Monday, July 13, 2015

Camp Ocoee

Last week, Finnan carried on the LeBlanc family tradition of attending Camp Ocoee.  It is no secret that I thought age seven was too young for a week of overnight camp, but Atticus insisted that it would be good for Finnan and Finnan's enthusiasm for the idea never wavered.  Much of the week still remains a mystery, but Finnan loved camped.  He stayed in a cabin with 8 other 7 and 8 year old boys and 3 counselors.  The special activities that he chose were rock climbing, canoeing, and bb guns.  The rest of their days they spent at the lake, arts and crafts, hiking, and ??? (I may never know...well, I may know next year when Jude goes.)  We did hear a lot about their overnight excursion to "Indians," where they canoed to an island and spent the night in tents.  On the way there, Finnan was in a canoe with no counselors and according to him, they had "trouble."  We're pretty confident they didn't tip though, as that detail would've surely been  highlight.  When we picked Finnan up, he was beaming.  He was chosen as the "honor camper" in his cabin and we were told again and again by various counselors what a great camper he was. 




Since Camp Ocoee was over 2 hours away, we decided to stay in the area Friday and Saturday nights the weekend of pick up and make a little get-away of it.  By the time we decided we wanted to rent a cabin (instead of camp), all we could find in the area was actually a cabin on Camp Ocoee's property (separate from the kids' camp).  The accommodations ended up being pretty sparse, but the cabin came with a canoe, which was awesome.

The fire circle was across a road and down a little trail from our cabin.  The first night as I walked back to the cabin to put Cal to bed I heard a rustling in the woods.  I looked over and saw the head of a bear peeking over the brush.  As quickly and quietly as I could I high-tailed it back to Atticus shout-whispering "Bear!" "Bear!"  I'm not sure if he didn't believe me or what, but his reaction was to go toward the bear. . . then come back to get the camera.  Unfortunately, my camera has been having focusing issues for a while, so his pictures turned out terrible, but you can see there was a mama bear and then below a cub.  She actually had three cubs.  One of the cubs even went on the porch to our cabin.  

Apparently, there were two mama bears with three cubs each that have been hanging around camp all summer (And I left my child there?!?!).  The night before we arrived, one of the mama bears figured out how to get into the dumpster, which apparently means they have to be relocated.  We saw TN Wildlife Resource trucks around when we came, but to be honest it just looked like they were having a retreat.  They didn't tell us anything about the bears or that they would be attempting to trap them that night.  When we woke up Saturday morning they had trapped both mama bears each with one cub in these metal barrel traps.  I went from being terrified to being sad.  We could see one cub desperately trying to get to his mama in the trap. When we drove by, he climbed up the tree right by the road.  By the end of the day they had gotten all eight bears and relocated them to northern TN, so we were able to have a more peaceful campfire Saturday night.

The boys spent a lot of time canoeing.  On Sunday morning, Atticus and the three boys even made the trek to "Indians."  It was quite a canoe ride, but the ended it with some play time on the camp's water trampoline and inflatable log-roll.  After the trip Rory need to clarify that "There were no Indians sleeping there."

I did get to canoe some as well.  The boys were pretty shocked I knew how to canoe and I enjoyed  surprising them.  Cal spent a lot of time crawling around the landscape and around the cabin.  Ultimately, we decided we wouldn't be able to go camping right now because he is on the move so much and is still putting a lot of things in his mouth.  He is not so content being held for long periods anymore and needs to be free to move around to be happy.  This trip marked Cal's first time sharing a room with his brothers.  All of them were completely unfazed and slept just as if they would have at home.  I was impressed.

As we were driving out, Jude proclaimed this his best vacation ever.  Life just keeps getting better for that kid.  Needless to say, everyone is already looking forward to Camp Ocoee next year.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Father's Day

A belated happy father's day to Atticus!  This Father's Day weekend we decided to skip the pool and go hiking.  Since we feel in love with the creeks and rivers in western North Carolina, we decided we wanted to start exploring the trails of the Chattahoochee.  Our first Chattahoochee adventure was Sope Creek Trail.  

We really didn't know anything about it, but we hoped there would be a place for the kids to play in the water so we had them bring water suitable clothes.  Luckily, while we were picnicking by the parking lot we saw a family in swim suits and got directions to the water.  In less than a mile, we came upon this little swimming hole, completely with natural water slides!  There were a couple of other families there and all the kids and dads were having a blast.  For the most part, I had to stay on the shore with Cal and Scout, but I enjoyed watching all of the great dads.  Even though none of the families knew each other, the dads spread out helping kids out, making sure they got up the rock slide ok and that none of them got caught in a rough current. 

I tried to get Atticus, Finnan and Jude to all pose at the top of the slide, but the current took Jude away before I could get a picture!