So, once again I went on the father/son camp out for my ward despite the fact that I don't have any sons of my own... ...yet. I had actually called up Jared Newlun to see if he wanted to go see Prince Caspian with Kelley and me. He said he couldn't because he was going on the camp out with his 4 sons. So I had a feeling that I should call my sister Stacey to see what was going on with her boys. I had taken Nate, my nephew, on this camp out a few times before in years gone by. Stacey reminded me that Jason was in Japan to attend his grandmother's funeral and that her boys, Nathan and Jack, would love to go on the camp out.
We headed up in the morning on Friday to Zion's Camp. On the way we stopped at Crazy Eric's, a one-stop-heart-attack-shop with the greasiest burgers and fries still not outlawed by the FDA. I had the 'bogfoot' meal which consists of two patties side by side on a hogie roll with the works. So good. But a word of advice, once it cools off, the congealed fat dimishes the taste quite a bit. And on we went, another 10 minutes and we arrived.
The campground is a church owned property and one that Kelley and I stayed at before we were married as part of a Young Single Adult activity. There's a huge field to play soccer/football, a rope swing, and new additions such as an archery range and more.
We camped next to Jared and his boys and Sean (the brother of Jared) and his boys. Shortly after arriving we set up the tent. I borrowed almost everything we need from Stacey. I tried to include both boys in this endeavour handing them tasks that suited there ability.
With the tent up and both boys lathered up with sunblock, we all made a mad dash for Lake Deveroux. Arriving down at the lake we were greeted by a flock of Relief Society sisters sunbathing. Thankfully they left shortly after we descended to the water. Tannis, Deacon & Xander (Jared's twins), and Jack all took turns using the four floatation devices that we brought. But the show stopper was a huge rope swing that was tied to a tree overhanging the lake. I was about the fourth person up on the platform to go, the whole time fretting that my newly added weight might break it. As I sat on the edge of the elevated dock, the rope between my legs, I hesitated ever so slightly. I had a revelation in that moment about the prominent role that fear has played in my life. I'll have to think more about that one before expounding. I leaned forward and felt the pull of gravity do the rest. It was a blast. I even coaxed Nate to go on it once. I'm sure he loved it. Towards the end of our lake time Nate went to hunt salamanders with a few of the other boys while Jack was just contented to keep playing in the water. We stayed out there for some time, enough for me to turn a little pink anyway.
Upon returning to camp, we visited with others camping close by. One of Nate's friends took Nate to the archery range while the rest of us stayed behind to start preparing dinner. Shortly thereafter along comes some guy to anounce a 'fireside' or something and said that it was starting in like 5 minutes. Jared replied that we were in the middle of making dinner and if there had actually been some kind of iternerary we wouldn't be caught off guard with food in the fire/coals. So none of us went to the meeting. There was way too much food. We had hotdogs, ribs, deviled egg salad, brownies, juice, chips, potato salad, and the list goes on and on. Nate got back towards the end of dinner and had what was left of the ribs.
The Andersons, Jeff and Brad, showed up late so we shared our food with them and let them stay in our tent so they wouldn't need to find a place to set one up so late. After dinner we all just sat around our campfire and talked about everything and anything. I had the makings for smores but was just too tired to get out the stuff, that and I didn't want to deal with the mess of little boys flinging marshmellows all over the camping chairs. With Nate, Jack, and the rest of the boys in bed, the men stayed up till just after midnight, continuing their talking. Jared was almost obligated to tell the classic stories of our times together with the young men on their fifty miler up to Ross Lake. I'm convinced that trip has entered into the annuls of local church lore. I'll write about those exploits later, just for posterity's sake.
After a night of tossing and turning every hour due to the rough hard ground, I was awoke to what sounded like the thundering of a thousand native birds performing their mating calls. I couldn't fall back to sleep for the life of me. The minutes just ticked away as slow as possible until my alarm went off. Cleaned up, packed up, and we were off to set up tables for the pancake, sausage, egg breakfast that the Samoan ward was preparing.
Breakfast was alright, the sausages tasted a little off but that dissapointment was offset by the addition of chocolate milk. Before we left, Nate played some volleyball and Jack just played with sticks.
On the road we had to stop to pay the toll to go over the new narrows bridge. Definitely not worth the $3 they are charging. All in all, it went well. It was only after the fact that I learned it was Jack's first time camping. I just hope I didn't traumatize him too bad into not wanting to camp in the future.