and I got the impression of a large animal (at least as big as a large dog). It wasn't too far away, but we lost sight of it pretty quickly in the darkness. Kevin got a little scared, but the dogs were calm so it was probably a deer or a dog. It's hard to know. I would really like to know what it was, but it left us alone, so we didn't chase it either.

We went to bed soon after. Siff slept against the outside of our tent all night. She loved being outside and with us. I don't think we ever saw her too hot the whole trip. Arkhon curled up nearby as well, and we slept, protected by our hounds.

The next morning we woke up early. Grig already had a fire going, so we ate our breakfast of muffins and doughnuts and then played for a while.
In this picture, Kevin is using the fire-poking stick as a weapon. He is shooting his "gun."
After a couple of hours, Grig got tired and took a nap while Kevin and I explored the surrounding area. We were excited to see a different kind of bird, which was correctly identified as a cormorant (though the actual species is a double-crested cormorant.) We actually caught one on video eating a fish. That was pretty cool.

We realized again how different Siff and Arkhon are. When Arkhon was a puppy, and we came camping, it took him two days to finally be exhausted. Siff was tired after the first night. She was really happy though, and even off the leash stuck around. Arkhon disappeared one time (which really surprised and worried us). He didn't come when he was called, which is nearly unheard of for him, and so we started worrying that he had been hit by a car or stolen. In all actuality, he had found the dumpster, and his nose had turned off his ears. After that, he listened a lot better, and didn't wander anymore, but we were a bit upset with him.
Kevin and I found a neat place by a couple of trees where we found some nice round rocks. Those rocks became dinosaur eggs, and the t-rex Kevin protected them from the dogs and me. They eventually hatched, though when I tried to pick one up that I thought had wandered from the nest, he told me that they were all still with the eggs. It turns out, I don't always imagine the same things as my son.
We were pretty close to the boat dock, so after a while, our peace was broken by people unloading their boats. Grig woke up about then, and we did some climbing and exploring.
 This was a particularly fun fallen tree. You could balance on it and bounce up and down. It made me feel like a kid again.
 These are the boys running down the boat ramp. Siff and I enjoyed watching them. Right after this picture was taken, Arkhon cut in front of Kevin and made him trip. It was an accident, but Kevin skinned his knee a bit. A few minutes later, they were right back to it.
 I found a cozy tree to climb into, and Kevin joined me. It was so nice to be out in nature. About this time, I found a really good stick and threw it into the water. Up to this point, Arkhon and Siff had been wading, but not really swimming. Arkhon finally remembered that he knew how to swim. After that, he fetched the stick nearly a dozen times.

He was a great swimmer. Eventually, he was tired out, and then he didn't want to swim anymore. Siff would get chest-deep, but she wasn't motivated enough to really try.
 Then, around noon, we put on our swimming suits and got into the water. The water was cold, but after a few minutes of moving, it felt warm to me. Grig said it never felt warm to him, but we all had a great time. Kevin plunged right in, and would walk through the water while moving his arms and call it "swimming." I made Siff swim one time too, but that was enough for her. I think as summer gains heat, they'll be more excited about it.

After a while, Kevin started to shiver, but after eating a doughnut, he wanted to get back into the water. I really enjoyed swimming too, though at one point, I was pretty far out, and a truck pulled up and began to back its boat down the dock. I had to rush back to shore to get out of the way, and after that I was tired.

After a while, Grig made us lunch of ham sandwiches, and we warmed up and ate. Here, Kevin is hiding under his towel. I think he's pretty hilarious.
 Here's our tent hidden in the trees. We'd found a spot with great cover, but it was pretty lumpy.
 Everyone felt really rejuvenated. It was hard to leave, but we had to get back home. We had some things we needed to get done before the Sabbath.
It really made us grateful for this world that our Heavenly Father has given us. Things worked out really well, and we were so grateful that we found a place away from most of the Memorial Day campers. It got a little loud after a while with all the boats blaring music on the lake, but we still were pretty far away from most of the craziness. We didn't fish this time, because I need to renew my license, but we still had a really good time and enjoyed spending time together as a family.

Hopefully we'll be going again soon!

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