Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Canoeing on the Russian River

Canoes at the ready
For the past few years, The Captain has been in charge of organizing all the overnights and camping trips for The Boy’s Cub Scout Pack. Recently, we spent a weekend camping and canoeing in Forestville, CA on the Russian River. If you've read my prior posts, you've deduced that we live in Northern California so this is little more than an hour from home. For years every time we drove to the Sonoma Coast, The Captain mentioned wanting to spend a weekend at a place called Burke’s Canoes. This is where our adventure took place.

The canoe trip itself was really fun. Being that we are a family of three and another family came as a father and son, The Boy and I were paired with them since Burke’s requires at least two adults per canoe. The Captain took a kayak and the rest of the families stayed together in their threes and fours. It was decided that next time we will split up all the couples since our canoe had no marital strife considering there was no marriage… It also happens that not only did I have a great partner but I take instruction well and don’t like conflict, especially when my child’s life may be at stake.

Regarding Burke’s Canoes, I offer the following: if you are older than your mid-twenties, like your sleep, and/or have children, do not camp there. Do a day trip or camp elsewhere and use their canoes but, I repeat, do not camp there. The first of the two nights was ridiculously loud until about 2:30 am. Not by any of our lot, who went to bed around 10:00 pm knowing we had a long day ahead, but from the younger set who brought the entire frat along for the ride. The more they drank, the louder they became. (I was in college once upon a time, I remember.) The next morning my friend Laura said she’d slept just fine and then produced her earplugs. In hindsight, the camp manager told us this was the case but did so in some hippy code to which we didn’t have the key. He simply said that if it got too loud we should “bang hard on John’s door (the trailer in the middle of the campground) but make sure you bang hard cuz he’s a deep sleeper.” Yeah. We’re going to walk up through all the loud people and complain because that’s a good idea. No one ever said. Our mistake was making the assumption that there was 10:00 pm curfew/quiet time enforced. Well, we all know what happens when we ASSume. J (sorry, Mom and Auntie Sharon.)
Part of campsites... the dusty part.

Beyond that and more importantly, the children were not really welcome at Burke’s. In fact, ours were the ONLY children there. First the kids wanted to play right in front of our campsites. However, there is so much dust at Burke’s that we had to ask them not to run and kick it up because we were cooking and did they want grit in their food? They went to play near the water but that wasn’t okay with Burke’s management. So they moved up closer to the canoes (which we kept them from climbing on and around). The management asked the kids not to play there so they moved further up to play on the hill. But that wasn’t okay either because it was “too close to the road” (aka the office) that ran around the campsites but not more than two cars moved around it and did so slowly because the management kept yelling at them to slow down. Eventually, after realizing they had left the children nowhere to play, the water became okay again.

Despite all this, the trip included a tolerant and fun group of people: two families we know well and four others with whom we were only acquainted. As I’ve said in previous posts, it never ceases to amaze me the quality of families who are involved in Scouts. Over the weekend we found that we really enjoyed hanging out with all these folks who come from all walks of life.

I mention the following only because The Captain deserves the credit for so much more than making a few phone calls. This is also the last overnight The Captain will be overseeing as The Boy will be Bridging to Boy Scouts this February. As well as making all the reservations, The Captain also prepares all the food for the weekend camping trips (actually, I was allowed to make a few things for breakfast one day but that is unusual J). He doesn’t have to do this but he has a powerful need to take care of people by making sure they are well fed. It runs in his family. He’s a great cook so there are no complaints. Our camping fare is much simpler than what we would serve at home but it’s comforting and tasty, nonetheless.

Last Friday night at our first official Pack Meeting of the year, I found myself in a circle with many of the other parents who attended the canoeing weekend. I can personally attest to the importance of team building. This adventure definitely made the Den Leaders and Officers present more cohesive and better invested in one another’s kids. Overall, I think this will help us all create the nurturing atmosphere our boys need to have yet another successful year.

It’s a great day for Scouting!