Cousin’s Camp 2015

It was time for Cousin’s Camp again. It was decided, though that the whole family should be involved. My older sister got the dates set up from a Thursday thru Saturday. She was hoping to have all the kids there (including her step kids) on Thursday. Well, we couldn’t make Thursday work. Eric didn’t have enough time off and I certainly wasn’t going to take 6 kids up the mountain by myself. Not to mention that the campsite chosen was close to Heber. My sister seemed a little upset, but there really wasn’t a whole lot I could do.
So Friday morning we got all ready to go and I think we were able to be out of the house shortly after noon. We had an uneventful drive up the mountain and then got situated. While Eric worked on getting the tent up and the kids bringing sleeping bags, pillows and blankets to the tent, I worked on lunch.
After lunch, the kids found their cousins and Eric and I cleaned up lunch. Or I cleaned up lunch and Eric kept the dogs from going crazy and Jace from running into the road. Lex chose to play a game Eric had bought just for camping.
Then it was time for the kids to color their yearly shirts. Some kids take their time, some kids – not so much.
My little sister then had the kids try their hands at a craft. The idea was to make ‘lightning bugs’ out of plastic eggs and pipe cleaners. Then you stick a battery operated tea light in it and you’ve got your bug.
Then it was time for some good ol’ relaxation.

{…It was fun to see Ailey as the ‘big cousin’ that everyone wanted to be with…}

{…A lady in the campground next to us brought us a couple packages of Peeps for us to roast. I don’t like Peeps to begin with, so I didn’t roast any – but some of my kids couldn’t wait to do it…}

We had a classic dinner of hotdogs and smores for dessert. It was quick and easy and the kids pretty much all ate without complaint.

Jace really loved being outdoors and the whole camping thing.

Because we all have little kids, we all went to our tents rather early. This part is a little sad for me as I really enjoy staying up swapping stories and laughing by the campfire. But, I knew it was better to go to bed at the same time as Jace so that I wouldn’t wake him up if I came into the tent later.

He slept okay, but I had a hard time sleeping as we were super close to a freeway and trucks were on that strip of road all night long.

The next day really did become kind of a lazy Saturday. People found random things to do. My older sister had a bin of random things to do and one of them was beads to make necklaces and/or bracelets. The kids had way more fun doing this than I thought they might.
Then things got a little tricky. My little sisters kids love the outdoors and love going on walks and when camping, hikes. So they were begging to go on a hike all morning. That meant my kids quickly jumped on the bandwagon. 

My older sister wasn’t thrilled at the idea of taking a bunch of kids hiking by herself, and as a mom I couldn’t really let her do that anyway. It wasn’t fair. So I decided I’d go along as well, with whichever kids wanted to go.

Eric stayed at camp to watch Jace and to play games with my Dad and little brother who showed up that morning. Shaylyn and Tanis also opted to stay back. Shaylyn claims it was so she could keep my little brothers son entertained and Tanis was backup help for Jace.

My poor little sister had come without her husband, as he was out of town for work, so although she really had NO desire to go on a hike, she was a good little mommy and did what would make her kids happy.

So we had my 2 sisters, my mom and 6 little kids with us. We relied on my older sister for direction and guidance as she had some sort of map or something on her phone. We started on the trail that was supposed to be 4 miles long. We all kind of figured 4 miles would be nothing, especially on a trail. So we went along. Kami acted as a great tour guide and the kids were eating it up.

We hiked about a mile in when we passed this bike just sitting off to the side of the mountain. We found it a bit odd and the next thing I know my little sister is screaming, “There’s someone up there.” We had just talked about bears being in that area, so at first I was worried that’s what she saw. But when she uttered those words, I kind of laughed at her. She’s always been a little more of a worrier and she wasn’t really expecting to see anyone so it caught her off guard. Thankfully she was able to laugh at herself a little bit too.

We had to make a decision on if we were going to turn around at this point or just keep going. I think we were all a little proud and had the attitude of we can do 3 more miles. We don’t need to turn around. So off we went.

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. This trail was not well paved, and it was A LOT of up and down. There were overgrown weeds all around (like as tall as Ailey) and it was anything but an easy hike.

We all started worrying as the trail seemed never ending and there were a few times, our ‘guide’ even wondered if we were a bit lost. But she’s been outdoors a lot in her life and has a good sense of direction and we soon found the trail markers so we knew we were where we were supposed to be.
It was beginning to become a long hike and the kids were getting tired, but I think I only heard a complaint from both Ailey and Nate one time. Poor Nate’s asthma acted up the higher we went and it was hard for him to keep going as he couldn’t catch his breath and had to breathe so hard just to be able to breathe at all. And because he doesn’t normally have episodes, we don’t have anything for him. I felt like a horrible mother and just tried to make sure he kept hydrated.

Eventually my sisters husband started to worry about us as we had been gone for 3 hours. (Really didn’t seem that  long) Thankfully, they had phones that worked. Kami was able to tell Mark where we were and he came up the back side of the trail. He met up with us after about 1 1/2 miles on his end and was a presence we all were glad to see. We realized how stupid we were to not have convinced one of the men to come with us in the beginning.

My little sister’s little boy had fallen asleep shortly before Mark showed up and so she had spent a long time carrying her little boy in her arms, trying to navigate a trail that was anything but friendly for carrying another. My kids were dragging their feet by this point, so Mark grabbed Ailey and had her on his shoulders while my older sister carried her 2 year old. It was crazy. I could barely move one of my legs and was worried I did something horrible to my body.

We got back to camp and I really couldn’t move easily. We had discussed leaving Saturday night to make it back to the city to see Eric’s brother that was coming in from out of town on Sunday. I told Eric I didn’t mind if we left but he’d have to pack everything as I really couldn’t move. He had decided earlier on that we’d just leave on Sunday. My little brother had come realizing we were staying and everyone else was leaving so it wouldn’t be fair to leave him.

We all visited for a bit longer on Saturday night and then everyone else took their leave. We stayed and had fun with our little family and my little brother. We had a good chance to get to know my brother’s little boy a little more and I was thankful for that time. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to move the next morning either, but thankfully I woke up without pain.

My little brother had to leave fairly early as he had to get his kid back to his mom by a certain time. We packed up and cleared out shortly after as we had my Grandma’s birthday party to get to later that night.

It was a fun campout and I’m glad we went and I’m definitely thankful for the lessons I learned on that hike and even more thankful there wasn’t a bear or two that decided to visit with us.

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