Saturday morning at 9:00, we were frantic. Showering and gulping down breakfast, throwing clothes in our bags, and checking and double-checking to make sure we had the essentials: sunscreen, insect repellent, lots of water, ice, foldable chairs, matches, coal, and a tent. If you haven’t already figured it out, we were going camping. Labor Day weekend brought on the last opportunity to camp we would have for the rest of the year. We stuffed out car with all our boxes and bags, but unable to fit it all, we would have to put some things in the front where we would be sitting.

Five-seater cars are best for four people. When you have five people and a boulder-sized cooler, things become cramped.  After a four-hour long drive with traffic, we were facing a wooden picnic table and a bear-proof food case, surrounded by tall pine trees at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Within five minutes, the second family we were camping with turned into the parking. After a round of hi’s and hello’s, we got to work.

First thing first, the tents. Our new tent was extremely simple to put up; it took five minutes to put up. The second family’s tent was mostly the same as ours; it took three children three minutes to put up. We then assigned tasks: cooking duty, unloading duty, and bed set-up. Within two hours, a total of nine of us were sitting in chairs, talking about the traffic we had experienced on the way. The tenth camper was in the car, whining to be let out into the open. He was a dog.

Saturday 5:30pm: In a clearing in the midst of a mix of giant sequoias and pine trees, the nine of us stood facing a fallen giant sequoia, gaping at it’s enormity. Wider than an average kitchen and as tall as the statue of liberty, the tree was a remarkable sight. The thought that something could grow to be that big from a single seedling overwhelmed us, But the thought of something of that size tumbling down frightened us even more.

First day of camping – as tiring, yet exciting, as ever!

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