Last weekend Bun and I joined her Brownie Troop on a Brownie/Mom Camp-out in Uvas Canyon. It was only 20 or so miles away, but it felt like we were a world away, driving past beautiful golden hills and chaparral, horse farms, and into the canyon. We explored a lot of the peninsula, coastal, and Marin parks back prekids when we’d hike at least one good long butt-kicker every weekend, but the area east of Morgan Hill remained mysterious to us, aside from knowing it’s hot and dry.
Hot and dry, it is! But it’s also breathtaking.
The troop arranged for a group campsite at the county park, and somehow we were the very first ones there… so, DIBSIES on site! We carpooled with another mom/daughter pair, had our tent up, and were ready to go by the time others started to pull up, which was great for the kids, who could play as we all helped each other set camp.
There were at least a half dozen girl and boy scout troops camping that weekend, and, for some reason, the girls thought it would be funny to dance around on a large boulder “embarrassing” the boys. One could argue they embarrassed themselves, but I suppose you have to feel it to be it, and it was kind of funny to watch them do whatever that was they did.
Everyone had green bandanas, and lots of spunk.
Bandits were on the loose.
There is an amphitheatre, and they started scheming up a skit right away.
Once the moms felt camp was sufficiently set, we gathered for a hike to explore Uvas Canyon a tiny bit, and learn about the plant life along the trail. I was glad to note I was not the only one who felt compelled to point out evey sprig of poison oak! There’s some there! Be careful, sometimes it’s red!
We learned the difference between a creek, a stream, and a brook: this is a creek. Its flow varies and it can run dry. (Streams are full year-round, brooks are 12 feet or wider.)
Upon returning to camp, the girls broke into smaller groups to rotate through Try-It activities. I got to lead one where we looked closely at the ground to see what it’s made of, and what might live in it on the surface, 1” deep, and 3” deep. The bona fide hit was this creeper, which was 3: deep.
It looked like a wasp or bee, but was clearly underground and had funky crablike claws on its front legs—to dig? Who knows how it fared from all the poking, but we buried it again, so hopefully it’s back to a peaceful life now.
The girls also made and decorated nature journals. I think this was the quietest they were all weekend.
Each girl/mom pair helped prepare one meal and cleaned up after one meal. Dinner was spaghetti with yummy sauce, salad/veggies, and bread, plus lemonade. The mess kits and dunk bags the girls had were so cute – I know we’ll pack her set for sleep-away camp next summer.
The dunk bags were also cute hung up to dry. I know, I find cuteness in weird places. :)
After dinner clean up it was dark, and time for a friendship circle. It seemed so late, but it was probably 8:00.
I wish I could say we slept like logs. However, a certain child of mine might have guzzled way too much water and lemonade and might have needed an escort through the woods to the potty a few times. She also might have been startled by her own blanket grazing her ankle and yelped, thinking it was a rattler. I was always fully alert upon returning to my sleeping bag, and it seemed to take 30-60 minutes each time for me to doze back off, listening to raccoons make their little trills, and one particularly unhappy child somewhere in the campground wailing intermittently. By the time the crows were squawking at 7:30 I was happy to get up and have some coffee—and from the bleary-eyed moms around the instant Starbucks coffee bar, I could see I was not the only one who didn’t get quite enough shut-eye. :)
I was really impressed by this pile o’ eggs. Carla’s biceps are bulging from the 3 dozen freshly scrambled…
The girls gobbled down pancakes, eggs, cocoa, and fruit.
Once fueled, the girls scampered all over, sometimes pausing to make friendship bracelets.
I made them stop moving long enough to snap this shot, and then ran away so I would not be that mom standing there telling Bunny to please not fall over and over. Okay, I might have reminded her that the ER was kind of far away… but then I fled the scene. Kids need to climb trees and do this kind of thing. No one fell, either—or at least badly enough to tell us. ;)
Sunday morning flew by, and soon enough it was time to break camp, pack up, and head home. Bun and her buddy Hailie pretended they were dogs sticking their heads out the windows… such funny chicas. We really appreciate the leaders’ hard work in arranging this trip. It was a great time for Bunny and me to enjoy each other without the distractions of those little brothers she hates to love. I also think it’s good for girls to realize females can do all that stuff that we sometimes classify as ‘man work’ just as well—and sometimes maybe even better!