Friday, May 15, 2009

Campout 2009! Edisto Beach, SC- Days 5 & 6

Day 5 of the Edisto Island campout (see here, here and then here for days 1 - 4) was our last full day. Billy still wanted to ride the bikes some more, and my only desires were to scope out the state park's other campground loop, and to try a little letterboxing. Cousin Dashi's family was going to the Interpretive Center, which he'd already seen, so he opted to ride with us.

From Edisto Island Campout 2009

It was a beautiful day again, windy as always. Riding the park trails was a little bittersweet, because we knew our trip was coming to an end. First we headed to an undisclosed location to hunt our first box. Drat! Found the location, but no box. The kids played for awhile, and then we headed for the beachside campground loop. I wanted to scope out the campsites just in case there were some amazing spots for a future campout- the beachside campsites are much sought-after, and fill up nearly a year in advance.

We cruised through the campground, and it was quite nice- but it couldn't hold a candle to the walk-in sites we already had! (If we had an RV, the beachside loop would be the place to be- but it was a bit exposed for tent camping, in my opinion.) After making the rounds, we journeyed to a second undisclosed location to hunt the second letterbox. Double drat! Again, found the location but the box was gone. Zero for 2 on the letterboxing front. :(

Next we stopped by a playground for snacks and play time.
From Edisto Island Campout 2009

The boys had a blast climbing around and generally being little monkeys.
From Edisto Island Campout 2009

Babyman was especially delighted to climb around, with a bit of help from Daddy on the suspension bridge.
From Edisto Island Campout 2009

He is growing so quickly, ~sigh~. . . his climbing and walking skills are a sight to behold. He is eager to run and play with the big boys.

Next we rode back to camp, where all my little men dropped me off for a relaxing afternoon all by myself. They went off to ride the trails longer, while I sat quietly in the dappled sunshine, feeling the breeze play over my skin while I knit, then preparing to host our big group campfire later that night.
From Edisto Island Campout 2009

I went to the bath house and took my time washing up, which was a relaxing delight. I greeted some campers just arriving, and tidied up around camp a bit- word had it that there could be heavy rain later that night, and I wanted to pack as much stuff away as possible ahead of time. Soon everyone started wandering back into camp and getting dinner together, and I gathered supplies for the group campfire at nightfall.

Soon we were all collected around my sister-in-law's campfire, my boys roasting hot dogs over the open fire for dinner. We all had snacks (grapes, crackers and goat cheese! YUM!) and drinks to share, with s'mores for dessert. I usually open these "official" group campfires with a few thoughts, and afterwards we go around the campfire, with each person in turn telling us their favorite part of the trip, or most memorable, or really whatever they want to share. This takes awhile, because there is much reminiscing, joking and commenting from everyone else too. It's always a highlight of the trip for me. I pass around a journal and a set of colored pencils so that everyone can sign in, and those who wish can draw or write anything about the trip. I hope this journal (and those that come after- we've almost filled this first one!) will become a treasured family keepsake for years to come. Already, it's fun to look back and see how much the children's drawing skills have progressed in just a year. :) (I started the journal tradition last year.)

Slowly slowly, with drooping eyes, we reluctantly left our cozy group that night and headed for bed. We battened down the hatches in case of rain, and fell asleep listening to the wind roar.

It did rain that night, and I have to tell you: as long as everything is snug and dry, there are few things better than the sound of rain on your tent. I love a good storm. When you're tent camping, the best rainstorms are those that serenade you at night and dry out quickly come sunrise- and this turned out to be the perfect rain. We breakfasted while our tarps and tents aired out, and then began the long process of packing up.
From Edisto Island Campout 2009

Babyman tried to stay out of trouble
From Edisto Island Campout 2009

(sort of).
From Edisto Island Campout 2009

Most of the boys entertained themselves by climbing and playing on the rope swing, which kept them in our sight without getting underfoot.
From Edisto Island Campout 2009

From Edisto Island Campout 2009

Finally the van was all packed, we'd said goodbye to friends and family, and we were the last to check out. I was sad as I wandered our empty campsites looking for trash or lost items- far from being ready to go home, I could have happily slept in that tent several more nights. While bending over to pick up a piece of trash, I was startled by the sudden movement of a snake! It was interesting- I didn't recognize it at all. It seemed to be sort of olive-colored, speckled all over with tiny yellowish spots. Later I was to learn that it wasn't a snake at all- it was an Eastern Glass Lizard, a type of legless lizard! After getting over being startled, I enjoyed observing the little critter.

