Saturday, May 30, 2009

We like to work

We're sitting here in fog as thick as soup but still smiling about trip last weekend to Berkeley Tuolemne Camp for their annual Memorial Day work weekend. It's a good deal: they put you up and feed you for free, you work your ass off. A few years ago I wised up and realized that helping sew camp costumes is easier and more fun that mopping the rec. hall and scrubbing bathrooms filled with mud from the winter. And I get free sewing lessons from an amazingly talented and very patient sewing genius.

Last we huddled in in jackets and hats as we sewed next to screened windows separating us from wind and rain. This year we had the most pleasant sweat shop ever.

Husband put his former professional skills to work repairing cabins. These days his most-used tool is the cell phone; I know he misses using the real ones.

We love our time in August with all our friends when camp is a frenzy of activity (most of which I do my best to avoid save cocktail hour on Lower Beach), but we also like the calm of this weekend when camp is comparatively empty and quiet.

The boards damming up the swimming hole are not yet up, so the river is higher, roaring beneath the bridge.

One of my favorite things are the flowering dogwoods throughout camp. By August, they're long gone and the favorites are the fragrant sugar pines.

On the morning the last day we always take time for a hike up to Small Falls.

We saw more spring flowers up there,

including this wild azalea, which we had been told about earlier in the weekend by a fellow camper. We almost missed it on the trail when I remarked on an amazing smell, and there it was.

As usual, Sophie hiked ahead on the trail, nimbly skipping over boulders that we hauled ourselves over with our bad knees and messed up shoulders. She was thrilled to make it to the top of Small Falls

until she realized that, having jumped down from a rock to get to where she was, she could not go back the same way. Water was deep and fast around where she was standing—she was stuck! But because of the roar of the falls, we couldn't hear her shouting to explain this to us. Husband took the line that she got herself in, she should get herself out. I have to admit, it's a strategy we've both agreed works will for raising an independent capable kid. After five long minutes, which included me near tears and begging Husband to go help her, we agreed some intervention was necessary.

Husband hiked up, saw the situation, and wedged a log from the rock on which she was standing to the bank that she could hold onto to make her way through the waist-deep water to where he was standing. In between there was much shouting, wild Italian hand gesturing, and eventually tears. When Husband was done with the rescue, he pushed the log over the falls. From where I was sitting down below, I counted to see how many second before it surface. And . . . it didn't. Imagine if. No, don't. She's fine and I think learned a valuable lesson.

Until August!


carolyn said...

gosh cindi---so many paralelles. We were just talking about BTC. How much we miss it and how we needed a break when preteen no longer thought camp was cool. My hubby did firefighter training & cabin repair one year up there during the work weekend and there is (was?) a photo of him in the office as he stopped the spread of an illegal campfire just up from BTC one summer back.Think of me when you enjoy your lower beach cocktail this August!! sigh.

Purple Flowers said...

It's good for Sophie to have such independence. I'm only glad it worked out safely for her part. I laughed about the part with the Husband's hands being so Italian. I come from a long line of that.

Trish said...

The camp looks/sounds AWESOME. Man I wish it were nice enough to camp in Florida in the summer but between the 1000% humidity and mosquitoes I know I wouldn't make it.

And thanks for the Sophie story! Do you think she'll try that again in August?

Cid said...

Gorgeous photos. I keep telling my kids that I want to go to camp with them this summer. They think it is a joke. I just want to be somewhere where the meals are made by someone else, they day is scheduled for you and the biggest decision you have to make is which bathing suit to put on in the morning.

Laura [What I Like] said...

This is so family used to go up there when my sister and I were small...I have such wonderful memories of that waterfall!