Sunday, August 5, 2012

Farewell to Redcloud

Our week at family camp flew by.  We packed the majority of our stuff after the variety show on Thursday night, so Friday was just last minute items into the suitcase.  I hadn't really had a chance to take photos with my zoom lens, so once the girls were ready, I headed out just to get some photos of the campsite. 

I realized on my way out of the room that I hadn't really gotten any photos of the cousins all together, so I called them to the front of the loft where they were sleeping and took a quick shot:

Our family and Amy's family actually shared a room for the week.  Originally we each had our own, but we moved into the larger room together so that an additional family could come for the week.  There were two doubles downstairs for the adults, and eight twins in the loft.  I think the kids used six of the eight while we were there - the novelty of the top bunks wore off pretty quickly. 

Dad and Terri did not stay in the lodge, but brought their own lodging which they parked outside.  I knew they were over by the staff cabin, but it wasn't until the last day that I actually walked down to see their accommodations.  This was the first time I'd seen "Ronald Vega" (the girl's name for the RV) in action, and it seemed quite comfortable. 

When we packed I had gotten a lot of grief from Jerry about all the shoes I had packed - boots for riding horses, mud shoes for rafting, tennis shoes for everyday wear, slippers for around the lodge, and so forth.  We had one tote bag filled with nothing but shoes for our family of four.  Dad however, packed an extra trailer and brought along a bike, motorcycle, six lawn chairs, etc, etc, etc.  Now I can say that all I brought was a bag of shoes and it doesn't sound so excessive! 

This is the front entrance to the lodge.  It looks deceptively small from this shot.  They said it was 27,000 square feet, with 13 rooms for families, a big common area where we met for worship, a dining room, and an area downstairs for the kids that I never even saw.  The logs for the lodge were harvested from trees that had been killed by beetles.  We passed through an area like that on our way up, killed by the pine beetle.  It looked like a great big tinderbox just waiting to go up in flames. 

Here's the view down the valley towards the barn and the youth camp:

And here's the chapel, which you can also see in the shot above,  just down right below the center of the photograph.  Today I had my zoom lens!

I really wanted to catch some wildlife in action, but it was drizzling and cloudy, and I think most of the wildlife was sleeping in.  During our times out on the patios all week there had been many, many hummingbirds, squirrels, and chipmunks scampering about.  One particularly brave chipmunk even joined us in the common room for a couple of worship services, scouting for any crumbs we might have dropped.  This morning, however, I only saw one hummingbird at the feeders on the porch. 

And walking out farther, spied a squirrel who was nice enough to give me a few good shots before the breakfast bell rang.

The chipmunks, however, were non-cooperative.  They apparently didn't want to leave their warm nests this morning, and the hundreds of chipmunks that had delighted me all week long were nowhere to be found.  This was the best shot I got - chipmunk butt:

After breakfast we had a concluding "ceremony" where each of the kid's groups performed a little song or skit, and the staff members gave out awards to the kids and a few special adults to encourage them.  Here the girls are about to do an "interpretive dance" about creation: 

At the end, on the 7th day, they fell to the floor and snored.  Maggie got an award for "Most Valuable Cousin" for her patience and helpful attitude towards her cousins, and Gracie got the "Fearless Award" for being up for pretty much any adventure.  The awards were pretty much reserved for kids, although Nana and Granddad got one of the few awards given to adults, for Most Adventurous Grandparents!  The awards were given by our "host" staff member.  Each family had a host for the week - ours was Klay.  By the time we left the kids were quite attached to him:

After the awards had all been given out it was time to eat lunch and load up the cars.  Nana came home with us so she could get back to her goats at the farm, and Amy, Brad, Will, and Carissa joined Granddad for an extended RV adventure before heading home.  (Granddad finally made it home after another week or so - he loves retirement!)  We had two days of driving ahead of us, and lots of fond memories behind us! 

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