Thursday, June 18, 2009

The first 'real' camping trip of summer.

Last weekend was family time. Our first camping of the year in a tent, out of our yard. I was glad we'd done some dry runs at home.

The weather the first night and day was cold and rainy. Not that that slowed the kids down at all. Every time I looked for Hannah, this is what I saw...

Six girl cousins within four years of each other. They kept melding into one group, breaking into little groups, melding again. The little groups were never the same either, they were composed of different girls each time. A few disagreements, no outright fights. It was lovely and at the end of the weekend, Hannah hated to leave.

Ainsley's age group is more diverse, gender-wise. She had a blast also, playing with cousins, exploring her environment. She did a lot more checking in with her parents, but she had time for a few good laughs...

and she explained some stuff to her cousins.

Gray did a lot of this.

Though if this is an indication of how he feels about camping, I just don't know what to do for the rest of the summer.

I carried him in-arms most of the time because he hates being carried in a carrier on the front of my body, but if I put him on my back, the mosquitos got free rein.

In the afternoon, we went to Minnetonka Cave and went on the tour there. The staircases that go up and down in that cave are unbelievable. The cave has a lot of interesting formations (that interested the kids almost not at all) and houses five species of bats, one which is endangered.

We only saw two bats. I tried to get a picture of one of them - it was quite far away - and this is what came out of that. I thought I had him centered in the picture. Not so much.

Hannah stayed up towards the front of the group with an aunt and some cousins.

Ainsley did see one formation she liked - the pile of pirate gold.

I learned a few interesting things on the tour. The temperature in a cave never changes and is the average temperature of the area where the cave is located. Also, at the back of the cave, where no possible light from outside got in, the tour guide turned off the lights for a minute. It was so dark that your eyes would never adjust, she said. Damn it, I lost my chance to Gollum-ize.

Outside the cave was much more interesting for the littles. Lots of little Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels running around.
Running around quite close, actually.

Ainsley wanted so badly to hop down off that wall and go pet one. It was hard for her to understand that such a tiny creature was a wild animal that might bite her.

After the caves, most of the family went home, but we stayed an extra night with one other family. The next morning was cool, but turned warm by eleven o'clock. The kids had a lot of fun running around the camp - it was a stunningly beautiful campground - and we took a four-wheeler drive up to Paris Ice Cave. It's a cave that always has ice in it, so I don't even want to know what the average temperature there is. There was still lots of snow on the ground outside of it.

Back at camp, the kids played some more while the adults packed, and then they said goodbye to each other. (By this point, the boys were not having anything to do with pictures.)

When we were driving away, Hannah said "Will we see Zee again tomorrow?" Never too much of a good thing, my friends. Never too much.


Michael said...

(Not that there's much diversity even then, really, you know. Boy-girl. Not any third or fourth or fifth options.

Erm - yes there are. And there are plenty of kids who fit those myriad other options with or without being taught any specific words to describe it. Just sayin'. :)

Looks like you all had a blast! I have so many fond memories of camping with cousins and friends as a kid. I love that we now can have digital photos, which won't yellow and deteriorate with age.

Darcel said...

What a great camping trip! Looks like everyone had a good time. Love the caves and pirates gold.

Sarah said...

Michael, you're right, of course. I thought about that when I wrote it. I thought about it on my drive to our hike this morning. Then I came home and saw your comment. I'm going to delete that line.

Cindy said...

That looks like so much fun! Can't wait until our kids can play again!