Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fourth of July recap; or, what we were doing while Sarah Palin bagged it resigned

As has happened for the past seven years, our group of friends, the Usual Suspects, hit the road for our annual Fourth of July camping trip. The Fig Family missed the past two (the MIL-sponsored Alaskan cruise and the Tetons-Yellowstone-Montana trip of last year), so we were particularly psyched for this trip.

We went to Upper Blue Lake, about twenty miles from Lake Tahoe, near Kirkwood, one of our favorite skiing haunts. Camping is no reservation, so we hit the road Thursday afternoon and raced in to grab sites for our group.

We were too late to get the spots down by the lake, but our crowd was appreciative nonetheless. We were negligent close enough for the kids to walk down by themselves.

As we expected, the lake and the hiking were great. But before I get to that, let's go over what sucked.

Here they are now: Our campground neighbors. Not only did they run their ATVs around the campground and up some of the lower hiking trails incessantly, but they fired up their goddamned generator the minute it became dark so they could run the FLUORESCENT light fixture they strung up over their picnic table. Seriously—their campsite looked like high noon all evening long and sounded like a fleet of lawn mowers. The first night they ran it until 11:00, when I got out of bed and marched over. The next night I kicked the campground host's butt at 10:00 to go enforce the campground's policy of turning off generators at 10:00. Assholes. Makes me want to backpack far away from all this trash.

However, these people were nearly outdone in aggravating us by the campground hosts themselves. Left to their own devices, these people would have run their generator around the clock, we think to power air conditioning they denied having. Thank goodness for my girlfriend the attorney (now the Usual Suspect In-House Counsel), who mentally muscled them into limiting their noise pollution to only part of each day. Why on earth did these people ever leave Modesto anyway??

But on to the good.

We set up camp.

We hung out with good friends. I'm looking all peppy here because I just got out of my solar shower.

We hung out at lakes—the one near our campground and a couple we hiked to.

We kayaked. We liked the used kayak our friends bought from Save the Bay that we're getting one just like one we borrowed for a spin around the lake and a little fishing.

We hiked. That's our friend Eric the Goat on top of what is called The Nipple and his dog Biscuit the Mountain Dog.

We, of course, we ate. The first night one family did burgers, hotdogs, sausages, and pasta salad. The second night was lamb kabobs and an amazing jicama slaw. And I did tacos on the third night (pictured here). It's the easiest camp meal ever for a crowd: I roast and shred the carnitas and prep the chicken at home. The morning of the meal, I marinate the chicken in a plastic bag. Before dinner, it's just a matter of warming up the carnitas and beans, grilling the chicken, assembling the slaw and condiments, and grilling the tortillas. What I love about camping with a group is not having to make every meal. Or do all the dishes. Rocks.

We're back to the summer camp routine, which seems like hardly a routine at all given that it changes every week. Sophie has done a week of fiddle camp, a couple weeks of jr. life guards at a local lake, a week of swim camp, and has sports camp, more jr. guards, and peace camp (this being Berkeley and all) on tap. Did someone say something about vacation being about rest and relaxation? No? That's ok, the Figs not being big resters or relaxers.


Purple Flowers said...

Looks like an absolutely awesome time with great friends, great food and fantastic viewpoints.

Deb said...

How fun!!! Sarah resigning is just the icing on the cake.

Trish said...

Wow! Makes me want to try camping sometime (sorta the way you ski stories made me want to learn last winter).

I wish I could bundle up and eat tacos outside right now!

Kristin said...

ATVs in a campground?! Agghhh! What the heck?! Big old RVs & their generators are bad enough, but ATVs? Looks like a fabulous place to camp though. Haven't found anything quite like it here in Missouri. I'm jealous.

ElleBee said...

OK, as a person who works summer camps/conferences as part of my job, Peace Camp has me intrigued. What exactly do children do at Peace Camp?

KatieGirlBlue said...

Ha, ha, ha...Modesto. It's funny because it's true. People go "camping," only to arrive in the wilderness and fire up the gennie to power their tvs. Then they stay in the RV until it's time to emerge and raise a ruckus way past lights out.

Who are these lame-os?

Regardless, looks super sun. And solar shower showers are the best...I never feel cleaner than after one of those rinses.

Kate said...

I wonder if your campground mates voted for Sarah Palin, by any chance?

Peace camp sounds awfully interesting...

Cindy said...

Here's the link for Peace Camp: http://peacecamp.homestead.com/index.html

It's a very low-key, low-tech camp with an emphasis on cooperation rather than competition. And of course they sing folk songs and make friendship bracelets. One thing I really like is that they go on a field trip but instead of chartering a bus like the other camps in our area, they take the kids on public transportation--a great lesson in itself.

Morta Di Fame said...

that photo of the meunsters guy (?) LOL is hilarious! i would sue the camp! thanks for checking out my blog, too!