Boys’ Camping

This blog entry is my first, and I appreciate the opportunity to debut in such a distinguished forum.  I am not the usual “angleoflove” but I am the other half.  So I’m a long time reader but first time writer.  Here goes….

I’ve been feeling like I needed to take the boys camping for quite some time now.  In fact, my expectations 10 months ago when we first moved here to Leavenworth were that I’d have plenty (or at least adequate) time to do such things as camping, hunting, etc..  and I was really looking forward to that.  Well, CGSC really kept me hopping more than expected and I never followed through with any of those outdoorsy aspirations.   Then winter came and I had an excuse for not camping.  Then the Spring came and my excuse shifted to studying for the professional engineer exam which I took in April.  (By the way, I found out that I passed the exam this past week! :))  Then, since I had scheduled most of my elective classes to be after the exam, I was swamped once again with school work and also some pesky distractions like planning for our upcoming move and my next job.  In spite of tentatively scheduling to participate in a stake sponsored father/son camp and planning to go on our own one other time in May, I still never followed through and continued to use the “school is too busy” excuse.  So finally, my last day of classes occurred on Thursday,  31 May and a couple hours after class, we were on the road with our tent and sleeping bags.

When I first suggested to Bryce and Gus that we go camping, they were less than enthused.  They both said something like, “do we have to?”  I decided to regroup and take a more daring approach in order to make the idea more apealing to them.  So I said that maybe they could get a friend to come along.  Instantly, it became a really good idea.  As many of you know, there is a posse of 8 year old boys constantly running roughshod all over the neighborhood here.  So it was quite unlikely that only one friend would be coming along.  It ended up being me, Bryce, Gus, plus three 8-year old boys (Ryan, Jared, and Jake).  Thankfully, I had recently purchased a F150 Supercrew Cab that seats six.  –I had held out some hope in all of this that one of the other dads would be able to come along but that didn’t work out; they all had fairly legitimate outs.  I would say it was a great success just based solely on no one cutting their finger or poking their eye out.  We roasted hot dogs, smores, slept in our big tent, shot the BB gun, played a little catch, watched a turkey walk next to our camp in the morning, ate breakfast and came home.   I believe one of the best things for the boys was the simple task of gathering firewood; Bryce really led out and was good at getting the bigger stuff.  For the most part, it was their excuse for high adventure and provided them all a reason to trek down into “the gulley”.  One dead tree was laid across from one steep bank to the other and I observed the boys shimmying across on it.  Gus and Ryan both managed to get their shoes pretty muddy.  I never had to say much more than “looks like we need some more firewood,” and they would be out finding more.  We came back home at 0930 because the movers were at our house packing up our stuff to haul away starting at 0830.  I should say here that Angela has been an ultimate move-organizing warrior.  One additional benefit to the idea of camping was to give Angela some alone time, but in this case she spent it all preparing for the movers to come the next morning.

Some of the funny moments, or quotes from the campout:

Stuffed Animals:  When observing Gus gather stuff into his backpack, I could see him deliberating on how many of his stuffed animal friends he would be able to fit.  I counseled him to only bring one small one because the animals really liked being in the house more than camping anyway.  (not to mention my own feeling that maybe Gus should have outgrown this sort of behavior by now).  Anyway, once we set up the tent and the sleeping bags, I notice about 10-12 stuffed animals all over the place.  Most of them are not Gus’s but besides it being a bit comical, it was also somewhat of a relief to see that Gus is not the only boy who still loves his stuffed animal buddies.  However it did become evident that Gus had, in a defiant and cunning maneuver, managed to stuff his largest animal (a big dog) into his backpack unbeknownst to me (I don’t know how he brought anything else).  While I was looking at the animals, Jared asked me: “Do you know why I brought my animals?”, “No, why?”, “Because they keep me warm…..and I love them.”

Gassing:  After I had successfully herded the boys up the camp road to the bathroom facility to 1) check for ticks, 2) brush teeth, 3) pee before bed, and 4) wash their hands and faces I sent them back and they all got into the tent and started to get into their sleeping bags.  I enjoyed staying a couple minutes behind them and just walking by myself.  When I poked my head into the tent, I backed away and left an opening for the “bad air” to escape.  There was excessive giggling and joking about “gassing”.  When I reapproached, Ryan explained to me: “I accidentally got into Bryce’s sleeping bag, and I gassed it”.  By the way, gassing is the term of choice for this neighborhood posse; I had never heard it before.

The Quiet Game:  It was nearly impossible to get the boys to shut up and go to sleep and I could tell Bryce and Ryan both were ready to sleep and fairly annoyed at the other three.  I was proud of Bryce’s clever attempt to solve his problem because I had given up personally.  Bryce:  “let’s play the quiet game”.  Gus: ” Yeah, 3 – 2 – 1, quiet”   3 full seconds of quiet,  “fart noise from Jared or Jake’s direction”  Gus: “who was that? you lost!”   Jared: “wasn’t me”,  Jake: “wasn’t me”,  Jared:  “Gus, you lost!”,  Gus: “no I didn’t”,  Bryce:  “just be quiet!”  ….more giggles and on and on.

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