Our church had its annual camping trip this week from Thursday until yesterday (Saturday). We went to a group campsite near Prescott, AZ, which is a good 2-hour drive from here. The elevation is over 6,000 ft, so the weather is about 20 degrees cooler. Most of the area consists of pine forests.
Anna snoozing in the tent
There is a larger mattress under the one she is sleeping on, and I left the window down to check on her and make sure she wasn't rolling off. She usually just lies still and looks around for a few minutes after waking up.
Personally, I am not a big fan of camping, but my husband and the kids love it. This year, we had NO rain, so it really was very nice. I think my favorite part about going camping is when we first arrive at the campsite, and I get out of the van and smell that wonderful mountain/forest air. It's also nice to be without any watch or clock, without cell phone reception, and without doing laundry and errands for days on end. In all, I would have to say this was my favorite camping trip ever.
The sun setting from our tent window
Our tent has two "rooms". Everyone except me was on one side to stay warmer and to keep from rolling off the mattresses.
The other "room", where me and Annie shared a mattress and sleeping bag.
One of the days we were up there, most of our church group was able to spend the day at a nearby lake kayaking. Our family brought hot dogs for our lunch that we grilled at a picnic area right near the water, and my husband and I took turns watching the kids by the shore and going out on the water. I did one long trip to the opposite side of the lake with Solomon, Isaac, and John. Way back on the other side, we saw a man who was trapping crawdads. The boys were fascinated, and Isaac found the head and one claw of a HUGE dead crawdad. Ew! I have no clue where his trophy is now, and I probably don't want to know, either (just as long as I don't reach into his pockets when I check the laundry before washing it, and find THAT in there).
One thing I did new this year was to dress all of our kids in matching color shirts each day. Seems pretty obvious, but I just caught on to that this year. We had a total of 21 kids (all age 9 and under) between all of the families at our camp, so having all mine in a certain color made it a lot easier to count heads and keep tabs on them all.
right before leaving on "Day Orange"
Other than all the outdoor fun, one of the main attractions of our church camping trip is all the great preaching we get to hear. This year was no different.
Solomon holding Annie
Then of course there is the special camp food, and I must say that doing dishes in the outdoors is a nice change. There are some foods that taste best cooked over an open fire that we only ever make when we are camping.
My husband didn't actually cook. He just stirred the food a couple of times.
Isaac waiting for the bacon to finish cooking
The campsite we use has no electricity or running water, so all the kids were pretty dusty and dirty the whole time, but they were all enjoying that a lot, it seemed. Last night, after we got home, all the boys took showers, and Miriam and Becky took a bath together. When I drained the tub, there was sand all over the bottom of it, and also after little Anna when I gave her a bath separately.
Becky at the lake. She was the grubbiest of all of our kids by far.
We often have friends of our church visit from other states just to join our camping trip. Some of them have gone camping with us every year. A pastor friend of my husband and his family have been there every year, and he is my favorite preacher beside my husband. Another family from New Mexico has a little daughter Miriam's age, and all year long Miriam looks forward to whenever we go camping or they come to Phoenix for a visit.
Becky and Miriam with their friend.