We tried to choose a location more central to all family campers this year and had tossed around Shasta as an idea after last year's trip but needed a place with full hookup for the Grassick 5th wheel (which the state parks in and around that area are apparently lacking.) So we ended up choosing Mt. Lassen and finding (rather late in the planning process this year) a KOA kampground that would accommodate us all. July 4th-8th (Jill and her kids, and our Bessman family choosing to show up a day late on the 5th.) A whole lot of dirt, not a lot of sleep, but a ton of laughter, bonding and memories. Too many photos to choose from so I created a few collages that summarize the highlights...
The setting was perfect, two campsites just close enough that, had we been strangers, would have been WAY too close. Perfect for family ;) One site held the 5th wheel and the Grassick #1 tent (housing Joey, Lindsay and 3-year-old Sevvy.) While the other site held Grassick tent #2 (with Jill, Shawna, Josh and Molly), the Bessman tent (Me, Joe, Brendan and Aubrey) and the campfire that we gathered around each day. Two fold-up camping gazebos allowed us to push two tables together for a much nicer covered group dining area.
The KOA provided a number of possible activities including a swimming pool, movie night, and rent-able pedal karts. Jill opted to rent Josh a kart for a half hour one night which turned into loads of fun (and arguments) for the adults (you pedal BACKWARDS to brake!!)
The family was split (in decisions, opinions and activities...) one day as we tried to decide who would be going with Dad on the 5 mile, arduous round-trip hike to the peak of Mt. Lassen. The decision may not have been fair (and I admit I felt rather guilty) but it was I who made the trip with the men-folk as Jill, Lindsay and Nadine stayed behind with the kids (opting for the kid-friendly cave exploration.) Despite the 10,400 ft elevation at the top and the chilly winds throughout, the view was beautiful and the experience one I won't soon forget. My brother, my dad and my husband. I love those men... all three of them...
Our last day of adventure took us on a hike to the boiling mud pools of Bumpass Hell. And the theme tended to be "we're going on a 3 mile hike? I thought this was just a look-out!" as we drug all 5 small children (and Shawna) along the snow lined narrow foot-path. But the pools were amazing (albeit incredibly sulfurous-ly stinky) and well worth the "misery."
Things I learned on this trip:
- Shawna can build an awesome campfire
- Reese's peanut butter cups have got to be the best idea ever for a s'more
- Deer in the Headlights will need to accompany every camp trip from here on out
- "Tampons... they're like duct tape for girls..."
- I will never get over the excitement of being with my brother, my sister, and my dad all at the same time
- Dad can get downright (hilariously) vengeful when it comes to card games
- I will never stop looking forward to these trips, as long as they stay a tradition...
Until next year...