Sixteen years ago when settled on our wedding date, we didn’t think much of the proximity of 4th of July beyond a red white and blue themed wedding. As it turns out it’s great and also challenging having an anniversary on the last day of June. Sure, there’s a guaranteed holiday directly following, but it usually means friends and/or family are along for the celebration. Last year, we took to the coast in search for cooler temps. This year…the mountains.
Hubby was a real trooper (especially if you know his introvert tendencies) and agreed to attend a family camp session near Lassen National Park at Camp Tehama, for our Sweet 16 Anniversary. I attended a children’s version at this very camp, over 30 years ago as a 3rd to 5th grade child. Although I don’t remember exactly which year it was nor the cabin I was in, I did remember it’s where I met Debbie Myers. I didn’t meet up with her again until High School. This was a real trip of nostalgia for me.
The camp hosts are long time family friends and the camp is set as an extended friends and family adventure in the woods, centered around the July 4th holiday. The days are loosely scripted with events (fishing tourney – don’t ask, it didn’t go well, creek trip, tie dying…) as well as lots of down time to do whatever you please…take naps, a hike…etc…*cough* have a beer *cough*… Knowing all the details from a written description is one thing, attending is a completely different experience.
We really had no idea how it would go. Our oldest is a strong personality (and apparently quite the glow stick dancer!), which sometimes makes for an interesting battle of wills with other strong personality children. Especially girls. Anna Purna, I’m talking about you! But fortunately there was no pig tail pulling and plenty of boys for my boys to make friends with and prize incentivized games.
There was crafting. So much crafting! For as crafty as I am, I have never tie dyed. *gasp*. This was it, under the guidance of the seasoned veteran Heather, the boys and I (along with most of the other campers that day) successfully tie dyed our camp shirts. Brendon of course did a step by step verbal description for the group. Oh that one. Announcing loudly at one point “Get ready for the complexity!!” While John meticulously and silently dyed his shirt on the side.
There were numerous events to keep the kids busy and the parents sane. And the food. Now if you have had camp food, you have an idea of what you might expect. Well, forget that, the food was downright fantastic! If I could hand out michelin stars, I certainly would. These ladies knew what they were doing and cooked gourmet food for a crowd.
Other highlights: Our cabin, complete with lots of scrawl from kids of years past. Don’t worry, you won’t find anything from me. I’m too much of a rule follower to be defacing a cabin interior with a sharpie. The boys loved having a family cabin and were very snug on their bunks. They could hardly believe the camp was “as old” as me. We heard it was built in the 50s.
Running! We know I love a good run. And a run with the hubby, well those don’t happen that often and especially on vacation with the boys. The extended community of the group was the best part of the trip for me. Hubby and I headed out for a morning run and I had no fears the boys would be safe and if they needed something, could easily find an adult to help. I was right. These are some great people! And a little cherry on top for this run. We ran with one of my elementary school teachers. Ms. Kathy, was one of my very early exposures to math. She ran a *nerdy* math group called Math O for us and I LOVED!! It. Oh yes, I have been a math and science girl from very early on. It was fantastic to see her still running and to catch up with her again after all these years. She’s an amazing woman.
We had to break camp earlier than expected due to a family reunion for Vance’s side being thrown the next day in Oroville. When asked if we would come back again next year, hubby’s response was, “Do you think they’ll invite us back?” I tell ya, it felt like a secret society of wonderful families; the making of memories for a lifetime.
Let me also add this little gem from our Oroville trek the next day:
The Ishi monument across the street from Hubby’s childhood home. He also took the kids (we bussed two of my nieces to the event) and I down “Devil’s Dip”. This outrageously scary hill he used to ride on his bike. The boys will never know the dangers and pure joy of riding such a dip!