Sunday, August 21, 2011

Camping Post #2: Family Campout at Ensign Ranch

We spent Thursday night and Friday night at Ensign Ranch, near Yakima Washington, with my parents and Polly & Eric & children. With all of our travels this summer, we had not yet seen Polly and her family, who live just 4 1/2 hours away! We had planned to see my parents when we camped at Sparks Lake, but had to change our plans when I broke my nose, and we wanted to spend time with them, too. So a family campout was the perfect way to end our summer with dear family.

Ensign Ranch is a (LDS) Church-owned camp. It was so nice to know that our neighbors wouldn't be up till all hours with noisy parties. It is huge--it can accommodate 3 or more stakes of YW Camp at the same time--but we found a great spot for our family.

The campsites have wonderful teepees and wall tents. They can hold 10+ people! We had lots of space. The tents and teepees have good floors and are very comfortable to camp in. The campground we were in does not allow vehicle access, so we used the handcart to haul the gear from the car to the campsite - about 1/4 mile each way. Of course, the kids loved getting rides in the handcart!

Polly, me, Katie, my dad (Ken) and my mom (Nancy) - chopping up vegies for the foil dinners. You can see the Family Campout teeshirts we had made for the weekend. Polly said it might have been better if they were neon orange, so she could see her kids better when they wandered off through the bushes. :) No matter, the teeshirts will bring back happy memories when the kids wear them throughout the year.

I love cooking in foil - no dishes to wash! You just have to be careful to seal the seams really carefully to keep the steam in - that's what does the cooking. I also use 2 layers of heavy duty foil to prevent burning.
Mark was the "fire-man," and did a super job managing the briquettes for the  foil menu and the Dutch oven dishes. Thanks, Mark!

After foil dinners, of course we enjoyed some marshmallows. Polly, Seth, Eric, Becca.

Seth really enjoyed his marshmallows! Haha - he is ALL boy.

It was so good to sit around in the evening and visit with family. The kids thoroughly enjoyed all the outdoor time. The mosquitoes weren't too bad, and the setting was really lovely.
(Polly, me with Becca and Katie, Seth, Eric)

I loved all the grandma-snuggle time! Here I'm enjoying some time with Becca and Katie.

My parents, Nancy and Ken, were the ones who got me started on camping as a kid. It's been years since I've camped with them, and I loved having them join us on this campout. They brought their new camping trailer and stayed in a nearby RV site. It was a little over 1/4 mile for them to walk from their trailer to the campsite where the rest of the family stayed.

Yum! Friday morning breakfast was French toast casserole in the Dutch oven. It came out perfect, and there were no leftovers.

Friday was filled with water play. First we played in the canoes. Ensign Ranch provides them for free! Katie wanted to ride with Grandma and Grandpa.

Polly, Seth, Eric and Becca. After a while, Mark and I were boarded by "pirates" - Seth and Becca climbed into our canoe! So fun to enjoy the time with the grandchildren, even if they do make the canoe extra "tippy." Sit still, kids! Mark kept saying...

After lunch we took the kids to play at the huge slip-n-slide. It really is amazing. The kids kept going for 2 full hours. Thank goodness we brought our shade canopy to sit under and watch them. That's Eric at the top in his green teeshirt, holding Becca. Katie is off to the right holding a pink inner tube, and Seth is sliding (off his tube--haha) with the orange inner tube.

Here's a little video that shows some of the action. In the video, Eric is sliding and holding Becca, and Katie is in the next inner tube, holding hands with Eric.

Back at camp, Becca helped me prepare the pineapple upside down cake. We also made homemade ice cream to celebrate three August birthdays: Mark, Seth, and my mom. Dad grilled steaks, and we all were about to pop! after supper. Oh, my, it was all so yummy.

Our last morning, Becca woke up with swollen puffy eyes - a mosquito got her on the eyebrow, and also beneath her eye! Poor kid - she didn't seem to mind too much. Good thing she was too little to realize how puffy she looked.

Seth enjoyed our final breakfast.

We loaded all the gear back onto the handcarts. (Eric, Seth, Katie)

And headed for the parking lot, and home. (Eric with Becca, Seth, Katie, Mark) We had so much fun!


Kendra Last-Bookartist said...

Becca must have sensitive skin like her Auntie Kendra. My eye was swollen like that, only worse after I got a bug bit above my eye one time. Looks like a lot of fun was had by all. Love to you all!

Dorothy said...

What fun memories the kids will have from this campout with Grandma and Grandpa (times two)!That water slide looks amazing. We will have to keep this place in mind for future family outings. :)

Katie Lewis said...

Pineapple upside down cake--yummm!

Lisa Lou said...

Wow! That place sounds GREAT!

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Thanks for posting all the pics, Mom! I stole one for my blog post and linked back here. Love you! Thanks again for the fun camping trip.