Brainard Lake

Our crew went camping for two nights at Brainard Lake this week. We reserved our spot back in January, you know, because people really love camping in Colorado and you can’t decide on a whim to go camping around here. Nothing like committing six months in advance for a couple nights away in the mountains! At the time I couldn’t even remember who told us to try camping there (now we figured it out), I just had put a reminder in my phone to reserve a campsite at Brainard Lake sometime over the summer. We are SO glad I did and will definitely be coming back! (The reminder in the phone is set on-going for every January now!)

This lovely spot is about an hour and a half away from our home and is gorgeous! We could hear the river from our campsite – a total win! – and loved walking around with it by our side.

Above you see pictures from our time at the campsite. The boys loved chopping firewood for us. We had hotdogs one night and chili the other. Oatmeal balls were our breakfasts.

Micah actually woke up the first morning feeling sick and ended up throwing up (maybe altitude?? maybe two s’mores before bed??), but he managed to still hike at least 6 miles that day and wasn’t slowed down! No symptoms of anything since.

We enjoyed paddle boarding and hiking. We saw four moose (five, if you ask some people…but those people are counting the same moose twice because it was in a different location the second time)! Two of the moose we watched swim across Long Lake – such a beautiful, surreal experience!

Brainard Lake, we’ll see you next July!!

CA Roadtrip, Pt 3: Yosemite

After Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we headed to Fresno as a staging time before we camped for 3 nights in Yosemite.  The boys enjoyed playing Legos and going shopping for some of the last minute purchases we needed to make.


Then on Wednesday morning we headed to Yosemite.  It’s absolutely breath-taking.  It was much busier than Sequoia, but the crowds didn’t overwhelm us until we saw what the weekends were like, so by Saturday morning, we were ready to head out.  =)   The tunnel view – the first view of the valley – was stunning.

Highlights here included:

Camping and having s’mores every night,

hiking to Sentinel Dome (seriously, we highly recommend this!  It’s the second highest spot in the valley and the views are spectacular and it’s not too busy),

ice cream at Glacier Point,

biking through the valley (would highly recommend this, too, but wished we had our own bikes),

various little hikes to see beautiful spots in Yosemite,

and rafting down the river (also, have some grace, this was after 3 nights of camping and no showers…. :P).

Yosemite was lovely.  We will definitely return some day!!

Ethan and Daddio’s Cadet Campout

Cadets is a boys’ program Ethan has been participating in all year through our church.  It’s for guys in 1st grade through 8th grade, so next year Micah will participate, too.  Anyway, every summer they have a campout with the dads.  My uncle is one of the leaders, so he played a huge part in organizing the event and two of our cousins were there participating this year, too.  I heard nothing but wonderful things about it!  One of the traditions of the Cadet Campout is to do some sort of mission project at Long Scraggy. This year they put up a playground.  Mike took a pic of E by it knowing that we’ll have a few years to keep snapping this same shot of him (and his bro).

After the car was all packed up and they were about 5 minutes away from their departure, Ethan fell backwards when playing with his buddy.  A picnic table corner broke his fall and he ended up with a pretty sizable gash in the back of his head.  They cleaned him up and bandaged his head and Mike drove out of the mountains to the closest Urgent Care facility.  Our brave guy got two staples in his head there and will hopefully have them out already this Sunday.  We are all super thankful that I wasn’t a part of this campout.  Mike had to warn me via text about it before they arrived and I still had to sit down just to hear about it!  Eek.

This was the first medical issue we faced with this boy!  We’re pretty impressed to have made it until he was 9 before he had anything serious happen!

Cleve Crew Camping!

Well, it’s official.  We are a camping family.  Perhaps we have to go camping at least twice all together before we can give ourselves that title.  But we had a ton of fun!  And I expect that we’ll continue camping for many years to come after this experience.  We were fortunate to have beautiful weather and I know that helps a whole lot!!

We drove up to Vogel State Park (roughly 1.5 hours), which is the same campground that Mike and Ethan had been camping twice before (see, we are a camping family… =P).  Ethan especially enjoyed showing us places he had been before and pointing out the bathrooms and the creek and whatnot.  We prepared most of our food ahead of time because we aren’t a camping and cooking family quite yet. =)

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We set up camp right away when we got there and had a little snack (oatmeal balls – one of the boys’ highlights):

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Then we headed out to go fishing, at the boys’ request.  I got a brief run in while they did that as I am not keen on dead crickets and whatnot.  Then we all went for a short hike to see a waterfall.

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Back at the camp we ate dinner (hotdogs and fruit) and s’mores (one of my highlights) and headed to bed:

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The next morning was nice and chilly.  We enjoyed some tea and scones for breakfast (okay, and another s’more). The boys began searching for snails (an activity that lasted all day).

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Then we went for another little hike and rented a pedal boat at the lake.

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Then we headed back to camp for lunch, more snail hunting and take down.  The boys found 51 snails.  Absolutely insane.

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Gearing up for Camping

The Cleve Crew is gearing up to see whether we will be a camping family.  We all like the idea of it very, very much, but the four of us have never actually been out together as a family.  We’ll be going SOON!  The past two years, Mike and Ethan have gone on the “All Dude’s Campout” with our church, so when I told Micah that the two of us were going this time, too, he was THRILLED.

Recently, we checked out sleeping bags for future purchases and also did some tent shopping.  We ended up getting an 8-person tent.  It’s pretty huge, so now we ordered a 6-person tent, too, and we’ll decide which one is the better fit for us before heading out to Vogel State Park.

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