Thursday, October 11, 2012

Embarking on the Known World

Because the Most Ridiculous National Holiday Ever afforded us an extra-long weekend, we made like Columbus and embarked on an adventure to the known world... of camping a local favorite campsite.  (We did not, however, claim to discover anything new, nor chart the course for other ships to bring ruin to the peaceable Natives inhabiting the land...) In hindsight, I find it positively amazing that we ever embarked on a second - let alone eighth or ninth - camping trip after that first ill-fated affair some 3 1/2 years ago. 

Oh, how the times have changed!  Most notably, this camping trip didn't include a single raindrop.  Not one.  I believe this is a Carter Camping Miracle, in fact!  The weather was positively glorious, perhaps the finest weather we'll see this fall.  It was warm and breezy during the day, cool but not cold at night.  The leaves had just started to change, promising more brilliant days of color ahead.

Our tent was cozy and warm, and since I had my very own sleeping bag this time and didn't have to share with Pax and his youth-sized bag, each of us slept better those two nights in the tent than we sleep in our own beds at home - I know, right?  So hard to believe, but so true.

We took the canoe this time, which was one of the biggest highlights of the trip.  As we paddled, both Jeff and I were deeply nostalgic about the many canoe memories we enjoyed in our younger days.  Jeff loves to recount the stories of the 21-day canoe trip he took for several summers through an amazing camp in Quebec.  My own memories from being a camp counselor and taking kids on overnight canoe trips are particularly fun to tell to my own children, but most especially do I love telling them about my canoe trips with my family.  Whenever I was partnered with my father (which was usually), I sat in the front to "navigate" and "help paddle."  I interpreted this to mean "deliberately direct the steerer to forge ahead into shallow, rocky paths in the river for the sheer joy of getting stuck, possibly capsizing, and listening to the mock harrumphing and annoyance that ensued."  This was my modus operandi every. single. time.  Did my dad ever catch on to my antics, or was he possibly as amused by my mischief as I was?

After giggling uncontrollably upon hearing this tale, I could tell Aidan was trying to do the same in our two manned canoe.  Lucky for me, it's hard to get stuck in a wide-bottom canoe in a lake.

Another highlight was that friends of ours also camped at the same site, and our visits overlapped for one night.  What a perfect coincidence!  The 8 kids between 3 families skipped rocks, went on a scavenger hunt, attempted to find a geocache (ha!  It was never found, despite two overly determined fathers), played on the playground and ran the beach together, and generally made for a wonderful and relaxing time for the grown ups.  Relaxing!  Great sleep!  No rain!  Was this for real?

Well, yes, it was still very real.  We still made the "if you don't stop this minute we'll pack up our stuff and go home IMMEDIATELY" threat once each day.  Our box oven brownies?  FAIL.  And I didn't even touch them, so I can't be blamed like last time when I added glowing wood tinder to the box instead of adding more charcoal, resulting in a decidedly smoked flavor.  We totally forgot to bring the brand-new rain/sun/shelter tent cover we bought specifically for this trip.  Jeff, ever the one to lecture me on not over-packing, managed to bring not one...not two...not three... but FOUR pairs of shoes for a three day excursion.

It was a great trip.  We came home happy and deep-down fulfilled by our time outside, together, with friends, as a family.

Some photos (I took 257.  I spared you all but this dozen):
Fresh flowers, festive tablecloth, fantastic beer.  Does it get any better than this?

Aidan was such a rockstar on this trip - so helpful, so careful, so willing.


Look what I caught in the lake!

Trying to beat his mom in a footrace!
Look at this awesome little baby!

This is one of the most genuine pics we've ever taken.  This was "a moment"!

Anonymous oarsmen

Notice my position in the boat - once a coxswain, always a coxswain!

Leo's photo idea:  throw leaves up when the camera goes off.  This took five tries to get the timing right!
"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."  -William Cullen Bryant

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