There was quite a bit of sad in our house last week. Try as I might, I could not hide it all from the boys and I knew they were feeling it. They were worried.
I knew they needed a break so when Aaron mentioned something about taking them camping, I jumped.
"Why not take them this weekend?" I suggested.
So he did.
A few weeks ago we stumbled upon a campground up in the Santa Ana mountains, off the Ortega Highway in Orange County. We were taking the long, and much more beautiful way, to Fallbrook on a Friday afternoon. The campground, called the Upper San Jaun campground, was completely empty. On a Friday afternoon in So Cal, that is not something to pass by unnoticed. Less than an hour from home, hiking trails galore, Live Oak forests, and a chance to get a weekend site without reserving 6 months in advance? Sign us up!
So that was where my men folk headed on Saturday morning, on their first ever, Eskridge Boys Camp Out.
James and William were beyond excited. They were up at the crack of dawn and I could hear them talking about hunting crawdads in the creek, campfires and camping food.
I made Aaron take the camera along and I am so glad he did. They made some sweet memories on this trip. The first of many, I hope.
Towering Live Oak trees surrounded the camp ground. The same kind of Live Oaks that Aaron and I grew up with in Fallbrook and are an essential part of our childhood memories.
They had the campground almost all to themselves.
So they picked the best site--the one with the big stump of course.
But the best part of the trip was the exploring. There are few things in the world those two boys like better than exploring. They often ask to take an exploring drive or walk. I am so very glad they have a love for the searching out of adventure, an excitement for new places.
On an exploring hike, they found this old tree.
They admired its interesting bark for about a minute,
But then they had to climb it, Because another thing these boys love to do is climb.
Anything and everything.
And better yet if you can set your head down and rest on the tree you are climbing.
Fear of mountain lions (I'm not saying on whose part) cut the exploring hike short.
They headed back to the campground and explored there.
They found this huge pipe that went under the road.
Of course it was meant to be explored.
So explore they did, with lantern in hand.
This is probably one of my all time favorite pictures.
Can't you just see all the pretending going on in their heads?
"We're miners, spelunkers, geologists studying the center of the earth....."
And after exploring, a giant pipe is just a fun place to hang out in.
So they did.
They went to bed early and, of course, were up with the sun.
They loved building a campfire and cooking toast over the fire.
A baguette, of course. For James.
William prefers more low brow fare.
He's been asking for "Tucan cereal" ever since his class at VBS had some.
I promised him it could be his next camping breakfast.
And it was.
Aaron said they didn't do anything special. They just climbed and hiked, explored and played. They built Lincoln logs and set up both tents--one for sleep, one for play. Mostly they were just together.
Both boys told Aaron it was the most fun they had ever had in their lives.
I don;' think this will be the last Eskridge Boys Camp Out.
They're already planning the next one.
They even invited Lilly and I along sometime.
I think we'll say yes.
A spur of the moment camp out is almost always an outstanding idea.
PS. Really hoping to get to those home school posts. Writing was hard for me to do in the past couple of weeks. Check back soon to see if I am at it again. Thanks!
Upper San Juan campground info link here.
No showers or bathrooms.
No running water. Pumps are available but were locked while Aaron and the boys were there.
Call ahead for fire info as you cannot always have camp fires.
In the middle of the day, the flies were reported to be quite bad. The word torturous was used by James.
It might have been the heat.
No reservations accepted.