Fortunately for us, our wonderful friends, the Johansens, invited our family to join them on a two day camp-out up Big Cottonwood Canyon at The Spruces.
We camped a lot when Clark, Bethany, and Elinor were quite small, but it just got to be too hard. I decided that I didn't like camping and only wanted to campout in a tent in the backyard. I'm so happy to have gone on this wonderfully enjoyable camp-out to discover that I do like camping! I'm not as unreasonably scared of bears as I thought, we all slept well, and had a ton of fun.
It helped a lot that the Johansen kids were so helpful with my little ones. Faith was glued to Matthew as we sat around the campfire. He was so kind to let her be his teammate for games.
George had so many arms to hold him and laps to sit on. He was a happy camper.
The young women. This was a good trial run before they go to girls' camp next month. They enjoyed getting to spend one of the nights in their own tent.
Abe proclaimed he had created the perfect smore. When we were buying our smores supplies Abe wanted to buy cinnamon graham crackers. I didn't think anyone would want cinnamon ones and that we should just get regular. I had to admit I was very wrong. Everyone wanted cinnamon and commented how good they were. I even tried it with cinnamon graham crackers and it was better than regular. I'm a believer.
Faith liked getting really messy with her smore.
George's favorite activity was standing in this hollowed out tree stump and throwing pine cones into the stream that went right by our campsite.
Abe and I celebrated our 16th anniversary up at camp, sharing a tent with our six children. How romantic. Well, maybe not so romantic, but very fun.
The highlight of the trip was a four mile round trip hike to Dog Lake. There were some rather steep portions and we all woke up very sore this morning. Our family isn't really big into hiking-- not that we don't enjoy it, we just don't think to do it very often. But it was great and I think we should do it more often.
Michelle and I brought up the rear on the way up and helped any stragglers (Elinor) along. Els got a little discouraged on the way up, but was much happier on the way down.
We didn't see a whole lot of Ben and Elinor around camp because they were off in the forest building forts. The other kids built a lot of forts as well, but it seems like these two were the most dedicated.
Here is Clark in a fort that he helped build, but it was eventually named "BE Fort". That's B for Ben and E for Elinor.
Apparently French braiding is all the rage when you camp and you "have to know how to French braid if you go to girls' camp".
There was plenty of time for sitting around and playing card games.
Abe made a very tasty pancake and sausage breakfast this morning. Abe isn't much for cooking at home, save Christmas morning breakfast and an omlet lunch once a year or so, but when we're away from home he is quite a good cook.
He deserved that hefty stack of pancakes and sausage.
Clark and I love playing Mafia around the campfire. We both lie so well. We were both mafia together and we totally ruled! It feels so good to be bad.
The little boys really tuckered themselves out playing so they happily and easily went down for naps and bedtime.
Cannon insisted on a whole series of posed woodland shots. I'll just share one, but they are pretty funny. Cannon was quite a pleasant little camper to have around. Except for the two times he got mad about something and went to go sit in the woods alone and didn't answer when we called for him. No bueno. Time-out tent for you, my dear.
But besides that, it really was a great time. We had a bit of sun and a bit of rain, but it was pleasant and comfortable. Besides being stinky, I think I could have enjoyed staying for longer. I hope we can get back to making a camping trip an annual event.