Sunday, June 6, 2010

Camping Light

Another summer, another try at camping. We've taken the girls out since their first year of life, and this is the first year we think we can call the camping a success! We are pretty light campers - this time we got a cabin (with electricity, though we really didn't use it) and stayed in a campground with bathrooms, and headed out with friends to Lewis and Clark Caverns.

The kid crew consisted of Ckhai (parents are Joel and Karen), Charlie (parents are Caryn and Steve) and our two sweeties. They loved getting to hang out for such an extended time with their friends, and all four of them goofed around and played a lot.

We attempted a very short hike as a big group - we are certainly at varying speeds, but here is Elena hurrying to catch up to Karen and her uncle Steve.

Here's Clara trying to catch up to her dad. And who's that lagging in the back? Oh, right - Christina was only so slow so she could catch the action from behind. Exactly.

Elena, showing Christina some of the wild sage she picked for us to smell.

We hiked up to an outdoor amphitheater, and had so much fun there that we never went any further. Here, Clara prepares to give a speech to her adoring crowd.
That speech quickly turned into jumping (which we as an adoring crowd also applauded for).
Caryn got the kid crew performing a variety of songs together up on the little stage. They really got into it!
Clara and Elena at one point did a solo performance of twinkle twinkle little star - it was very well received.
Not a ham at all, that Clara.

The amphitheater overlooked part of a valley we were near, and the scenery was just wonderful.

It reminded Christina both of the mountain vistas in "The Sound of Music" and then just nearby was a meadow that reminded her of where the little Ingalls girls roll down in "Little House on the Prairie." So, lots of girls in nature shots were taken. Clara was an especially willing participant.

"Climb every mountain..."

Such a striking beauty.
And never far from the constant companion, Soft Dog.

After the hike we started getting hungry, and had everyone gather around a fire as we got dinner ready. This is where the girls (who had taken no naps at all that day) began to wane.

They were revived by some chocolate milk and some time playing with Christina's camera. Here's one shot by Clara (the only one of Christina from this trip!).
Clara shot this, too.

And this - Christina loves this one!
After dinner, Steve found the girls the perfect marshmallow roasting sticks, and taught them how to roast marshmallows. Elena got a mini primer in this last year; for Clara it was really her first time.
And, of course, she loved it!
As did Leni - marshmallows are even more fun when you are two than when you are one.

Our friends Joel and Karen brought out a favorite drink from our joint graduate-student past - rum runners! We drank very responsibly, but it was pretty different than the rum runner pool parties we all remembered.
And, no rum for the little ones - strictly chocolate milk for their celebratory purposes.

At 8:30 Steve asked the girls if they wanted to go to bed, and got back a resounding "YES!" as an answer for the first time in our lives together. They said goodnight to everyone, got in pajamas in the cabin, and sacked out. We kept checking on them on the monitor, and there was never another peep until early in the morning. Clara woke a bit at 4:00 and 4:30 to figure out where she was, then slept till 6:30 when both girls got up. We call that a success!

While they slept, we rejoined our friends for a relaxing evening around the fire.
With jiffy pop! It was great.

The next morning, Caryn taught the kids some yoga.

Then we went and played with some of the other kids from the campsite. For the first time, Christina heard someone ask the girls themselves "Are you twins?" and heard Clara reply with a quick and emphatic "Yes!" We don't talk about them that way, and people usually ask us, not them, so it was interesting to hear their own response.

Later in the day we headed up to the caverns. We decided it was a little advanced for our girls, and bowed out to explore the gift shop and head home. But it was definitely a great time, and we're so glad we tried again.

We'll try to get brave again a few more times this summer - maybe the tent can even make a reappearance!

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