We got home late yesterday afternoon from a weekend camping trip to Mammoth Lakes with friends and after the girls were in bed I ignored all of the stuff that needed to be put away and just developed pictures of something other than food. When Paul saw what I was doing he immediately and gleefully squealed "are you finally doing a blog post on our family blog?!?!" Okay, it wasn't really a squeal, but I know he checks that blog hoping for me to post and I haven't in oh, um, 2 MONTHS. I'm the worst. So much for that New Year's Resolution about posting 1x/week.
But seriously, this summer is kind of killing me and I cannot believe we only have two weeks left until school starts. We have a bucketlist of summer activities that we need to check off and not enough time to do it!
In fairness, we have a short summer break compared to what I remember growing up, and most of it was spent at the pool every day with swim team stuff, or visiting family. This Mammoth trip was our 3rd camping trip of the summer. So we've been doing lots of fun things. I just haven't had time to blog about any of it!
Anyway, I will be trying to catch up (maybe) but thought I would quickly post about this most recent trip.
We planned a camping trip with our friends, the Ball family, months ago so we could reserve sites in Mammoth. We stayed at the Sherwin Lakes campground in sites 11 & 12, which just happened to be the only two sites in the campground that had zero trees since they had all been felled by bark beetles a couple of years ago. Only we didn't realize that until we got there. So it was pretty hot and dusty with very little shade, but we didn't spend a lot of time there during the day so it wasn't too bad.
We loved that it was right next to a good-sized creek though and the kids literally spent hours there playing. Clara made dozens of teepees, boats to float down the creek, and braided the long grasses into bracelets, necklaces, crowns and rings which she gifted to me and Paul and then checked on us regularly to make sure we were still wearing them. Even when the other kids got bored playing by the creek, Clara stayed, totally happy and focused with her work.
We took turns making meals using the Ball's dutch ovens and I definitely want to get some now! I made a bbq chicken and sausage thing, which wasn't so great, and these cheesy garlic rolls, which were delicious.
The kids did what they do best and threw rocks into the lake for a good half an hour before it started getting too late and we decided we needed to get back to camp in order to do a 9:30 p.m. bedtime. I took portraits for my portrait project (which I've been awful about) while everybody was skipping rocks because the lighting was so pretty.
Rose, who is our early riser, made sure we were up and at 'em with the sun each morning before 6. But at least she was happy about it and other than a couple little things the second night of camping, the girls did awesome sleeping in the tent. After a summer with quite a bit of camping, they are getting to be pretty good at it. Both girls were super bummed when our time camping was over and Clara demanded that we camp for 10 days next time instead of 2. We were all pretty filthy after 2 days of camping, so I'm pretty certain we won't be doing 10 days any time soon, but I'm glad that both girls love it so much.
On Saturday morning, we headed to Devil's Postpile to hike. It's such a National Monument (so basically a national park except created by the President instead of by Congress) and a very interesting spot. And it's a good hike for the kids distance and difficulty wise. We didn't realize that there were campsites down in by Devil's Postpile that are first come first serve, but next time we go here I think we want to try and camp in the park, if possible, since there is a lot of hiking down around Devil's Postpile that we have never done.
On the bus ride down into the Devil's Postpile Trailhead, Paul pulled up my blog post from our first (and only other) trip to Mammoth two years ago when Clara was 4 and Rose was 1. I can't believe how much they've grown!
The kids were told to pretend to be stone columns. Really we were trying to get them to stand up straight in a row, but they all put their hands over their heads like this.
There is a loop around Devil's Postpile so you get to see it from all angles - bottom, sides, and top. I thought this perspective of columns jutting out at an angle was so fascinating.
This may be my new favorite pic of us as a family. We are TERRIBLE about getting pictures of all four of us together and really need to be better about that. It was nice having our friends with us because we could trade off cameras.
I can't believe I don't have any photos from our afternoon, but we stopped in Mammoth Lakes for lunch at Schat's Bakery, then did a really fun hike around Horseshoe Lake. The kids weren't super jazzed about that hike at the beginning. Our girls were really tired and hot, but once we got them going there were probably 10 bridges to cross over streams and Paul and the girls all dunked their heads in the snow run off (Paul held the girls upside down and dunked the tips of the heads in and they thought it was hilarious).
Really though, I think the kids just wanted to be back at camp with freedom to roam around and explore. So after our Horseshoe Lake Trail hike we went back and they played their little hearts out while we prepped dinner, then cleaned up, and we still ended up with another 9:00 p.m. bedtime even though we had said we would try for earlier.
Rose and Owen had quite the conversation over by one of the coolers during dinner prep. I love that all the kids got along so well.
Clara decorated a piece of bark with wildflowers that she tied on with a long piece of grass, then sailed it down the stream. Over and over again.
Then on Sunday morning we made a big breakfast and packed up to head for home. Except our car wouldn't start. We were able to get it jumped, but when we stopped for gas it wouldn't start again and then it was really hard to jump it a second time. Once it was finally running again, we didn't turn the car off until we got home, even filling the van with it running. At home, we unloaded quickly, without turning the van off, then drove it down to the dealership to drop it off so it can be looked at today and we could all go home in the little car. Sure enough, as soon as we turned it off at the repair place, it wouldn't turn back on. So that's kind of a bummer.
But all in all, it was a wonderful camping trip and probably the last of this summer, unless we can squeeze in one more sometime in September.