Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Family Camp Adventures

Every year we go camping with my mom's side of our extended family (20+ people) in the Lake Wenatchee area. My cousins and I had been emailing in the last weeks about how we wanted to get out of the same old rut, get to know each other better and maybe do something different than we usually do to help us bond more. Have you ever noticed that adventures come in waves? If one thing crazy happens, then at least 2-3 more things follow it?

Thursday - manic pack
Spent the entire day loading our car with all the "car camping" essentials. The ENTIRE day. How can packing take an entire day? I still don't know, but it does.

Friday - Glorious Day "off"
Friday morning we left Saben with my parents at camp & Kyle and I took a day off to ourselves. Aaaaaahhhhhhhh. It was so nice. We hiked up to a peak for a 360 degree view of the surrounding wilderness and had a blast figuring out the mountains around us. Monte Cristo Range, Glacier Peak, Mt Stuart, Mt Index.... We could see it all. We even spied the little basin where Kyle proposed to me. We went to visit Saben, then headed off for our first night alone since he was born at a hotel in Leavenworth. Even though our meal took 2 hours and our hotel airconditioning didn't work, it was wonderful because it was just us. Thanks Mom and Dad!!!

Saturday - Bubble Tubbing with Strangers
Saturday afternoon we had sort of planned to go tubing down the river near camp. Fifteen of us went and we all managed to get tubes & get them pumped up and headed down the river for our "2 hour" ride at around 4:30. It was so much fun. Just what we needed to liven up family camp. We splashed, laughed, screamed. Then my murderous streak kicked in. First, I almost killed my brother. I pulled him from his tube into the river and both his legs cramped up so he couldn't swim. Luckily Kyle rescued him while I sat there laughing. whoops. Then the real miracle occurred. First, let me tell you two things. 1) I love animals and was a vegetarian for 8 years because the thought of killing them for eating sickened me. 2) If we ever have a snowball fight, I have to be at less than 3 feet away to ever hit anyone.

So, there was this flock of canadian geese on the beach. In his innertube induced hysteria, Kyle jumped out of the river and went running along the beach to scare the geese into the air. We had already been throwing small rocks at eachother as we floated along (the river was shallow) and for some bizarre reason I thought it would be hilarious to throw rocks at the geese as they flew by. Third rock....SMACK... right into the flying goose head. I saw it coming and shut my eyes before it even hit, then started screaming after the smack noise. I was scared to look and see the bloody goose floating on the river, but luckily it just kept going despite its concussion.

We floated sloooooooooowly for another hour, and then started to kick & paddle because we were ready to be done. We saw huge fish jump, a muskrat, tons of osprey and some river otters. I screamed at the river otters too because for a moment they started towards me and I hadn't figured out what they were yet. By now it was getting dusky & cold, so we started really paddling hard, just sure the bridge where we left our cars was around the corner. After an HOUR of hard paddling & kicking, we were getting serious. Our group was spread way out & I was in front with Kyle. Still no bridge. Our 2 hour trip was quickly nearing 4 hours, with no end in sight. So, when I saw a friendly looking house with lots of people on the deck, I paddled over and jumped out to at least ask how much farther the bridge was.

Did I mention I had to cross over an icy glacier fed creek emptying into the river to get there? By the time I made it up to talk to the guy who came down, my whole body was shaking with cold. The man was soooo nice and immediately offered to drive Kyle & Jason to the cars so they could come get us. Then he invited me into his hot tub. In a moment of extreme courage and bravery, I left my poor cousin to direct everyone else up onto the beach and made a bee-line for the hot tub. In my defense, I did take her freezing daughter with me, someone had to protect her from drowning and from the other "stranger" kids in tub. And I rationalized that she would come up as soon as the first people arrived on the beach. And once I was in, it was even more awful to get out, trust me, I tried it and was so miserable, that attempts to relieve my cousin were feeble at best.

Pretty soon there were 13 of us crammed into the hot tub and the families who were renting the house brought down plates of leftover lasagne and salad, drinks and pie, despite our protests. They were so incredible. If you hear of anyone from Seattle/Vashon who fed 15 cold sad people who dragged themselves from the Wenatchee river near leavenworth at 8:30pm on Saturday, let me know...

We all made it back to camp after some transportation miscommunication which landed quite a few of us sitting around the campfire in our swimsuits waiting for the cars to come back with our clothes. And a couple more people driving around and around for quite a while that night.

Sunday - the family food poisoning
7:30 pm, Kyle pukes.
8:30 pm, Kari pukes.
8:40 pm, Kari throws Saben into his crib between puking episodes
9:45 pm, Saben finally stops crying and goes to sleep, but wakes up when dad pukes for the 6th or 7th time.
diarrhea and mayhem follow.

This continues most of the night, luckily Saben stayed asleep, but Kyle and I were desperately, violently ill. It was awful, awful, awful. I was up every 20 minutes until 2:30, and then every 40 minutes until about 5:30 am. It finally slowed around then. In the morning, I couldn't even take care of my child. Changing his diaper felt impossible, but luckily kyle managed to summon the strength to do it. I don't know how we survived yesterday, except for a dear friend who brought us gatorade & crackers and an amazing son who managed to run amok around the house all day with extremely limited supervision and not kill himself.

It is so scary to be too sick to care for your child, and once I heard other family members were sick, I became only 90% sure it was food poisoning so I didn't want to send him off and infect another family. 18 of 23 of us who had lunch together on Saturday all got sick, but we haven't been able to isolate the food. And one family had just gotten over a very similar, violent flu like ours. How they could have passed it to 18 of us in such a short time of limited contact is beyond me..... but who knows.

We are doing better today, eating some solid foods, and Saben is still ok. I am so worried he will get it, but maybe we'll get lucky.

So that was our crazy crazy weekend. I'm hoping for something a bit more sedate when I go shopping with my cousin this weekend. phew. Talk about family bonding.....


Andi said...

Oh, my goodness, Kari! Your food poisoning/flu sounds awful!! I am still so sorry that I couldn't take Saben for you; I'm glad that he was able to survive :)

amy said...

Really? I think we should go sky diving and eat sushi and a shady restaurant?

misha said...

Kari this was both hysterical and made me cry (the helpless feeling of being sick alone with kids...been there a number of times, obviously need therapy since I was crying)...the geese, the scary wildlife bent on coming at you, the hottub at stranger's house...this is an excellent post!

I hope you're better today b/c you owe me a birthday fun time together. I'll hold you to it. Maybe over a lighthearted middle-eastern discussion.

Take care, girl. I like you alot.

Did you happen to share to your jam on the camping trip?