In Parts 1, 2 and 3 of these camping posts, I wrote about the traditions associated with our annual camping trip, but also about simple organization tips that make any camping trip easier.
This post is completely personal. This is the stuff that is near and dear to me. It is what we do when we camp in Markleeville.
When I was a kid, as soon as camp was set up, as soon as my parents gave me the OK, I was outta there. I made a bee-line for The Creek. I lived in The Creek as a kid.
Even now, it is almost a living entity to me. During the 350 some odd days of the year when I’m not there, my mental picture of The Creek has an almost mythical, ethereal quality. When I get up there for that precious handful of days, I am never disappointed. My memory of it never outshines reality.
The Creek is flat out beautiful.
It runs for miles and miles, but we only played in about a 3/4 of a mile stretch of it.
It absolutely thrills me to see my kids playing where I played and doing the things I did….
They build dams.
They take off their flip-flops and let the shoes “race” each other down stream. Each year someone loses a shoe during the race. This year it was Conner.
Devin simply took off his flip-flops and left them on the bank somehow. They were there the next morning, so we only had to go into town for one replacement pair. Dorks.
Then there is the Rock Slide.
I wore out many a bathing suit bottom on this when I was a kid. It’s not steep, it’s not fast, but it sure is fun. This year was Grant’s first year to try it. (As you will see, there were a lot of “firsts” for Grant this year.)
Ready to go… not sure that this is such a good idea.
But Conner and Mitchell are doing it and seem to be having so much fun….
Even the “new kids” were doing it…
So Grant thought he’d give it another try or two.
By attempt #3…. …he loved it! Click on it and enlarge this picture. Look at this child’s face! It is my favorite of all the photos from this trip, hands down.
There are also good spots to fish in the creek.
Handsome Hubby, who has the patience of a saint (usually) and the teaching ability of a beloved, career Kindergarten teacher, took 3 of the youngest kids to go fishing.
See the Lightning McQueen fishing pole Grant is holding?
Toy fishing pole + salmon egg = the only fish anyone caught on the trip.
His first fish! He is incredibly proud of this, as you can see by his dirty little face. This trout was about 11 and a half inches. Not intending to tell a “Fish Story” but instead, rather confused about increments of measurement, Grant has been telling everyone he caught an 11 foot fish.
Daddy cleaned, scaled and filleted Mr. Trout, then poached him in key lime juice and some spices. Mr. Trout was delicious and passed around as an appetizer. Everyone got to have a little bite. Grant ate three bites. He is already a big fish fan, but he enjoyed this even more because he caught it.
Apparently, if you let your child hunt or gather their own food, they will deem it delish and eat it with great gusto. So you mommies out there having trouble getting your kids to eat their veggies, let them have a little garden and they’ll eat the fruits (and veggies) of their labor.
About 3 miles upstream from where the kids play in The Creek, there are several waterfalls. The Waterfall Hike is one of the things I look forward to the most when we are up in Markleeville.
I did not get to go this year.
Why? Because I am old and feeble and on day two my back went out. Do you want to know how I did it? I bent over to look in a cooler and then stood up straight again. That’s it. I didn’t lift anything heavy. Didn’t fall. Didn’t do anything but stand up. Oh man was I mad!!!
Fortunately, my good high school friend Chris and her two daughters came along on this trip and one of Chris’s degrees is in physical therapy. She gave me a therapeutic massage (twice!) with olive oil. I bring a lot of things on camping trips, but massage oil is not one of them. (Icy-Hot? I have it. Massage oil? Not so much.)
I especially wanted to go on the hike this year, because it would be Grant’s first year to make the hike. They promised to take lots of pictures, and they delivered.
HH and I always take a self portrait on this rock.
This trip, when the kids weren’t in the creek, they were…
…playing tag in the meadow. At dusk they put on those glow bracelets and played in the dark. It was like watching very loud, brightly colored fireflies once the sun went down. Grant got to play with the big kids this year because he was listening to his big brothers and staying with the group.
If you’re still with me at this point, thank you. Believe it or not, there is more to come….