Well, that was an interesting weekend. After having to cancel the event last year, several people were determined it would happen this time around. People moving away, sponsorshp issues, and a few last-minute hiccups put that to the test, but come Saturday morning we had around 40 kids ready to learn and have fun!
And then it rained. For hours.
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Due to some hiccups of our own, we didn't make it up until around lunch time Friday. The weather was great then!
The kids ran off to explore, and quickly came back to tell me I HAD too see this "fort" they found!
Two structures, actually, and they were very cool!
Somebody put a lot of time into this, and then left it for others to enjoy.
There was a minor mishap when a large branch got knocked down, but they quickly set it to rights, and then started making improvements. Sheridan and Logan later started their own 'secret fort' in another area. Bless whoever left this, they all loved it!
Since we all no longer fit in our little camper, I threw one of our tents in to go next to it, but forgot a mallet for the stakes and had to borrow one. When I finished, I asked someone else's kid, "Where did this hammer come from?"
Him: "The camper."
Me: "You might need to be more specific."
Him, completely deadpan: "Oh. The white one."
I like that kid.
Of course, there was much climbing of rocks to be done, while the grown-ups did whatever it is grown-ups do.
This is a favorite look-out point!
My granddog got to come along on this trip.
She got no attention whatsoever.
Entertaining the masses is hard work.
It rained a bit Friday night. I didn't notice it sleeping in the camper, but the tent - with Mykela, Christopher, and Logan - sprung a small leak. No biggie, it will dry by Saturday evening.
Registration bright and early Saturday morning, as the rest of the campers began arriving.
As well as making lists for next year! No more 'hiccups'!!
Finally, kicking off with wildlife ID.
FYI, my daughter is beautiful.
Not quite sure what that expression meant.
Next up, firearms safety - taught by a Game and Fish Officer who attended a JAKES event when he was younger!
Then, lunch! Burgers and hot dogs.
Or, you know, bread and ketchup. It's camping, whatever makes you happy.
The moisture from Friday night had dried, so there were plenty of nice places to sit.
After lunch, we split into groups and started on the various stations. Our group began with Kendra, at the First Aid station (assisted by Kyrie the Wonder Pup, whose kisses make everything better. When she is conscious.)
The on to the State Police tent,
where we experienced how alcohol usage can make you THINK you are doing something right, when you are actually way off.
I think a few of these kids have been hitting the Gatorade too hard.
Next up, BB guns.
With proper eye protection, of course.
She did super well, improving with each shot!
The last three stations were the 'real' guns. We had just made it to the shotguns when...the skies let loose.
Fortunately, the shotgun station included a pop-up shelter, and volunteers in ATVs soon came running over with rain ponchos. Which Shane refused to wear.
And which Grace wore so she could stand out in the rain.
Oh well, she was happy!
We tried waiting it out, but it became clear this wasn't going to stop soon. We headed back to the camper, where we were joined by Kyrie.
Last week I weeded the picture books at work, and I bought some of the discards for the kids' school. I tossed them in my car before we came up, 'just in case'.
Snacks help pass the time, too.
Along with goofy faces.
After a couple HOURS of rain, everyone ventured back out. And we all know what rain makes, right?
Just a little bit of mud.
I think those are on the wrong...you know what, never mind.
Yes, Gracie, that's a lovely stick. Can we talk about your...
Some smart kids stayed relatively clean and dry.
Their mothers are probably not currently doing ten loads of laundry.
It kept drizzling on and off, but supper still had to happen!
Now, that's a griddle. I need that in my life.
Grace, on the other hand,
needed a garden hose.
Hardly anyone escaped the mud, though.
Not that they were trying very hard.
Wait...is that Mr. I Don't Like to Get Dirty? Threatening his mother with flying mud balls???
She won, by the way.
Dude. You just got taken out by your MOM.
Safety is imprtant, but we do have the occasional injury. Fortunately, our JAKES veterans know to come prepared.
Even being the camp cooks can get dangerous, especially when those nice treads on the ramp vanish completely.
Made it! And they never dropped a single tray of food!
After supper, we looked over the tent situation (swamped. i.e. soaked. i.e. indoor swimming pool.) coupled with the likelihood of more rain overnight, and the size of the camper (which had also sprung a leak), and we decided I would take the two littles (and a lot of dirty laundry) back home overnight. I started Grace on the first bath, and gave them the choice of going right to bed, or staying up and playing for a bit first. They both wanted to stay up and play.
So, after I carried them both to bed, I unpacked the car, started some laundry, and hit the bed myself!
We left the house bright and early, and got there just as the breakfast siren went off (bells don't work when everyone is spread throughout the forest!)
All that mud from yesterday? Already drying, and the grass is poking back through - along with these teeny pinkish purplish flowers everywhere. We will reseed the whole area once everything is out, though, just to make sure it all comes back quickly.
You can't exactly 'leave no trace' with 100 people, but you can make sure everything bounces back again!
There were many dogs around, but Kyrie really liked Apollo, here.
He liked her, too!
He wrestled so gently with her! She was thrilled to have another big dog to play with (because, you know, she is a big dog herself!)
After breakfast, the kids were split into two groups. One went on a nature hike,
|Not a picture I took, and it STILL has my kids in it.|
where I am told they learned which leaves to use for tea, and which to use as toilet paper (don't mix those up!)
while the other visited with the USFS HotShots, and then they switched.
They got to try carrying the packs the guys wear.
Grace didn't think it felt heavy at all.
The chainsaws were a bit hefty, too.
Then, because of course there wasn't enough water around, we HAD to spray the hose!
This is what it looks like when your darling sweet boy gets hold of the hose and spies you:
with comfortable seating
There were awards for specific stations, such as muzzle loader:
and...shotgun? .22? I got lost somewhere.
Then everyone got a little something. Shane loved his bug house kit! (Imagine that!)
And Sheridan was over the moon with her tool kits, just like the ones Mommy and Daddy both carry.
Finally, time to pack up and head HOME - to more laundry and mop-up! One of these years I will take pictures of the 'afterwards', with the volunteers clearing everything out and rehabbing the area. That doesn't get finished until the next day, sometimes. Easier done by the big people, though, so for now I will happily use the littles as my excuse to head out at noon!
Thanks again to everyone who helped out, everyone who came, and to the sponsors - Dollar Cab, Moore's Auto, NM Game and Fish, USFS, NM State Police, NM Fire Safety, Total Records Solutions, and NWTF!