WARNING: This post is rated: "T" for Tyler. It may contain embarrassing, inappropriate, offensive and generally ridiculous language and content. Children of any age should view this material under close parental supervision.
So... this weekend was the inaugural Carlson family campout of 2009 and let me the first to declare it a major success. We had plenty of naysayers due to the dismal weather forecast... 50% chance of rain is not ideal... but since I'm a gambling man we rolled the dice, packed the 4-Runner, left Taz with Grandma Jo (I'm a risk taker, but not suicidal - children under 3 are verboten!) and headed up to Estes Park, throwing common sense and caution to the wind!
Below are some highlights of the trip... enjoy!
**AMBER GONE WILD INCIDENT
So as we are rolling into Rocky Mountain National Park, enjoying the amazing scenery and the "wild" animals (Note: there are absolutely NO "wild" animals in RMNP - the elk are more domesticated than my kids!) I nearly drive off the road because my blessed wife has taken off her shirt and is sitting half naked in the seat next to me! Under normal circumstances (okay scratch that, this would never happen under normal circumstances!) I would sing Halleluiah and drive off the road for different reasons, but under these circumstances my kids were in the backseat and we were rapidly approaching a ranger station... not exactly an ideal time for your wife to have an R-rated moment.
After a knee jerk "What are you doing?!?" while swerving to miss a domesticated elk I saw IT... yes IT... the despicable machine that has replaced me as my wife's intimate partner.. the DAMN breast pump! I hate the thing with a passion and for some reason, still unknown, Amber thought then an ideal time to hook herself up, the very moment when we're approaching the ranger station and campground at 15 miles an hour! Yikes!
**DEAD CARCASS INCIDENT
After setting up camp without incident (under sunny skies you backseat campers!) the kids and I set out to explore our new turf. After a few minutes we stumbled across the skeleton of a dead elk sitting in the grass. The kids (I include myself in this category) were fascinated by our archeological find and we spent about 10 minutes discussing the different bones, how it died (probably eaten by a dinosaur [Boston] or attacked by a bear [Brooklyn]), what happened to the rest of its body and why there were bugs eating its skull! We then proudly brought mom over to see our find and, unfortunately, she did not share our fascination with the skeleton or approve of our touching it! Seeing the carniverous bugs eating the skull nearly sent Amber to the psych unit!
**YES HONEY, METAL CONDUCTS HEAT INCIDENT
After an excellent meal of hot dogs (Boston ate nearly an entire package!) tin foil dinners (Amber is a master of camping cooking! Delicious!) and pre-packed peanut butter and jelly for Brooklyn (Yesiree... she insisted on bringing her own rations!) we were sitting around the campfire, cooking/burning marshmallows and trying to prevent Boston from throwing a firey marshmallow lava ball into someone's face or lap...
(The hot dog eating burning marshmallow monster contemplates his next move!)
...when Amber commented that her feet felt hot. In horror I looked down and saw her NOT-inexpensive running shoes resting against the metal fire ring. She quickly pulled them away and had a flashback of junior high science class where she learned that metal is an EXCELLENT conductor of both heat and electricity!
"Honey, I needed new running shoes anyway!" $%^%&*!
One of big failures of last years camping trip was the morning routine... waking up in a cold tent, without Dora the Explorer and a bowl of cereal wreaked complete havoc in our kids' lives so this year we decided to completely sell out and do breakfast in Estes Park at the Golden Arches. And I must admit (please don't tell Boy Scouts of America or they will rescind my Scoutmaster calling) I really enjoyed it! We all slept in until 8am (a miracle in and of itself), woke up to beautiful blue skies and sunshine, jumped into the car and enjoyed pancakes, sausage and egg mcmuffins! No mess to clean up and no cold orney kids! Hooray for the Fast Food Nation!
**$1 AN INCH / TYLER, THE ANTI-FISHERMAN / AMBER JOINS GREENPEACE!
After breakfast Boston was pleading to go fishing so we stopped by a Trout Farm to clean out our wallets and emotionally traumatize Amber. The rules of engagement were: 1) $1 per inch caught, 2) no catch & release, 3) the farm cleans the fish. Simple enough, except $1 per inch made my blood run cold after seeing the MOBY DICK sized fish in the pond. The kid running the shop got us outfitted with a rod, worms and bucket and away we went...
The first episode of hilarity was me trying to cast the fishing line with a $10 fishing pole. Let me be the first to say I am not a fisherman, whatsoever (I fully blame this on my father who never taught me to fish, hunt or fix/maintain anything involving a motor... he taught me many other things, equally valuable like how to raise pigs, flood irrigate a field, drive a tractor, etc... but definitely not how to fish!), so I fully entertained Amber and the kid-worker with my ridiculous attempts to cast the line. After deciding my inadeqacies were a result of equipment failure, insult was added to injury when the kid-worker took over the pole and proceeded to cast the line ACROSS THE DAMN LAKE. $%&*
The second episode of hilarity was me instructing the kids to catch the smallest fish possible (yeah right, the cards were stacked against me!) and having them pull up some of the biggest trout I've ever seen... $$$$ $$$$ $$$ $$$...
The last entertaining episodes were Amber's reactions to me putting the worms on the hook (she nearly passed out) and her COMPLETELY freaking out when the kid-worker bashed the flopping fish over the head with a mallet to kill them before gutting and cleaning them. I never knew my wife was such an environmentalist, but I quickly found out she has zero tolerance for animal injury/fatality in her presence (although she'll pound a hamburger/chicken nugget/shrimp without thinking twice... guess I should never take her to a butcher or stockyard!).
Priceless were the kids excitement about catching the fish, their thrill of reeling them into the shore and their fascination with watching the kid-worker clean the fish... Definitely worth the 27 inches of fish that I paid for!
**IS WALKING 100 YARDS HIKING?
The last adventure we had was taking a family hike. In my mind, I planned us hiking 4 miles round trip to Cub Lake... the Carlson family VERUS mother nature, exploring the wild outdoors and charting unknown territory....
Unfortunately, my kids had other ideas...
After setting out from the car with gusto and going about 100 feet Boston proclaimed that he couldn't walk any farther and needed to be on somebody's shoulders! Brooklyn chimmed in as well so being out numbered my long family hiking adventure turned into a 100 yard lark along the Big Thompson River where we played in the FRIGID water, threw rocks, walked on logs, checked out a beaver damn and found hiking sticks [Brooklyn] and swords [Boston]! I guess Cub Lake will have to wait until next year...
Ruby, age 2
3 weeks ago