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Nov 29 - Lauren's B-day Party
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 Camping, Camping, Camping!
We're certainly putting our new tent to good use! We've been camping at Payson Lakes two of the last three weekends, enjoying the cooler air of higher altitudes. The first trip was the annual 24th of July weekend campout that we do for my mom's birthday. Karen's family invited us along for their trip last weekend. We played hard and had a great time. See below for the details.

Smith Trip

I only worked a half day Friday, and while I was at work Karen got all the stuff together. When I got home, we loaded up the car and took off for Payson Lakes. The campground at Payson Lakes was full so we headed up the road a little ways to Blackhawk Campground. It's a pretty nice spot. After getting all set up, Karen, the three kids and I went on a fun little hike. The girls loved seeing the birds, deer and especially the horses of the other campers. Later in the evening my parents and siblings arrived, and we had dinner. Everyone went to bed except for the Settlers of Catan, who were Justin, Karen and I. I pulled off a win dubiously going from 5 to 10 points in the last turn passing Justin's 9. Maybe one of you pro settlers can clarify for us: can you play two unplayed soldiers in one turn? Poor Justin... now he'll have to listen to me brag about the win until he can get me to play again so he can thrash me.

The next day we spent something like 7 hours cooking a breakfast of eggs-erroneous, which is basically eggs with a whole bunch of stuff mixed in and scrambled all up. How could that take 7 hours to cook, you ask? Simple! We're clueless when it comes to dutch oven cooking. Which explains why I'll be judging a dutch oven cook off this weekend. I'll write about that after it's over. After breakfast, we went to Big East Lake and played in the water. We borrowed a canoe and a kayak and had loads of fun cruising all around the lake. Lauren had a great time riding logs and telling me how cold the water was for swimming. After we all got tired of the lake, we went to take down our camp, and we played a round of Frisbee golf. I would tell you who won and give you all the gory details, but I don't want to sound like an egomaniac (having just written about my superb Settlers skills).

Alder Trip

This time Payson Lakes and Blackhawk were both filled up, so we found a nice open field near Payson Lakes and set up camp. Since the Alders brought their big camping trailer, we had all the amenities that a campsite would offer anyway. We got there pretty late so we spent the evening on dinner and setting up. We played a card game called Golf that's pretty fun. I got smoked hand after hand, and then we all went off to bed. The next morning before breakfast Amy, Ryan, Karen and I did a little mountain bike exploring. After a tasty breakfast of egg burritos, we got ready to head over to the lake. Pretty much the same story as the last trip, but this time Lauren did great swimming until she thought it was too cold, then wouldn't go back in the water not even to ride logs. Everyone had a good time, then headed back to our campsite. Lauren and Melanie wanted to go on a bike ride, so I towed them around in the bike trailer. Note to self: double-wide bike trailers don't fit on single track trails. The girls really liked it, so I'll have to find some fun wider trails without too much uphill to take them on. After that, Karen and I went on a cool ride called the Blackhawk Trail that was mostly downhill, and for every down, there is an up. Karen took the main road (paved) back and I went back up the trail. After we got back, Ryan and I did the same ride again really fast, but arranged for someone to shuttle us back. That's the way to do mountain biking! It was getting late so we packed everything up to head back home. It was already dark, but that didn't stop Karen and Ryan from riding their bikes down the canyon in front of the cars. They're nuts! I'm glad that neither was injured and that everyone made it home safe. Our girls were so tired from playing so hard that it took around a half hour to get them to wake up the next morning so we could get ready for church.

We had a great time on both trips, and rumor has it, Karen wants to go camping again before the summer is over. No wonder our lawn is so long! When will she find the time to mow if she's always getting ready for, cleaning up from or on camping trips?

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--Lauren (3/2005)

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