{Journal Entry} Church Camping Trip 2019

This is our eleventh year camping with our church. Each year is tons of fun and we look forward to hanging out with dear friends.

This year the three girls went up a night earlier than we did. It's crazy, they get their tent up and all their gear set up without any help from us.

We got up there the next day by mid morning. Just in time to catch some corn hole games.

Our kitchen area.

And a morning game of volleyball too.

We ate lunch and then headed to the Yuba River. It is about a 20 minute ride from our campground.

We've had lots of rain in Northern California this year, so we knew the river was going to be running high.

In years' past we would walk up the river in the water, and then "ride" the rapids back down. And by riding them, I mean sitting in waist deep water, bumping your back end down the river on the rocks.

That was not going to be happening this year. The water was definitely higher, so we walked up the river on the shore. Which is made up entirely of rocks.

After a while we found a good swimming hole and a small rapid the kids could ride down.

Coming down this small rapid was lots of fun.

The kids found a rock and helped each other get to the top.

Then they took turns sliding down.

Having a GoPro on the river was really neat.

The water here is super clear and we could even see fish below.

We headed back, swimming when we could. Under a small waterfall.

The more adventurous people found a crevasse to explore.

A few of us sat and talked for a bit.

It is so beautiful here!

Right under the bridge is a wide swimming area. Another slide rock.

This is only like a third of the people that we were here with. I just forgot to take a photo of the whole group before people started heading back to the campsite.

Back to camp and corn hole games. 

We started dinner prep and put out some munchies for the starving kids.

Dinner tonight was Camp Tacos. We all bring components to this dinner and either make burritos or nachos.

And because it was Camp Taco night, it was Margarita night.

Most of us at our long table. We fed 26 people for dinner.

More evening volleyball.

Yup, it is a dust bowl out there.

We have lots of babies in our church and a few of them were here. Darling babies.

These girls flock to the babies, so much so, that they actually have a baby-holding waiting list.  I trump the list, because I'm a mom, and got to hold this precious one for a while.

Darkness came and with it, the card games.

We also pulled out or glow stuff. This year we found these fun baseballs.

A few of us walked down to the lake and to the beach, where we laid down to watch the stars. We were at the end of the Perseid meteor shower and saw a few shooting stars.

Back to camp and to conversations around the campfire.

Next morning we started with getting breakfast ready. Here is the donut-making station.

We always serve meals assembly-line style.

After breakfast was our camp devotions, led by our pastor.

We sing some songs (which sound beautiful in the woods) and then he led us in a discussion of Romans.

The rest of the morning we spend playing corn hole and volleyball.

And hanging around and talking.

Another little one came by to visit.

We ate lunch (we all just bring sandwich stuff) and headed to the lake.

The lake level was nice and high. A bunch of us set up blankets and chairs up in the shade.

Cute girlies.

And Nutsy with anther little one.

A bunch of kids swam across the lake. I sat and played with the little kids; on Sundays at our church these guys are playing with their friends, so this is my opportunity to hang out with them.

We found some pretty rocks and started a stick collection.

Some kids did find a log and spent some time trying to stand on it. As usual, the smaller kids get up on it like it is no big deal.

The lake swimmers.

After a couple of hours we headed back to camp. Volleyball started up again.

Our girls sleep in a tent but My Sweetie and I put all the seats down in our mini van and sleep in the back on an air mattress. This works great because we don't hear any weird camp noises (snoring, babies crying, insane crows that crow at 3 am) but it didn't work out perfectly since our mattress deflated through the night. So it needed a refill, and what better thing to use than a leaf blower.

Bringing a leaf blower to a camping trip is pure GENIUS, you can blow dirt off your tent, table, chairs... we even had some of the dustiest kids stand in front of so we could at least get some of the dirt off.

Tonight's dinner was tri tip.

We all bring tri tips to roast in a huge cast iron dutch oven and salads to share.

Our last evening we have our annual talent show.

It was a shorter show this year, but these boys had a couple of skits to do.

I also found a fun game that some of the campers helped me with.

The audience split into teams and guessed what strange fact went with each person. It was quite funny at times.

We end our show with Campfire Cones.

Basically, you can fill a sugar cone to the brim with all sorts of candy and chocolate. It gets wrapped in foil, put into a campfire until warm and then eaten. The kids, on a sugar high, run around like crazy. The adults use the sugar high to stay up late playing games.

Glow Sticks come out...

and then the games. Wits and Wagers is a fun one.

Yeah, we take our games seriously.

It's funny I caught them like that, we actually do a ton of laughing.

And then we played cards into the wee hours of the night - Cocktails and Up the River are the two games we kept going back and forth with.

The next morning we made breakfast; here's one of three massive pans of eggs that we make.

And then we have devotions and after that, slowly break up camp and head home.

I'm thankful for this church body that we can fellowship with, be encouraged by and spend fun times with. And in a beautiful place too.