Thursday, May 27, 2010

We Love Camping! -- posted by John

Our camping trip was fantastic, and it was even better than I dreamt it would be! The weather was better, the sleep was better, the swimming was better, the fishing was better, and even the food was better than I imagined, and I was imagining it all to be great to begin with!

We had a few showers but they were short and it kept everything cooled off. In fact, the first night was chilly. Once when it rained we went in the tent and I read Tintin, while the family played Catch Phrase, and then the rain stopped and we went back out. We never had a wash out.

Even though Mom and Sarah Grace are the only ones with air mattresses, we all slept like rocks, except for the first night when I woke up a couple of times because I was so excited.

Our campsite was right on the lake so we could jump in any time we wanted. The water felt better than the pool and it was clear and we could see underwater. My eyes didn't sting like the pool water. There was so much to see, like the different fish swimming around, lots of turtles, fresh water mussels, etc. James found a huge leech and put it in a cup for us to observe. It held on to the side of the cup with its suction mouth. Once, before I was born, Sarah and Will got leeches on them swimming in the lake. They said you can't feel them attaching.

One morning, as the sun was coming up, I was setting up the Coleman stove and the coffeemaker. Mom said she can handle mosquitoes and flies and heat and cold and all that goes with camping, as long as she has an air mattress and her Starbucks, so we gave her an automatic drip coffeemaker that works on the propane stove for Christmas. She loved it! Anyway, Dad came out and after I told him good morning, I looked at the lake and saw what I thought was a huge turtle head in the water. It looked like the size of a loggerhead turtle head, so I called Dad to come look. By this time some of the family was coming out and we quickly went over to look at it. At first, Mom thought it was the head of a small mammal, like a beaver-type animal. Dad said he thought it might be a small alligator. As we ran along the bank of our campsite, we saw it was a gigantic water moccasin (cottonmouth) swimming quickly parallel to the shore! It was scary to see such a deadly animal so close up, but it was also thrilling to see one in the wild like that. Later, we also spotted another water snake swimming with us! Mom was surprised it came so close with all our splashing. We just got out for a few minutes until it swam away, and then we made lots of splashing when we went back in.

We saw all sorts of wildlife. We saw a blue heron gliding back and forth across the lake several times a day, and that's a beautiful sight, but we have a blue heron on our pond so that wasn't unusual for us. (Mom jokes that she's going to shoot it for a Christmas present for our neighbor since it eats up her expensive koi.)

I don't want to tell everything we saw so that Richard and George will have something to write about. Just trust me that we saw all sorts of animals.

I learned a lot on my trip, too. I learned how to tread water, finally. I already knew how to swim, but Dad hadn't yet taught me how to tread water. Dad is an excellent swimmer and he gives us lots of tips. I had my arms right for treading water but I didn't know how to spin my feet. It made a world of difference.

I also learned how to put a live cricket on my hook. The key is to put the hook in the neck and come out the back. I can also put the hook and sinkers on a line.

It was an extraordinary trip, but I should save some things for the other kids to write about because we all had a wonderful, unforgettable time.

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