Recently I read a book called Let Them Be Eaten By Bears by Peter Brown Hoffmeister. The general idea is that kids do not get outside enough. They are addicted to technology and are losing their way. Most people cannot navigate by the sun or the stars (I know I can't), and have a general distaste for being outside. The author runs an outdoor program at a school in Oregon where he takes kids into the wilderness. He gives plenty of tips for getting your kids outside and back into nature.
When I was in college I spent the summer after my freshman year living and working in Yosemite. I worked Tuesday through Saturday at the Wawona Hotel at the south end of the park and I was part of a ministry called A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (ACMNP). On Saturday I went campground calling, Sunday my ministry partner, Jason, and I would lead a worship service, and then Sunday afternoon and Monday we would hike. The hotel work was hard and I was tired, the ministry was fulfilling, and the hiking renewed my spirit. Being outside, in nature, was an amazing thing.
My senior year I was a Resident Adviser. All student leaders went on Walkabout. This is an 11 day backpacking trip in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Each team packed in all food and gear, we spent all nights sleeping outside under the stars, each person had a 2 night solo time, and came back changed. During my solo I stood and sang in my little prayer circle and a hummingbird came and hovered right in front of me. I would stop singing and the bird would fly away. I would sing and he would come back. This went on for a good hour and is an experience I will never forget!
Have you ever been at the park and heard a parent tell their kid not to run? They are afraid they might get hurt. I have heard this countless times and it just makes me sad. Children cannot climb, they cannot run, they cannot shout. I was at girl scout camp with my daughter a few years ago and we were outside on a hayride. The girls were rambunctious and yelling. A mom said "Stop yelling! We are outside!" Where else are our kids supposed to yell? It might have been a bit annoying on the hayride but when are they supposed to yell and be kids? They were telling scary stories and reacting to that.
My kids have technology in their lives. Far more than I did as a kid. We had Colecovision and I will admit I was pretty darn good at jumping over gates in the Smurf game and I was a master at Donkey Kong! But, I played outside a lot. I rode my bike and played with friends outside. As an adult however, I am not outside nearly as much as I should be and my kids are inside far more than they should be.
All of that to say, after I read the book I started to get that outdoor itch. Bobby has not had fantastic camping experiences so he was not terribly thrilled but since it was my birthday weekend he couldn't say no. Well, he could but he didn't. :) I put out a call to my neighborhood asking if anyone had tents we could borrow and immediately found two, a 3 person and a 6 person. We started looking for someplace inexpensive to go and asked the Facebook universe what they would recommend. We received many great suggestions but my sweet friend Beth said to come to her house. They recently moved to an amazing property on the lake. It was ideal for a first camping trip. We didn't have to pack in all of our food, we had a beautiful view, got to set up tents for the very first time, and if it stormed we would be able to head into the house.
Whole 30 Chicken Marinade
I was making a lot of chicken so I made quite bit of marinade
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1//2 cup Olive Oil
3 minced cloves of garlic
Half a handful of fresh basil, chopped
Mix together in a Gallon size Ziploc bag
Marinate for several hours, turning occasionally
Grill until no longer pink. Be aware though that olive oil tends to blacken quickly so watch your chicken carefully.
Grant was our grillmaster and cooked everything to perfection. After setting up tents, homerun derby, eating dinner, and making s'mores it was time for a guitar lesson. Bobby gave some tips that were taken and used right away!
Bedtime was a little crazy. We didn't sleep for quite awhile and as we were getting into the tents we were watching lightning across the lake. One point the author makes is that there is no bad weather only bad clothing. If you are not prepared for the weather you could be rather uncomfortable. Thankfully, the rain held off where we were all night long.
Bobby woke early the next morning and went down to the dock to fish. Little Man joined him not too long after. Munchkin slept longer but joined him too. When we woke up I noticed an entire flock of geese down by the dock. They just sat there and I thought that as pretty neat since Bobby fishing right next to them didn't seem to bother them. The kids went down to the dock and still didn't scare them off. Later when a hawk swooped down and didn't scare them off it still didn't dawn on me that they were decoys! Beth and I were watching the guys and the kids fishing while we whipped up pancakes and turkey bacon for breakfast. When we went down to get them for breakfast they said one of the geese had been looking at the sky for several hours. Just a few minutes later a boat pulled out from the island right near the decoys. The fishermen we decently camouflaged because none of us knew they were there. Goose and dove season had just opened so I guess we kind of ruined it for those guys in the weeds but fishing was eventful, fun, and the kids will remember fishing with their daddy and the geese that didn't move!