Monday, September 19, 2016

The Great Camp Out

I survived 13 girls and some siblings (including Bud) in the woods on Friday night.  And they survived the woods!  I know it was the first outside sleepover in the woods for my two and some of the others as well.  It was great.

We arrived around 5 pm and hauled our sleeping bags and stuff up the hill to the campsite; there was a single, big platform tent for the troop downhill from the campfire and several lean-tos for the boys above the campfire.  I actually slept in a lean-to myself, since the big tent was pretty full and the lean-to was easier to sleep in.

But sleep was a long way off.

We made pizza first, with the girls mixing and kneading their dough by hand.  They even wandered the lovely herb garden to find toppings for their pizzas.  "I can't believe we can just pick leaves and eat them!" one said, as they sampled sorrel, onion chives, garlic chives, lemon balm, sage, basil, cherry tomatoes, kale, and other things.  The pizzas were pretty good.  Well, Bud thought it was dough-y but loved all the herbs; Sis got to make hers with no sauce, just cheese.

Next we lit the campfire, which I tended while they went on an extended night hike (the whole event was for their Night Owl badges.)  They had a very exciting time--climbing rocks, watching for wildlife, gazing out at the city below--maybe too exciting, since they were near a tall cliff!   The hike was Sis and Bud's favorite part.  I sat meditating by the fire, listening to the symphony of the forest, and making and eating by myself the best s'more ever.  I only missed hearing any owls.

The kids returned all full of stories and inhaled their s'mores.   We then all shared our experiences with wildlife--turkeys in the yard, hawks on the wing, a bear on the road.  The woman in charge of our group, an outdoorsy woman with shorn hair and an impish smile, told of a deer jumping over her one night as she slept by the fire.  She loves kids, you could tell, and talked straight to them.  (And all the leaders giggled when she made one of our precious snowflakes pick food out of the garbage can for the compost bin and another return a wheelbarrow she had tried to avoid putting back!!!)  And most of them liked her (except a few snowflakes.)

And we sang around the fire--"Baby Shark," "Bear Hunt," my favorite "Barges," "Linger," "On the Loose," and "Taps."  Such a lovely time.

And then there was no sleep.  I could hear the girls all the way up the hill until around 3.  I think Bud fell asleep despite it all.

Then the coyotes started around 4 a.m.  Bud heard them, too.

But I missed the owls hooting at 5 a.m., apparently.

And we were up at 6 a.m. by the fire to warm up.  I had actually been relatively comfortable in my bag, even with the chilly mist--I thought it was great sleeping weather; everyone else was cold.  I loved watching the full harvest moon through the trees and the flicker of the waning fire.  The sound of the girls and the insects and even traffic in the distance were comforting.

For breakfast, the girls gathered eggs in the chicken coop and picked some more herbs.  They also admired the sheep and ducks.  And their parents soon arrived to take them home.

It had been a great camping trip.

And I napped three hours that afternoon.


Hmmm, I want to linger.
Hmmm, A little longer.
Hmmm, A little longer,
Here with you.
Hmmm, It's such a perfect night.
Hmmm, It doesn't seem quite right.
Hmmm, That this should be,
My last with you.
Hmmm, And come September,
Hmmm, I will remember,
Hmmm, Our Scouting days,
Of friendships true.
Hmmm, And as the years go by,
Hmmm, I'll think of you and sigh.
Hmmm, This is good night
And not good bye.
Hmmm I want to linger.
Hmmm A little longer.
Hmmm A little longer,
Here with you.

"On the Loose"
Have you ever seen the sunrise turn the sky completely red?
Have you slept beneath the moon and stars with a pine bough for your head?
Have you sat and talked with friends, though a word was never said?
Then you're like me and you've been on the loose.
On the loose to climb a mountain,
On the loose where I am free.
On the loose to live my life,
The way I think my life should be.
For I've only got a moment,
And a whole world yet to see,
And I'll be searching for tomorrow, on the loose.
There's a trail that I'll be hiking
Just to see where it might go.
Many places yet to visit,
Many people yet to know.
And in following my dreams,
I will live and I will grow,
On a trail that's out there waiting, on the loose.
So in search of love and laughter,
I'll be travelling through this land.
Never sure of where I'm going,
For I haven't any plans.
But in time when you are ready,
Come and join me, take my hand.
And together we'll find life,
Out on the loose!


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