When non-campers go camping

Our family has not been camping in years. But we decided to do something fun and interesting and went with our friends the Looneys and Nielsens. The funny thing is that our family has only gone camping once or twice, many many years ago. Neither of the other families has ever gone camping as a family (though people did go camping individually, many years ago.). The only expert camper that came along was my sister Corrie! Her blog is much more detailed and has many cute pictures of my nephew!

So here’s a quick summary of our trip…

Albert, being an advance planning guy, loaded everything into our van the night before. When Corrie arrived at our house at the designated time, the rest of the family was sitting around computerizing while I was upstairs finishing up my packing (which I only finished in time because my conscientious husband encouraged me to pack!). We went to the Nielsens and helped them finish up their camping. They had a big lump of blue tarp and object on top of their van.


Albert, the engineer, was recruited to help by creating a windbreak by putting a sheet of vinyl in the front and tucking it under so the wind would not get caught under the blue tarp. To my great amusement, the vinyl turned out to be an old 40 Days of Purpose banner that was in Glen’s garage. This is what happens with a Communication Director goes camping. Here’s a picture of the white banner…

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We all caravaned up. We had 2 walkie talkies between the 4 cars. The first car (us) and last car (Nielsens) had the walkie talkies. Unfortunately, at times the distance was too great for the radios to work. Oops. And then it was a bit ironic we were leading as we had never been there before and had no idea where to go, but the Nielsens had been there many times and they were in the last car. Ah well, I suppose that is logic that is beyond my understanding.

In the end we radioed them to switch so they could lead, as I almost turned us off the wrong exit! So they led and we all made a number of U-turns as well since it was very confusing and not clear where to go when we got there!

We stayed at Camp Richardson at Lake Tahoe. Highly recommend the place — clean, nice place nearby lots of stuff! (Like civilization — we went to Raley’s and Kmart many times! I forgot ketchup, mustard, onions, tomato, relish, cooking oil, etc. etc. Too late I realized when I got there that when it says “hamburgers” on the menu, not only must one bring the meat and buns but also all the fixings. Oops again.)

My sister the Expert Camper had her tent up and running in no time. She was a brave soul coming camping without a husband and with only her baby! I would’ve dissolved into a puddle of tears in that situation! I’m a camping wimp.

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Albert and Daniel did all the tent setup. Nice to have a strong teenage son now who can help his dad. And nice to have an engineer husband who knows what he’s doing!

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While everyone was busy setting up, my job was Chief Cute Nephew Carrier, a job I was more than happy to take on. He now raises his arms for me to hold him and when I pick him up he puts his head on my shoulder. Awwww!!!! Auntie is like putty in his hands. I got to use Corrie’s cool baby carrier too.

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While I was walking around cooing at my little nephew, everyone was busy at work setting up, even the kids. Here’s Jackson busy at work setting up the Looney tent.

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Steven got LOTS of attention. Here’s Daniel with his younger cousin. (Notice the hotdog and hamburger buns in the back… minus any fixings!)

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And the two other dads in the group…one of which is wearing a very pink shirt (which he got for Father’s Day).

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Plus an impromptu flying session…

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Dinner turned out fine. Lots of food. An experiment with a Dutch Oven to make brownies — all charred on the sides but pretty good in the middle! Then off to bed. Most of us are late night owls. Going to bed at 10 pm just seemed wrong! No one got hardly any sleep. Too noisy, too cold, too hard, you name it. But boy do we have great friends. Even in sleep deprivation mode everyone was quite congenial! (But we went to Kmart later and got mattresses, sleeping bags, etc.) The morning was relaxing… breakfast, sitting around in chairs reading.

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Karen is always so thoughtful and she brought an entire bucketful of crafts for the kids! The girls made custom bags.

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The finished masterpieces were useful! The girls used them to tote stuff around.

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Then we took a walk looking for an elusive fishing spot. Lots of walking. Over the river, er, stream, and through the woods (and beach)… no luck. But we did find a really cute location with historical looking structures! Can’t remember what it was called but The Place With No Name sure was a cute little area!

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Plus, there was a gorgeous flowering tree there. Well, gorgeous to me. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When Albert saw the tree, he said, “Allergies.”

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Finally we arrived at the creek. (Rainbow Creek or something like that?) The girls crossed the creek, slipped and fell in!

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But in the end, a local told us to go to Sawmill Creek, which was a WONDERFUL place for the kids to learn how to fish! Glen, being the experienced fisher, helped the kids get set up.

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And soon all the adults were helping the kids.

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Or the kids helped each other!

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Pretty soon the kids were reeling in fish after fish!

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So we had yummy cooked trout for dinner. The second dessert experiment, peach cobbler, turned out a winner! It really helps to follow directions…

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End of day 2. It ended up being an eventful evening because a bear went through our camp! Stacy saw its back end. She heard its heavy breathing as it went by their tent and slurping sounds as it licked chocolate off our log. The rest of us were lying in our sleeping bags trying to ignore our neighbors clanging pots and pans and shining lights to scare off the bear.

Day 3 morning was fun because there was an impromptu jam session started by Keith as he played the guitar. Albert started playing blues on the harmonica. Asian blues harmonica player… just doesn’t sound right but he sure does a good job!

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Then they made me play drums on the water jug using spatulas. Glen picked up a bottle and the kids joined in. Soon Karen belted out impromptu lyrics.

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Keith’s our worship leader, Albert plays bass and I play drums and keys, so we said “This is what musicians do when they don’t have instruments.” Then we switched things around and Gracie used the harmonica, Albert picked up the pepper shaker and started shaking it like maracas, and little Megan used a salt shaker. Guess we were a bit heavy on the percussion!

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It was a very relaxing morning!

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Then it was back to fishing! While we were fishing, Albert and Daniel went mountain biking.

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Megan read a book til she started fishing and discovered she loved it!

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She caught 7 fish! (But kept only 5 and let the other 2 swim away.)

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Little Megan was the cutest fisher of all!

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An interesting discovery… my favorite part was holding the wriggling slimy fish while trying to get the hook off and then stringing it on the chain to put back into the pond! Go figure, since I neither like getting wet or dirty. But those fish sure were fascinating! In the end the kids caught 20 fish!

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And we saw one ladybug.

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We tried cooking the trout different ways: buttered, smoked, and squeezed with orange juice. It was all delicious.

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Everyone ate with great gusto.

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Well I didn’t post too many pictures of Steven, because Corrie had so many in her post, but here’s a cute one. Gracie was fascinated by Steven and was his primary babysitter. Steven was fascinated by pinecones and tossed them around like baseballs.

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We were supposed to stay an extra night but due to everyone having sleep problems, we packed up around 6 and headed home. The extra day was good though… the last day was the best and most fun! I was thankful to be with friends and enjoy the beautiful outdoors of God’s creation!

We caravaned back home. This time one of the walkie talkies got accidentally packed, so no more walkie talkies for us! But no one got lost and we all got home and instantly hit the showers and did loads of laundry. Now we have all this leftover food to eat… and stuff to unpack… such is life post-camping! At least we all got a good night’s sleep finally!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

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  1. corriespondent - June 27, 2009

    Great pictures!!

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