Monday, June 4, 2012

Campin' Is....

Obviously I did more than just hike on my Memorial Day weekend campout.  There's lots of other things to do at the Cove Palisades State Park.  And when you're camping with others (my brother and his family) the fun is multiplied - especially if the group includes kids.  Nobody loves camping more than children.

Camping encompasses many activities.  It means different things to different people  - from the comforts of a motorhome to the bare necessities of backpacking.   But here is a sample of what campin' was for me last weekend.

Size matters!  Click on any photo to enjoy a larger version.

Lounging on the rocks

Campin' is...... Lounging on some big rocks in the sun catching up on your reading.

Annual bocce tournament

Campin' is........ playing games with your friends and family.  We resurrected our annual bocce ball tournament - and the competition was fierce!

The ice cream man!!

Campin' is...... a visit from the ice cream man??   OK, this is something you don't see everyday.  I was surprised to spot an ice cream truck making rounds through the campground.  Not only did it sell ice cream, they also stocked bags of ice and firewood (see the trailer behind the truck?)  As you can imagine, it was a huge hit.  Someone had a good business idea.

It's not camping without s'mores

On to more traditional pastimes - Campin' is............ S'MORES!  You cannot have a campout with these tasty treats.  It's just not allowed.

JJ shows off his masterpiece

Who doesn't love the taste of a toasted marshmallow sandwiched in between a couple of chocolate squares and graham crackers?  My favorite - I spread some peanut butter on the graham crackers.  Yum!  Another tip - I've discovered marshmallows now come in different flavors.  I bought a bag of caramel flavored ones for this campout and they made our s'mores taste like Milky Way bars.  You gotta try it.

Roasting marshmallows is half the fun

 And of course you can't get through the marshmallow roasting process without at least one person burning their marshmallow. Or watching kids (and dads) throw stuff in the fire to watch it burn. You learn quickly who the pyromaniacs are!

The guys are cooking brats

Campin' is......... cooking your meals over an open fire.  Roger and my brother Dale decided to cook bratwursts for lunch.

Roger's brat is done

The brats weren't pre-cooked, so it took a long time and a lot of patience to make sure they were done all the way though.

The cooking crowd grows

Patience is a hard thing for a couple of hungry young boys.

Dale dropped his brat in the fire!

My poor brother dropped his brat in the fire - and it was almost done!  No matter, he washed it off and ate it anyway.   When you've worked that long and hard to cook something you're not going to throw it away!

Roger and Bear take a boat ride

Campin' is............ a boat ride on the lake.  Roger, Bear and I took our boat for a spin around Lake Billy Chinook.

Hidden waterfall

Lake Billy Chinook is made up of three large rivers dammed at their confluence.  It's fun to travel between the three different arms of the lake.  The steep canyons and coves hold many secrets.  There's even a hidden waterfall in one of the coves.  This tall cascade was roaring down the steep canyon wall.  To give you a sense of scale, that's a boat and floating restroom to the left of the waterfall in this picture.

Waterfall close-up

The rock formations on the waterfall's wall are very interesting.  Lots of geologic history right there in the open.

Water level cliff views

I love the scenery at Lake Billy Chinook.  It's great to glimpse the lake from high above on the Tam-a-lau Trail, but the lake level view is even better.  The enormous towering cliffs are amazing!

Cap'n Roger at the helm!

For Roger, campin' is........... Fishing!  He loves fishing Lake Billy Chinook.  He was a lucky fisherman this weekend, catching a few nice sized brown trout and later lots of bass.

Max and JJ get ready for the parade

Campin' is .......... the evening campfire program.  We always get the campsite next to the amphitheatre, so we have the first scoop on the action.

Getting ready to march

Sunday night's campfire program was different from any I've ever seen.  The camp hosts and rangers decided to hold a Memorial Day parade.  They provided the kids decorations for their bikes, scooters, or their bodies.  I wasn't sure if they'd get many participants, but a half hour before the designated start time, a large crowd of kids (and some parents, including a group of dads, beers in hand) had already gathered at the amphitheatre.

The start of the parade

Everyone decked themselves out in merry colors.  Flags waved.  Kids blew bubbles, hula-hooped, skipped and rode bikes.  The campground mascot, someone in a beaver suit, showed up (I happened to be wearing my OSU sweatshirt and couldn't resist yelling "go Beavs!")  The campground hosts all decorated their green utility vehicles.  It was a grand sight.

Marching through the campground

And it was the best campground parade I've ever seen.  The kids all had a blast.  It was good entertainment for us grownups too.  We kept busy clapping and cheering the kids as they passed by.

So that's my Memorial Day weekend in photos and short stories.  I do many types of camping, from visiting deluxe car campgrounds (as this one was) to primitive backpacking trips.  But I have to say the best part about every trip is the time spent with friends and family.

So most of all - Campin' is ............. spending quality time in the outdoors with the people that mean the most to you.


1 comment:

  1. That looked like a wildly fun weekend! Time spent camping with family always makes for great memories. Wonderful pictures too - loved the waterfall.


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