(Click here for the first installment.)
The second time out, we camped in a small, quiet, tent-only campground on Jenny Lake. This time, it was more about the fishing.
^Juniper, plying the lakeside, found a spinner.^
For us, staying in a campground is like going to the suburbs: we are surrounded by neighbors--something far more exotic to my kids than mountains, lakes and trout. Juniper stopped every single person with a dog, firing off questions: "Is that your dog? What's her name? Are you the owner to this dog?" And, "My name's Juniper and this is my little sister Hazel. I'm four and she's two." Hazel would stand nearby, shifting from side to side, looking up, scrunching her nose and repeating Juniper's same questions in her toddler garble: "Is dat yo dawwwwg?" At least half the campground knew us.
:: Notes from my journal(!):
At camp: Juniper bounces around, starts a conversation with anyone who will look at her, which is pretty much everyone. Camping is really fun this year. We're back in a tent. The kids are learning the tricks of the trade, like how to find your way back to camp in a homogenous forest. They are climbing rocks--Juniper scaling them like a gecko, Hazel getting frustrated and whining, "But I don't know howwww!" They balance on the beams of fallen trees. Juniper splashes in lake water slightly warmer than liquid nitrogen and not until the sun sinks behind the peaks does she say, "Mom, I think we should go back to camp now. I'm getting kinda shivery."
^J bug, practicing her camera-smile. Note the chocolate around her lips and marshmallow above her eyelid.^
We are in the campground of yesteryear. Tiny, one-car parking spaces, large tent sites, spaciousness around picnic tables and firepits (so many campgrounds these days have a tiny communal area and huge parking space). The road through camp is so narrow and winding, you'd hit a boulder or tree if you dropped your attention for a second. And thanks to that, the rare car moves slowly. Kids play on the road, in the road, on the other side. We don't worry. It's the first time I've been to a campground like this in years (of course we couldn't with the trailer).
:: We are still working out the kinks of car camping. I don't think I've ever been good at car camping--not since I was a kid camping with my dad. Packing for a ten-day *backpacking* trip I could do in my sleep (or could have, anyway). In the old days, my version of "car camping" was to load my backpack and throw it in the car. But we learn with every trip: the white-gas stove runs out of gas, so to avoid a late-night trip (with elk all over the road) to the nearest store, it's wise to have more on hand. There are four of us and one eats like a teenage boy, so we could use a bigger pot. You should never be without a potty chair (running down the campground road carrying a 45 pound kid who eats like a teenage boy = not fun). And since we're nearly always in grizzly country, we are strict about NO FOOD IN OR AROUND THE TENT, and we have designated "tent/sleeping" clothes (i.e., NOT the same clothes in which we eat s'mores). We camp in the mountains where it's cold, so I may want to remind my husband to bring a jacket if I don't want him wearing mine. And my family is sure to catch fish, so it might be nice to have a place to keep them (instead of emptying the cooler of high-dollar chicken-apple sausages and greek yogurt). Like I say, learning with every trip.
:: The fishing:
:: Hazel, on a flopping trout moments before the end: "The fish is waving good-bye!" After we thank the trout and break it's neck, Juniper gets into the scientific exploration of gutting fish.
She especially likes the air bladder.
:: Tonight, me: "Hey honey, what do you think about this picture? I was really just trying to show how much Juniper has picked up speed since last year. But all I could get was a blurry shot."
My man: "Yeah, that's because she's really picked up speed."