About a month ago, I joined 3 other moms and 20 kids for a cross country team camping trip. Members of our homeschool cross country/running club that completed at least 80% of their summer training were rewarded with a camping trip in Gatlinburg, TN!
So, Heather planned and organized us all, and off we went. An 8 hour road trip--all of us and all of our camping gear packed into four vehicles and one Uhaul trailer!
Outside Heather's house the morning we left--all packed and ready. (It took us about an hour to pack everything!)
After one stop for lunch, one stop for the mamas to get coffee, plus a few more bathroom stops, we finally made it to our destination!
Thankfully, Heather's mama and sister (and her 3 kids) were already there--and they had just ordered pizza for our hungry crew's super! Yum!
So happy to have finally arrived!
They are happy too!
We unloaded everything and got busy! I have never camped in a tent before (actually, I have not camped since I was about 9 years old--with my grandparents in a camper). Esther and Heather are tent camping experts, and Candice has experience in camping too (but only in a camper!). Esther set up my tent for me.
We had two girl tents, one boy tent, and one tent for Leah, Sam, and me.
The beginnings of our "camp kitchen".
Heather precooked all of our suppers! Yay Heather! We brought crock pots, and I made sure our dinner was in the crock pot to reheat each day by about 3:00 PM. Heather packed four separate coolers--each cooler held each day's food--breakfast items, lunch items, fresh fruit, veggies, supper meal, etc. She was so organized!
The kids are setting up the tent for our camp kitchen. We kept most of our kitchen stuff in the back of the Uhaul. It really was a good set-up.
Enjoying our first supper at camp--pizza!
This is our camp kitchen, all set up and ready.
See the coffee pot? That was a very important item!
This creek ran behind our tent area. Sam and Hillary's kids spent most of their waking hours in this creek. Wet. Wet. Wet.
Another view of the kitchen.
Sweet young ladies.
Making smores around the campfire.
This was taken on a 6 mile hike.
The older runners ran each morning and also did three (I think) hikes. Sam and I did this one. We did NOT do the 8 mile hike with them.
Sam, on our hike.
Julie-can't remember where this was!
Having fun climbing on the rocks.
And then it rained.
Everything was wet. Wet tents. Wet bedding. Wet clothes. Wet everything.
The doorway to my tent.
Playing cards, trying to stay dry.
The boys played lots of ping-pong.
Can you see the wet ping-pong table?
Wet. Wet. Wet.
Everything was wet.
One night most of the tents leaked (it rained all night). The next day we moved the tents to a dryer location, aired them out, and then covered the boys' tent with a huge tarp.
My tent stayed almost dry.
It was just very, very damp.
Damp covers. Damp clothes.
But we still had SO MUCH FUN!
These girls are all smiles after an early morning run up the mountain. Then we all enjoyed a picnic near a beautiful mountain stream.
This was taken after we went white water rafting.
(Sam, Leah, and Hillary's daughter and I actually did a float trip in a much calmer part of the river).
Lots of fun!
One last group picture.
Many fun and special memories were made on this camping trip. In spite of all of the rain, we really, really had a super time!
We made it home a little bit quicker than going up there. Upon our arrival, we had to completely set up our campsite in our backyard--tent, sleeping bags, camp chairs, etc.--to dry out everything. And I had loads and loads and loads of clothes and bedding to wash. I had to wash every single thing that we took--clean and dirty both--because everything was damp! The next day, all of our stuff outside was finally dry......and then my completely dry tent blew into our pool! And sunk.
So Clay and I fished it out, and the drying process began all over again.
Two days after arriving home, I finally had all of the camping gear dried out and stored, and all of the clothes washed, dried, and put away.
And then we started school.
It was a fun way to end our summer vacation.