Traditions and Camping

This week we will go camping on our annual trip with friends to Rocky Mountain National Park. This is year #7 for us on this trip, and it's something we look forward to each summer. Our group campout started not long after we moved here, and it's affectionately been referred to as "Camping with the Hansens" ever since, after the family that started it and put out the initial invites. Though I grew up camping quite a bit, Jo wasn't too into it, and we weren't really a "camping couple" at the beginning. But, if you count our first year where we came home without actually staying over (which is debatable, I suppose), we are one of only 2-3 families who have been each and every year. In Jolayne's defense, she's now got a rep as the best dutch-oven cooker in the group, and she's been planning this year's meals for several weeks already. She's a great camper and does a fantastic job with everything. We haven't joined the International Dutch Oven Society or anything like a few of the guys at church who are hard core, but we enjoy our meals and they tend to turn out well. We've done pizza, cobbler, enchiladas, and coca-cola chicken.

The extravaganza has now grown into anywhere between 10-12 families, with countless kids, and we consume two full group sites at the park, which is somewhere over 9,000 feet. The nights are cool, and there's usually a thunderstorm or two. Sometimes it's more like torrential downpour or two. It's always quite a charade, replete with dirty kids, burned food, and campfire stories. But we've learned lessons over the years. I now bring the dustbuster every year to clean out the tent (and everyone who laughs at me for doing so then asks to borrow it when they clean their tents!) We know that a package of baby wipes must always be near by. And families who had tiny, flood-prone tents now have huge stadium-sized nylon condos; we've even managed to create a list of what to bring each year since we tend to always forget different stuff. Our kids sleeps well, which keeps us very happy each year. We know it could be a WHOLE lot worse.

I hope our kids grow up with great memories of running around unbridled, doing whatever they like, getting filthy, making up stories about bears to scare their friends, cooking marshmallows, and whatever else they like. Those are the type of memories that stick around forever.
The 2007 group.

This year we plan on taking the kids on a hike or two, and they're already groaning about it. They tend to complain about most things that require any sort of effort, and we've become accustomed to it. But hiking up in RMNP is one of my favorite things to do. It helps to put life into perspective, and reminds me how insignificant we all are. It's an amazingly beautiful place, and to be up there with our close friends makes it that much better. One of our favorite short hikes each year is to Alberta Falls. It's a nice waterfall with fairly steep climbing rocks the kids love to expend energy on. These pictures are from last year's excursion. One of the things I love about living in CO is being so near the mountains and such great places. We try to get up to them as often as we can, but inevitably that's only a handful of times each year.


Carli said…
We are looking forward to it too!

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