Once Billy had done his own sad walk-through, we were off. Our first stop was to hunt another letterbox, and finally! We found it right where it should be and enjoyed stamping in. 1 for 3 on the letterboxing front. After that we decided to explore Botany Bay on our way home. We loved the driving tour- the land is gorgeous! It was a great place to stop for a little picnic lunch.

We had just two more stops we wanted to make before heading home, to hunt a last couple letterboxes. Unfortunately as we were beginning to turn left off a 2-lane country highway, a speeding car tried to pass us on the left, striking the front driver side of our van! We were shaken and in disbelief, but despite it being a serious hit, everyone was fine. Then we noticed: the other driver was not stopping! Unfortunately, it turned out to be a hit-and-run. We were angry, but overwhelmingly grateful that we were all OK. The damage to our van seemed (miraculously) to be superficial. By the time we'd filed a police report, it was far too late for any more exploring. Time to head straight home!

It was a long, tired drive home, and we were still shaken from the accident. But even that frightening episode couldn't erase the fabulous week we'd just spent with our family and friends. Another year's campout, officially a success!

From Edisto Island Campout 2009


Bird said...

Wow, I am so RELIEVED that none of you were hurt by the hit and run driver! Just had to say that first, but the thing that strikes me as lovely here (apart from how you enjoyed yourself so much you didn't want to go home) is the idea of the camp journal. That really is the most wonderful keepsake imaginable. Even a year from now it will be lovely to look at again - imagine how much more so in twenty? You really know how to appreciate what you have. How inspiring.

Kit said...

Yeah, it was quite scary. And I LOVE the camp journal. It can be hard to get people to write in it, but I think the more often they see it and are transported back to a campout through the entries made there, that they will think of things to note down that they will want to remember. So I hope the more we do it, the more people will participate. :) (Though I'm always just tickled to have everyone come camp!)

I love thinking of traditions and ways to commemorate our trips. I started out with the big final group campfire, the group picture and a custom embroidered patch for each trip. I've since added local ghost stories for each trip and the ongoing journal. My next idea is a chain letter of sorts, which we will mail to each other throughout the year. It will start with the opening paragraph of a ghost story, and each person will add another paragraph before sending it on to the next author. At next year's campout, we'll read it at the campfire one night. (probably with much hilarity!) :)

I want these campouts to be a treasured part of the childhoods of my kids and their cousins. To that end, I try to make them fun and memorable. (And close to nature.)

Bill Lisleman said...

Hi I found your link on the "naked in eden blog robin easton"

Tent camping reminds me of my youth but with my old bones and aches - I'll go for the cabin method now.

Please take a guess at my challenge

public art

Bill Lisleman said...

kit - well as you know, you won my challenge on the travel photo. I'm wondering about your research approach. Did you search images?

I'll be posting a short post about the results and will link to your blog. I know some bloggers pass out badges and you are free to use my few clowns button. To be honest it seems more like advertising so either way I'm ok.

thanks again

Kit said...

Hey lisleman!
Well I started out quickly trying a couple different google search combinations just to see what was bringing me the most relevant results. That led to a wikipedia entry about the Manekin Pis in Brussels Belgium, which also listed statues of peeing boys in other cities. I checked images of those statues with no luck, and began to realize this was tougher than I'd thought it would be. From looking at the landscape and the "native" in your photo, my rough guess was Italy. But you'd said not Italy, though it was close enough that you'd visited Italy in the same trip. (Which, considering the excellent rail system, could be anywhere in Europe really.) But the landscape looked Itallianish and the lady in the photo was dressed in pretty modern clothes, so I started guessing at European countries that border Italy. I'd tried Austria and France, when one of my google images searches finally turned up a blog post by somebody that pictured the same fountain. That post gave me the answer: Zagreb, Croatia. Knowing a little bit about Croatia from my mom's trip there, the answer seemed to fit very well. So I used it for my guess.

It was tricky- in all my quick and numerous searching I only saw that fountain pictured twice- once with no identifying info whatsoever, and once in the post that gave me the answer. It was a fun workout of my internet research skills!

I may take you up on the clowns button. (I don't mind advertising for you.) Thanks! :)

Unknown said...

One of the BEST trips we ever did. I almost cried when we had to leave.