The Weekend Outside

We went camping this past weekend. I love camping, and we hadn’t gone on a trip together like this since we moved to the US almost two years ago now. What I like most I think is that once we get there, while it is hard work to plan everything to get there and have things go smoothly, we are together. Without distractions, without computers or telephones, our little family actually spends all of our awake time with each other, doing practically nothing. I wonder if that’s why my kids remember little trips like these so vividly. It takes so little to give them these grand memories of their childhood and going on adventures with family. The only thing that really has to be done is to do it, and to not get crabby at people as my parents did when I was a child. I’m glad to report that the GH and I do not usually fight with each other once we have some down time together, which makes me really glad.

We went to a place called San Onofre, which is a beach near a power plant. With it’s two identical dome shaped silos sitting next to each other, with big blinking red lights on top it bears a strong resemblance to a pair of gigantic…well…It’s weird for me to realize that there are so many nuclear power facilities around here. I grew up in “A Nuclear Free Zone”. No really that was the town motto. When you drive into town it says “Welcome to Small Town Alberta, A Nuclear Free Zone” which is about as imaginative “come for the weird weather, stay for the mosquitoes”, or “we have cheap alcohol”.

I was very disappointed when we arrived at our site. I’m used to camping in places that look like this.

I grew up about two hours away from this park and most of my camping experiences have been in beautiful remote places. So you can imagine how I felt when we arrived at a concrete parking lot with some tiny dirty patches to tent and nothing but a wire fence separating us from the train tracks and the freeway. All there was to see was concrete, dirt and desert scrub. Far off against the horizon I could make out the blue of the ocean. With a heavy heart I began setting up tents and arranging sleeping area. Then the kids wanted to go to the beach and I tagged along. I’m so glad I did. Because when we had walked a very short way the ground opened up to show us this.

And a little later on, this.

And finally, this.

I immediately felt better and we enjoyed a lovely weekend with family and friends, a little bit of sunburn and a ton of good food.

I’d have most likely gained weight from all those cookies if it hadn’t been for the fact that the bathrooms were at the top of this. And my children needed to use them often, and we kept needing things from the campsite. I almost ran a mile up hill once or twice on Saturday, and was really happy when one petite blond woman told me I must be in really great condition because she found it daunting.

Oh and did I mention yet that the Baby now walks? For the past week or two she has been fearlessly taking steps and now she can walk a few feet without falling. It’s been fun.

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