A week at the Lair

We're back from a vacation week at Lair of the Golden Bear. I've traditionally been a camp Gold camper, and it was nice to come back after 30+ years had gone by and realize that not much had changed. Camp was touch and go for the first couple days with my 9 year old, but by the end he was loving every minute of it. He'd been a bit taciturn with me but camping had a very mellowing effect on him that continues on through the following weeks. School starts soon, so I expect that will end shortly.

Fishing: We went fishing twice - once hiking over to Pinecrest Lake on our own and fishing from shore, and once with a group of same age kids. We didn't catch anything either time, but on the group fishing expedition the littlest girl with a Barbie fishing pole managed to hook the first fish. The pole exploded when she tried to reel him in and she ended up pulling him in hand over hand.

Hiking: Next year I'll plan to lots of hiking. I managed some unstructured walks this year. There's plenty of real hiking to great destinations.

Swimming: Free group lessons and great private lessons for my son from one of the counselors, a student at UCSB.

Arts and Crafts: clay projects, tie die, and bisqueware decoration. I only drew the line at a lanyard.

Travel time was 9 hours door-to-door, leaving from Santa Barbara (which we'd driven to the day before). That's a long time, but fortunately I have music we can both tolerate, AC, and plenty of kids books. Return time was about the same, despite going a slightly different route, cutting over at Kettleman City.

We stopped at Columbia State Park on the way back and my son was very impressed, despite claimed prior experience with ghost towns and old western theme towns.

My packing list reminders for next year are as follows, augmenting Grace's list over on Bad Mom, and the official list.

Snacks - Just bring enough for the car and a famished kid emergency, though a cooler and juice or soft drinks are quite nice. Food is so plentiful at meal times in camp that it's really overkill to bring more. The water tastes delicious there, so I tend to enjoy a lot of that.

Adult libations - Wine to share at the lodge, after the kids have gone to bed or for the 4PM get-togethers. Beer is surprisingly good too and handy to share.

Knit cap for sleeping - some nights are cold enough to need this. We had some this year, but I was surprised to actually need them.

Aqua socks - for creek crawling. Better than an old pair of tennies.

Exterior lights of some sort - Distinctive lights help you find your way back to the cabin after dark. Some people had novelty Christmas lights, or even the standard twinkly sort.

Your own supply of bisqueware (they have only basic shapes).

Your own garments for tie die.

A+D ointment. It's dry and this is great for chapped skin.

See you next year at the Lair.

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