Thursday, June 19, 2008

Camping in Big Bear

Friday night after Shana and I got off work we quickly packed our stuff and headed out to Pasadena to pick Bryce up before heading out to Big Bear for a Camping/Service Project adventure with the Glendale 7th ward. All went well until we got onto the 210 heading east and there was an accident that was causing traffic. But it was great company so the wait through traffic wasn't too bad. It was dark by the time we hit the road going up the canyon. But man, that road is full of switch backs. By the time we got up near Big Bear Lake I was about ready to be sick. Shana was a wonderful driver and we only had one curve that nearly killed us. But good thing no cars were coming the other way! The directions said that we could take one of two ways into the scout camp where we were going to be staying. The second road was for "family friendly" cars. We took the first one. And Shana's little Hyundai did a great job getting us through dirt road, HUGE ditches, tons of rocks and probably more than it should have handled. At one point Bryce got out and navigated for us. I think my favorite part of the trip was when Shana had to go to the bathroom when we had been on this dirt road for about 2 miles and didn't know how much farther it was. So we stopped and she took a pit stop. She came back and said that we should all go out hiking that night because the moon was out and it was beautiful. It was really nice to be out of the city and actually have trees and stars. I have missed them so much. So about 5 minutes after Shana took her stop we made our way to the Holcomb Valley Scout Camp. It took us a few minutes and several circles around camp to figure out where we were supposed to go. But once we got there we hoped that we weren't the last people to get there because there were only about 6 cars there. We unloaded the car (thanks to the help of a borrowed flashlight, we forgot ours) and put our stuff in the "tents", which were metal frame things with canvas over them. We were just lucky to get cots as one of the tents we looked in just had a metal table in there instead of a cot. I don't think anyone actually slept there.
After getting settled in we spent the next few hours sitting around the campfire. It turned out that the group of people leaving from Glendale later in the evening wasn't there yet and most of the people that did get there early had gone to get dinner in Big Bear so there were only a few of us around the fire at the beginning. Shana and I got a seat on a precarious log that liked to tip over when you moved. But hey it was a seat. You can kind of see it in the picture of us roasting s'mores over a disgustingly dirty fire. One of the logs that was put on the fire had some sort of chemical oozing out of it and the smoke was black and smelled terrible. Nick was nice enough to roast Shana and I marshmallows but they came out a dirty gray color from the smoke from the wood. We didn't end up eating them as a precautionary measure for our health. But it was fun just hanging out by the fire. Slowly more people got there and we had a good crowd by midnight. Several people had brought guitars and were playing music, there were s'mores and just a lot of talking. About 1:00 Shana and I decided to go on a walk to the field that was behind us and see how much moonlight there really was. Paul came with us and soon found the stuffed deer that had been placed in the field as target practice for the rifle range. He decided that it would be great fun to take this deer back and scare some people by the fire. So he brought the deer back and proceeded to push it's head in between Dave and the girl he was talking to. They got quite a scare and then Paul put the deer down by the fire. It caused quite a stir with a few people. After the thrill of the deer worse off Shana and I decided it was time to turn in for our beauty sleep. We went to get our stuff from the tent and then use the bathroom and found that several girls had decided to sleep in the room that was next to the bathroom and had shut and locked the door. So we had to pound on the door and wake them up. But we got into the bathroom and then went to bed. After deciding that it was way too cold Shana and I put on several layers of clothing, socks, sweatshirts, etc. We even went as far as to tie our hoods of our sweatshirts so that only our noses were showing. It would have been a great picture had I not forgotten my camera (yeah these pictures are taken from Tim who posted them on Facebook. Good thing for that) After being in bed for about 5 minutes I proclaimed "Um I'm not tired." And Shana suggested we play a game of guess who I'm thinking of. So after several rounds of guessing who different people were we finally went to sleep.

6:50 AM: There were lots of people talking and making noise. Shana and I both woke up at this time, looked at the clock and saw that we had half an hour more to sleep. Breakfast was at 7:30 so we figured 10 minutes would be plenty of time to get ourselves up in. Fast forward to 8:15. The sun was shining and the tent was actually getting really hot (too bad it wasn't that was during the night). No one was talking anymore. We looked at the clock and jumped out of bed realizing that we had missed breakfast. It was really only the food that we were worried about because they said we were starting to work at 8:00 and breakfast was over then. We ran out to the kitchen and managed to scrounge up a bowl of cereal and a slice of orange. We then found our group and saw Paul whom we "politely" asked why he didn't wake us up. Guess we weren't really missed. After a very quick breakfast we decided to actually change into jeans because our many layers of clothing was just going to be too hot for this day. When we got back our group was assigned to paint the inside of the 7 bathrooms at camp. We walked around camp looking for the maintenance shed for a while and then finally got our supplies. We split into two teams and Shana, Tim and I went off to paint one bathroom while James, Anne, and Justin headed for another bathroom. We started out without rollers which was not the most efficient way to paint. But as soon as we had our rollers we were going to town. A little too much paint probably ended up on the floor but after several hours of painting all 7 bathrooms had been finished. My group were the speed demons and finished four in the time that the other group did three. By this time Shana and I were starving and it was lunch time. We had a great lunch of BBQd hamburgers, actually mine was cooked in the kitchen because we ran out of coals for the BBQ. But it was really good none the less. At first we weren't going to say that we had finished out whole job in the morning because we didn't want to get assigned something else to do. But in the end, after lunch we helped other groups finish up. Shana and I cleaned up the paint materials and took them back to the maintenance shed. Then we helped put up targets for the shooting range. It was quite hot outside and I was glad that I had been inside the bathrooms painting for most of the morning. I'm sure the paint fumes were adding to the really fun time we were having too.

About 4:00 we decided that it was time to head off. Shana had something to get to Saturday night and we needed to be back by 6:30ish. So we packed up our gear and moved out. Bryce came back with us too. I think I'm glad that we didn't see the road we were driving on on the way up Friday night. It really wasn't a good road. We tried to take the "family friendly" road on the way back down but couldn't find it. So we took the wonderful dirt/rock road back and were even more glad that we didn't get a flat tire the night before now that we could see the road. The weather was beautiful and we drove down the mountain with the windows down to the tune of the Wicked soundtrack. Ahhh good times. We dropped Bryce off and then headed home. The culminating part of the journey was when we pulled into a parking spot in front of our apartment which just happened to be right in the middle of a pot hole. Shana and I burst into laughter. What a welcome home.

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