grl 2014

Aug 25, 2014

grl 2014

We have been home from our camping trip for over two weeks and I FINALLY got my pictures uploaded. I’d give you a list of excuses, like laundry and health and a very long to-do list, but really, I just haven’t done it before today.


This year I was able to be in my mountains for 16 glorious days. The first six days we only had my mom and three of my kiddos. It was so, so lovely to eat super simple meals, lay around camp, read, watch the children swim and kayak, and just. be. still. The weather was beautiful without a cloud in the sky on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Then on Tuesday it rained for 12 hours straight. We stayed in our tent all day long and played games, read books, and told stories of Grandma and Grandpa for the My Family project our Stake is doing right now.

Our home away from home.

Wednesday night my brother Scott arrived, Thursday my sweetie and Keziah showed up, Friday my sister Mikelle and her family joined us, along with my brother Stephen a bit later in the day.

After those first four days of perfect weather, we had rain. Lots of rain. Rain for days on end. Puddles and mud and raincoats and umbrellas were plentiful. As soon as the rain let up to drizzle mode, everyone would burst from our tents ready to play or fish or do ANYTHING but stay in the tent. There were non-raining moments and sometimes hours every day and we used those to kayak, fish, and warm-up by the fire, but it seemed every day had some rain (or hail!) packed into it.

I fell in the shower and dislocated my tibia a few days before we left, so I had to be super-duper careful the whole time. My whole knee was sore and the ligaments weren’t holding it in place well at all, so I spent most of my time lying in my chair or tent. I was able to kayak down the river three times – twice for five whole miles. Oh, the joy! I love kayaking and it was heavenly to get out on the water and actually move instead of lying around like a stuffed lobster.

Fisher spent most of his time fishing, searching for frogs and snakes, kayaking, and avoiding the camera. Here is one of the few photos I got of his whole face.


This is what usually happened the moment he noticed the camera pointing his way.




One day I had to go to town to register the children for their iFAMILY classes and brought back ice cream in a cooler for a fun camping treat. Since there is no way to keep it frozen, we had to eat 12 creamsicles and a box of ice cream in one sitting. Poor us, eh?


Since I was not able to do much of anything, Blythe took over my mom duties and took the kids on hikes and other adventures. While I was gone to town Blythe took the little ones on a short hike to the cave and big rock. Another day she took them both on a kayak trip to the other side of the lake – two miles across! I didn’t think they would make it, but they rocked it.

After the rainy days started, we woke up to crazy fog each morning. Mom liked to say we were “socked in.”




Umbrellas and rain boots were a staple.


Foot soaks to get the filthy feet clean were enjoyed every few days. I can take a lot of dirt, but even I have my limit and must insist on children’s feet being scrubbed clean before they can enter the tent.



We also had full bath days and several shampoo the hair days, but somehow I made it the entire two weeks without a single bath or hair washing. It felt really, really lovely to bathe all that dirt away when we got home.

We celebrated Blythe and Andie’s 18th birthdays with presents and fake pudding, raspberry cheesecake for Blythe and a fancy store-bought cake for Andie’s.

Blythe wasn’t too happy about turning 18.


Andie gave her a skirt from Nepal. Miss Andie is a world traveler and recently spent three weeks working in a school in Nepal with her mom.


Grandma gave her a set of Holy Tabbs, an awesome scripture marking program I can’t wait to implement in my own scriptures.


My mom has called her Sooger or Shooger Bunkin since the day she was born. It was her name even before she was named Blythe.


Blythe’s yummy, but totally fake raspberry cheesecake with 18 candles making an 18.




We had our favorite camping meal of fried potatoes, onions, peppers, and zucchini for her birthday dinner and then topped it off with some fish.



The two girls went on a kayak adventure on Andie’s birthday morn and I caught a pic of them as they came back to camp.


Then we had yummy cake.


We gave Andie a big bag of our homemade granola. She loves it and we try to make her some every time she comes to visit.

During the sunny moments, lots of fun was had at the lake.





Fish were caught and mostly released, but quite a few were brought back to camp to eat for dinner.


The girls went on a heart kick, wove flowers in their hair, and tried to make hearts out of their bodies.






This all fell apart into pure silliness.




Then they settled on a beach heart.


On our last day, we took the kiddos over to the lodge I lived in as a little girl with my grandparents. I told them all sorts of stories about their great-grandparents and the magical times we had together.


These are the steps my grandfather made…forty years later and they are still there!


This is the double-seater outhouse up on the hill that Camille and I always used when the lodge bathrooms were full or we were playing on the spaceship rocks.


The rock we used to run up and down. You knew you had “arrived” when you could do it without hands.


I spent a lot of time staring at Square Top this year. I was supposed to climb it to celebrate my 40th birthday, but my body is not able to do so. It has now been three years of camping without even being able to go on a small hike. A few times when I was left alone at camp, I sobbed tears of heartbreak that I wasn’t on top of my mountain. I was supposed to do hard things, see new vistas, and have an amazing girl adventure with all my bestest friends. I let the grief pour out of me and really mourn the direction my life has taken. It felt good to really, really cry. To really, really admit how hard and how sad this all is. I can see the blessings and I can put on a brave face, but I am sad, deep down to my little toes, so sad that I cannot climb my mountain or do so many other things I love.

Goodbye to my mountain for another year.


We ended up leaving about 9:00 pm on Saturday night so we could make it home for church on Sunday and as we pulled away, we finally got a full moon. Goodbye moon. My favorite moon.


Related Posts


  1. Oh, my goodness! Such great memories, such beautiful pictures, such sad reality, such an amazing daughter! Thank you so much for taking pictures and for doing this each year for the rest of us to enjoy!!!

  2. Melissa Lombardo

    Such a magical place Tracy! I love this tradition of your families each year.

    • tracy

      It is magical. It fills me up with so much goodness and strength. How are you doing? Has your home sold? Are you all settled? Have you found friends in your new area? I would love to see you and your precious family!

      • tracy

        Oh good! I’m so glad you loved it! Spread the word. I believe in putting my money in causes that are doing good in the world and I want the producers, directors, and actors to make lots of money so they will do more films like this.