Thursday, September 1, 2011

Elk City Lake - Camping with the Folks

Well, we took our first camping trip as Braschlers.  I grew up camping several weekends every summer and Nick and I wanted to continue on the tradition, but we hadn't gone camping since we've been married, which means we've never gone camping together!  My parents met us out at Elk City Lake near Independence, KS.  It was about a 3 hour trip for us and 2 1/2 for them.  We were originally planning on going to Big Hill Lake near Cherryvale or Parsons, KS, but they had an advisory for the blue-green algae stuff and we didn't really want to expose Caleb to it (or my dad's poor face - he cut it real bad - more on that later).  Big Hill is where my family went many times growing up and it's one of our favorites.  We changed to Elk City Lake just a few days before we left and found out once we arrived that the advisory had been lifted at Big Hill the night before.  But we were committed and excited to check out a new place.

My parents got there a little earlier than us and got their stuff all set up.  They're pros at this camping thing, and covered us on all the little things we forgot.  :)  We got there right about 8 (as the sun was going down) and got our tent set up and the fire going.  We enjoyed chili cheese hotdogs (a camping tradition - as is most of the food we ate) and hanging out by the campfire.  It was a beautiful evening and it was so nice to just get away and enjoy the great outdoors. 

The next morning started off with spam and eggs - an old tradition started by my Grandpa Goetz.  I know some of you might get this weird feeling in your tummy when you hear the word "spam" and think about us consuming it, but it is so good when it's good up with cheesy scrambled eggs.  My dad makes the best.  Then we headed out on the boat to check out the lake and look for a good spot to swim.  We found a nice area and hopped out to enjoy the cool water.  It was unbelievable how smooth the water was - very rare in Kansas.  Caleb wasn't a big fan of his life jacket, but he LOVED the boat.  And he loved swimming in the water.

We came back for lunch and had some sandwiches then played a game of Hand & Foot where the women annihilated the men.  Next, we headed to Independence to check out a cool soda fountain, hoping for some ice cream to beat the heat.  Unfortunately, we got there just after 4:00 pm and the soda fountain closed at 1:00.  We were so bummed!  We opted for some Braum's instead and stopped by a little antique store on the way there.  We didn't buy anything though!

Then we headed back to the campsite and back out on the boat for some more swimming.  Nick and my mom went incognito on some turkey buzzards that were hanging around and scared them off and Caleb fell asleep on his grandpa's shoulder.  Then it was back to the campsite for showers, dinner, a fire and s'mores.  Funny/Weird story: Mom and I headed to the shower house to clean up and walked in and there was a man in one of the shower stalls with a woman (no funny business as far as we know)!!  We definitely didn't feel comfortable going in there because it was a WOMEN'S bathroom, so we waited it out outside.  They were our neighbors, otherwise I probably would have said something (or at least I'd like to think so).  But we didn't really want them to pee on our tent while we were sleeping, so we kept our mouths shut. 

For dinner that night, we made pizza sandwiches in the fire.  It's almost like a grilled cheese but with pepperonis and sauce.  One of our favorite camping meals!  It was a beautiful evening and Nick captured some amazing pictures of the sunset while we were waiting out the man in the women's showers. 

The next morning we got up and went on the boat to go swimming one last time.  Then, we made a few more s'mores and packed everything up.  I do have to say that packing up (and unpacking when you get home) is my least favorite part of camping, but it must be done.  The tradition is to get pizza when you get home because you're sunburned and worn out, but you can't order it until you've finished unpacking.  Now that's motivation! 

It was a fantastic weekend and we can't wait to do it again soon!!  We hope to make camping a regular part of our summer (and fall!) activities and make lots of memories with our family!


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