Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

I have a lot to tell about our Labor Day Weekend but my self-editing button is on so I'm going to just power through this without thinking.

We got to the campsite (near the Sequoia Nat'l Forest) at about dusk. Our friends had just gotten there and set up their tent so they helped us put up ours. We had stopped for dinner along the way so all we had to do was set up and then chill. The boys played with glow sticks and ran around the campground while we caught up with our friends. We didn't pay much attention to the other campers around us. There was music playing at every campsite but it didn't seem intrusive. Finally, at about 11:00 the boys and I went into the tent to get some sleep. We all fell asleep pretty fast despite the competing Metal bands. Sometime later though, the noise from the surrounded camps seemed to get louder. Then, I heard this collective intake of breath followed by the sickening sound of a truck braking fast and skidding (as well as one can) on dirt and grass. Then a girl started screaming that the driver of the truck ran into her tent and could have killed her. Another couple of guys chimed in and told the driver that that's just not cool - he could have killed her and he should go over and apologize.

That's when I got the first inkling that maybe this wouldn't be the quiet, restorative commune with nature that I so anticipated.

But, everything looks better with morning light. So we got up, had some breakfast and prepared for our afternoon on the lake. Which. Was. Great. There were about 18 of us on a pontoon boat and we just hung out on the lake, floated on rafts, did a little fishing. It was really relaxing. We went back to the campground just before dinner and relaxed by the pool for a few minutes. Jack learned he could float on his back. He started out by swimming on his stomach and then he'd spin to his back and finish swimming on his back. It was pretty awesome. The boys played on the playground while I made dinner. We had a great dinner under the stars and even managed to make some s'mores despite not having a true campfire. We played The Guy game and watched the stars. Soon it was time for bed. We tucked ourselves in and I hoped that we'd have a nice, quiet night. Once again we fell asleep quickly. At some point I was awakened by really boisterous from the camp on my right, a TNT Saturday night movie roared from the camp behind me (yes, a TV was brought into camp and even a satellite dish - how completely sad), and ridiculous rap music blaring from the camp to my left. Somehow all the camps got louder the later it got. Kids walking to and from the bathroom chattering all the way walked right through our campsite. It was the worst camping etiquette possible. Dean and I woke up bleary eyed (just me really, he slept right through it all) and while we were getting dressed a group of giggly girls walked right by our tent, giggling and being annoying and Tom yelled out this very guttural "GET AWAY FROM THIS TENT!". I looked over and him and saw his shoulders shaking with laughter and then our friend Brian chimed in from his tent "Tell 'em brother!". It seemed to work though because they stopped walking in front of our tent after that.

After everyone got up and we had breakfast, we took off for the Sequoia National Forest. We drove into the park and hiked down to see General Sherman, the world's largest tree. It was incredible. We also saw a bear cub and his mama. He was really cute. Then we went to the Crystal Cave. We had a 20 minute hike down to the cave and then we had a 30 minute tour of the cave. It was amazing. It was about 50 degrees in the cave which felt really good after the 90 degree heat of the campground. After the tour, we had a little snack down by the waterfall and then began the big hike back up to the parking area. The guide told us it was equivalent to walking up a 30 story building and he wasn't kidding. Then, back to the campground for dinner and stories under the stars. We had high expectations this night. Surely, everyone must be tired, too tired for loud music, tv and chit chat.

As usual, we hit the sack at about 11:00 and I swear I'm not kidding about this but as soon as we got in there, the men from the camp to our right suddenly started telling stories - loud, raucous voices telling stories of their own stupidity. It's like they were waiting to raise their voices until we went to bed. I know that sounds very egotistical of me as if the world revolved around us but seriously, they were speaking in hushed tones until we went to bed. It took me about an hour but I finally fell asleep.

And now we're home and I'm really looking forward to a quiet, full night of uninterrupted sleep.

I loved camping and I can't wait to do it again but we will definitely choose a more remote area the next time.

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