It's called Camp Whitsett, and while it's a Scout Camp for most of the summer, there's one weekend (right around the fourth of July) where families are invited to come and use the facilities (it's about $35 per child and $55 per person 12 and up).
Our darling librarian, Nancy, told us all about it. "It's in the Sequoia National Forest. There's a lake and a stream and beautiful places to hike. They cook your food for you--and it's not 'camp food.' It's real food like shrimp and steak. They have showers for the women and tons of activities for your children to do. You'll love it."
And we did.
I'm going to walk you through a photo-tour of the camp, and then if you'd like to join us there next year, please do! (Something might come up, so I'm not guaranteeing we'll be there at this point, but our intentions are genuine.)
This is the spot where we set up our tent. Grace loves camping:
This is me and Nancy (our librarian I told you about):
These rocks were right outside the dining area, and my children had to climb them every time we passed.
Beautiful lake, don't you think?
This next picture makes me laugh. I got so frustrated with Spencer when I saw the face he made, so I did a re-take. However, now that I look at the two pictures, this one is much better:
A sweet moment with my honey:
I love how being up in the mountains provides so much family time.
They have an "all natural" miniature golf course that my children thought was great. Instead of hitting golf balls, you hit pine cones.
Alia is totally turning into Eric. When the two of them get together, it's pure comedy.
This is Matt, Ethan, and Spencer, finishing up their last hole:
I asked the scout who made the course and the putters if he could show me how he connected the two pieces of wood together. He taught me all about "lashings."
I think this is my favorite photo. The kids practically lived in the stream while we were there. Here are their shoes on the bank:
This is Jackie and Jayne:
And a DEER that walked into camp:
Saturday afternoon, the lake was open to all the campers. We had to pass a pretty simple swim test first, and then we were able to take out kayaks, row boats and canoes.
Ethan had a fantastic time:
This is Grace and our friend Annie:
Spencer was sad that he didn't pass the swim test (he'd just barely learned to swim the week before, and I was amazed he even tried), so Eric comforted him here on this dock for awhile:
Alia and Jackie in their double kayak:
Jackie's husband Brandon in the row boat with Jayne and Annie. Darling.
Eric and Spencer (I made Eric turn his hat around backwards because the shadow was blocking out his whole face):
Grace, Ethan, and Spencer loved doing archery:
(We went straight from the lake, so Spencer still had on his swimsuit.)
And we let Spencer sleep in the little doggy section of our tent. He thought it was simply grand for the first few hours, and then he got cold and climbed into Grace's sleeping bag in the middle of the night, which upset her, so I had to get up and reposition everyone, but other than that, it was wonderful.
This is where the meals are served. It's a nice big tent, and I will say there are some bugs under there, but it's not bad. I was really happy with the meals.
This is a shot of the stream. I have about 20 of these. The adults set up camp chairs right next to this area, and the children would play and explore for hours. (So come join us, and we can hang out by the stream together!)
The last night we were there, one of the camp leaders brought up a HUGE telescope and showed us incredibly clear images of Saturn and tons of interesting groupings of stars. Eric, Alia, and I were out until midnight--totally enjoying the clear, starry sky.
Oh, it was wonderful.
And on the way home, we went by a redwood forest called "Trail of 100 Giants."
This was one of the first "giants."
Occasionally, the trees fall over, and you get to see their root system.
You can't tell how large this is, though, until you compare the roots to Grace's size:
On the drive home, we saw a field of flowers, and I said, "Eric, that looks like the kind of field that a deliberate mother would sit in." (When we did a call-out for the cover of our book, Deliberate Motherhood, I was AMAZED at how many photos were of mothers sitting with their children in fields of flowers.)
So we pulled over to take this photo, and it was a DISASTER. There were bees all over those flowers, and our children were whining, and Eric was getting frustrated and saying, "They're just bees! Stand still and smile!"
We did finally get one good photo, and we all laughed about it when we were going through these.
Honestly, Camp Whitsett is wonderful, and the camp felt pretty empty while we were there. There's lots of room for more families, so let me know if you want to come, and I'll email you next year when it's time to sign up!