Archive for August 2010

Fathers and Sons

This year our ward did a Fathers and Sons campout in the mountains outside Fairview, Utah. Given that camping isn’t my favorite thing, and given the fact that we had recently been camping, I wasn’t really thrilled about going; however, Sam was looking forward to it and I certainly have fond memories of going to Fathers and Sons campout with my dad when I was a boy so I wanted him to have those same memories. It’s odd how something that seemed so much fun when I was a kid doesn’t seem all that much fun anymore when I’m an adult. In our family we call those type of things “corner window” experiences – in honor of Grandpa Kent.

The plan was for each family to cook their own dinner while the ward would supply breakfast. I kind of enjoyed cooking with the dutch oven when we were camping so I thought I would give it another try. This time I planned to cook up some hot dogs and baked beans. When we got to the campground, I noticed all the other dads had brought KFC, Chick-Fil-A, Subway sandwiches and potato chips. I felt like a dork as I spent an hour cooking dinner while everyone else ate their pre-made dinners and ran off to play on the zip-line. In the end, my dutch oven pork and beans were a total flop. They took forever to cook so we ended up eating in the dark, they had no taste – very bland, and Sam ate his fill of everyone’s left over potato chips before dinner was even ready. Oh well, lesson learned. Next time it’s Chick-Fil-A and potato chips for us.

Sam’s favorite thing on the campout was riding the zip-line. All the boys lined up and took turns. They zipped over and over again until it was too dark to see and the missionary couple that runs the campground shut down the zipline for the night.

Sam on the zip line

My favorite thing about the campout was teasing Sam about the bears. There were signs all over warning that it was bear country and to be careful about leaving food out. Sam took this to heart and was very concerned about bears in the night. I had brought a tent in case Sam wanted to sleep in it but he was too concerned about bears ripping up the tent so we slept in the back of the minivan (which I prefer anyway). He was also concerned that bears would break into the car to eat us. He thought that maybe after dark we should just head home instead of risking the possibility of encountering a bear at the campground. I told him a bear wouldn’t attack us in the car when there were so many other guys in tents that were easier pickings. That seemed to satisfy him.

In the end we didn’t see a bear but we did see a deer walk right through the middle of our camp:

Not a bear

Camping Trip at Tony Grove Lake

I was busy with school this year so we didn’t have time to take a fancy family vacation. Instead we decided to go camping. Somewhere I had read that Tony Grove Lake in the Cache National Forest was a decent place for beginning campers so, without ever seeing the place, I reserved a campsite on the internet.

Tony Grove Lake 2010

Tony Grove Lake 2010

It actually turned out to be a good campground but our particular site was a bit disappointing as it was situated on a steep hill. There was a semi-flat place higher up on the hill with enough room to pitch our big family tent and there was a smaller flat place near the campfire with room to pitch the two-man tent. Emily and Anne occupied the two-man tent while Nancy, Caroline Sam, Diana, and I grouped together in the big family tent.

The older girls' tent

The older girls' tent

As expected with an 8 year old boy, the campfire was simply irresistible to Sam. He spent all of his time poking sticks in, taking them out, putting more wood on the fire when we were trying to let it die down, and setting other bits of wood around the fire pit on fire. Notice the burning log outside the fire pit and the look on his face just after getting a tongue lashing from me for it.

The campfire was irresistible for Sam

The campfire was irresistible for Sam

We took our dutch oven camping and tried several different recipes from the booklet that came with it. The favorite was Mountain Man Breakfast in the morning. Somehow everything tastes better when camping. I wasn’t adventurous enough to try cooking a fancy cobbler dessert in the dutch oven but the kids didn’t seem to mind as they enjoyed making s’mores each night.

On the hike to Coldwater Springs

On the trail to Coldwater Springs

One of the days we took a hike up to Coldwater Springs. Actually, we didn’t know we were going to Coldwater springs – we just decided to hike up the hiking trail a little ways. After about a mile we came to a sign that said Coldwater Springs was 2 miles away. The weather was nice and the kids seemed to be enjoying the hike so we decided to press on to the springs.

On the trail to Coldwater Springs

On the trail to Coldwater Springs

The springs were flowing and the water was indeed cold. The water was probably safe to drink but I decided to be on the cautious side and wouldn’t let the kids drink out of it for fear of getting giardia or some other parasite.

The view from Coldwater Springs

The view from Coldwater Springs

Another day we had fun hiking around Tony Grove Lake. Tony Grove is a high mountain lake so it was still chilly at times, even in August, but aside from that the weather was great the whole time we were there.

Hiking around Tony Grove Lake

Hiking around Tony Grove Lake

A beautiful view

A beautiful view

In general the kids enjoyed puttering around the camp site and generally seemed to have a good time. My biggest problems with camping are the noise at night (the squirrels and chipmunks and other wildlife chattered non-stop all night) and the fact that a tiny camp mattress and a cramped sleeping bag are not the same as a king-size bed. I also don’t like to stink like campfire smoke. If it weren’t for those things, camping would actually be pretty enjoyable.

Fun around the campsite

Fun around the campsite

Caroline

Caroline

By the end of 3 days, everyone had their fill of camping and were ready to go. In the end, it turned out to be a pretty fun trip for us amateur campers. Perhaps we’ll making a summer campout a regular occurrence… well, perhaps not.

The kids loved the tree stump

The kids loved the tree stump

Waiting for dinner

Waiting for dinner