Our ward was doing a one night campout up at Horseshoe Lake. I've never heard of Horseshoe Lake. It's on the Verde River. It was described as being a 2 hour drive out of town, 10 miles of it down a washboard dirt road. Already I wasn't enticed. And it is March so even though we were going to a lake, you can't really enjoy the water this early in the spring. I don't know why I was whining so much. I had nothing to do with the planning, and the location wasn't really going to stop us from going. I guess I was just in a 'complaining for no good reason' kind of mood this week.
Anyway, we got away about noon on Friday and made our way up there. It was desert camping. There were stickery bushes all around the campsite, hardly any shade at all. Again more complaining from me, but now instead of out loud, it is just all in my mind. But once we were all set up, we had a lovely time. By the end of the evening, there were about 70 people in attendance. We were near the dam, on the down stream side of the dam, so there was water for the kids to play near and throw rocks into. The dam and the lake were about a mile up the road so Saturday several people took their canoes and rowboats out onto the lake.
There was an evening program with the required 'Kumbaya' camp songs and s'mores and visiting around the campfire. (Gretchen, now that I know you read everyone's blogs, I thought I'd post a picture of you. haha)
During the day, there were egg toss games, lots of visiting. Dave pulled the trailer around with his tractor and gave kids rides.
It is an awful lot of work to pack for and set up camp for only one night. We should have coordinated with another family to share bringing some of the equipment and share the cooking and lights. But no, every family brought camp stoves and lanterns etc. Breakfast was going to be provided so my original plan was to take rolls and lunch meat and fruit for dinner to make the packing easy, no cooking at all. But Dave wanted to have a hearty dinner cooked over the fire and offered his services in that department, so I then became a willing recipient. He packed all the cooking gear and did all the cooking. And it definitely was nicer than a cold sandwich. He made a delicious cherry and blueberry dutch oven cobbler with only minimal ashes that fell over the top when the lid slipped off unexpectedly. Luckily, you can't really see ashes in the darkness of firelight so I don't know how much ash we consumed.
For the first 18 hours of the campout, the kids ran along the stream longing to get in. About an hour before everyone was packing up, one of the adults went in the water. Apparently it only takes one adult being in the water to give permission for ALL children to follow suit.
Within minutes, almost every child was in the water up to their waist. And no, not one of them had a swim suit, towel, and probably no dry clothes to change into. One 9 year old boy walked down and saw everyone in the water in their clothes. I asked if he was planning to join them. He shook his head - definitely NO. Within two minutes, he was rolling up his jeans and was heading in. I'm not sure why it was important to roll up his jeans, all the kids were in way deeper than the level of rolled up pant legs.
I realized how different our camping experiences have been over the years. We used to spend the whole time keeping the kids fed, safe, warm, or dry . . . definitely not a restful experience. This time we only had Melanie with us. We sat around our camp site listening to her mp3, and she went off to sleep in another tent with a friend. This girl is so easy to have around!
In the end, I was glad we went. We really have a fun ward and fun friends.