The last week of summer was the much anticipated high school cross country team (& families) camping trip to the east side of the state. Now I am not much for camping, and I definitely was not looking forward to two nights in a tent and 3 days without a shower. However…I was very much looking forward to meeting the rest of the kids on the XC team and some of the parents. I was also looking forward to relaxing, chatting with adults, sitting in the warm sun, and not dealing with the “things of home” for 3 days. Plus, we were going somewhere we had never been, on roads we had never traveled, and that was exciting to me!
This XC camp is a tradition for the kids and it was fun to finally experience all the things that we had heard about for the last couple of years. Everyone meets at school early on Tuesday morning for the drive out. This year we had 24 of the 26 runners and about 17 parents or so. We began with prayer and headed out. Fortunately for us, the team rides all together, so we had a little extra room in our van…camping for 3 days is pretty much the same as camping for two weeks…you have to bring the same amount of stuff. Well, except for food, but we didn’t bring too much food because the XC coach plans, buys, transports and cooks (with help) all the food. We pay $50/family for the 3 days, but that was a screamin’ deal!!
Anyway, we drove up to Newhalem and stopped there for a bathroom break. Some friends of ours, who were not “newbies” like us, took us on a few little extra stops along the way as well, and we saw some gorgeous stuff! That is DEFINITELY a place we should head back to as a family sometime and do some more hiking and exploring around.
This was at a stop just a tad farther east than Newhalem. It was a beautiful drive over the mountains.
When we arrived at the top of the pass, we pulled into the Washington Pass Overlook area. Most of the moms and little kids stayed there, hiked around, chatted, and got lunch ready while all the runners, some of the moms, most of the dads, and some of the siblings headed up the hike to Blue Lake. It was 2.5 miles uphill and they ran. Well, the XC kids did. They ran to the top, jumped in the lake (which was very cold, but they didn’t care because they were all sweaty from the hot run) and then ran back down. Ed & Bethany did the hike while I stayed back with Becca & Elise. These pictures are from Ed’s phone.
This next picture is from the hike that the little girls & I did while we waited at Washington Pass. The winding road is what we drove down when we left the area.
After lunch we made our way to our campground on Lake Pearrygin near Winthrop. Just as we arrived, the wind was picking up and we managed to get the tent up and the rain cover on before it started to rain. Then we just stood under the van back hatch until it passed and finished setting up our tent. The kids all set up their tents and the coach set up his “kitchen” – this guy is super organized and knows how to camp!! Not to mention, he’s a pretty fabulous coach!
Then the XC kids went swimming. Correction, the GIRLS went swimming. The guys watched.
Seriously? Cracked me up. Made the XC girls crabby. Truth be told, I would have been crabby at them when I was in high school too. Get in the water, boys!
Ah, eventually they all did swim and they all got along great. Every morning, the runners have a workout. The first morning they run 3 miles up a mountain and then 3 miles back down. They do this at 7 am. It goes without saying that I did not go along…but Ed & Bethany did! They didn’t go all the way up, but they got in a great hike. Then the kids swim and breakfast is about 9:30. Then they play the whole day. Our little girls thought it was great fun to play frisbee and to swim and to do lots of stuff with the high schoolers. Elise says that “Ashley is getting to be her new best friend.” And Elise said that this trip was her favorite trip of the summer because “I got to meet so many new people!” I think she’s an extrovert…
Having some fun in the lake
Ed & another dad playing ladderball
Lunch is generally bagels with meat & cheese, fruit, chips, and gatorade. Always gatorade. Dinner the first night is spaghetti, bread, & salad and the second night is chicken with rice (which was quite delicious!) The second afternoon I spent strolling through the western tourist shops in Winthrop with the other moms and we had a great time! One of the evenings included a trip into town for ice cream at the local hangout, which was pretty cheap and yummy!!
Sleeping in a tent…how did that go, you ask? Pretty crummy. I was pretty crabby every morning. Maybe that’s because the little girls cried because they were so cold and one of them even refused to get into her sleeping bag because she didn’t like that sleeping bag. Well, I’m sorry dear, but there’s not much sympathy for being cold if you’re not even going to get in the sleeping bag! And then there was the early morning hour when Ed got up to go to the bathroom. I was laying there, listening for his footsteps on the gravel and the zip of the tent door. Instead, before I heard Ed’s footsteps, I heard little pitter patters on the tarp outside the sleeping portion of our tent. I froze. It was a mouse. Or a small creature of some sort. It was dark so I did not see the creature, but there was most definitely something moving around out there and as all my blog readers well know, I know what creatures sound like during the night. FINALLY, I heard Ed’s steps on the gravel and then the scurry of the creature under the tent flaps and back outside. Ugh. I am pretty sure it was a mouse because the day before we had seen a little deer mouse in the grass in the vicinity of our tent. So, one more thing to not like about camping…
Team Photo and time to head for home!
The trip home included a stop at Diablo Dam overlook (it was FREEZING there!) and at Cascadia Farms for more yummy ice cream! All in all, it was a great trip and I’m very glad we went! We arrived home around dinnertime on Thursday and then the realization hit…school would begin in just 5 short days…