Amazingly, the Brighton Meadows Campground had spots open on this Labor Day weekend. It’s owned by The Church and is available for free* first-come first-serve. I think most people just don’t know about it, because it’s a great place to camp and it was Labor Day weekend and all. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity and camped there last Friday night.

It was a busy week with us and we didn’t really start getting ready to go until I got home from work Friday. It took us a while, so as we left town at about 6 pm we stopped at Sonic to get some dinner. So much for cooking over the fire. When we got there it was starting to get dark and it was already chilly. As Ily and I worked on getting the tent set up, the boys begged us to start the fire. To get them out of our hair I told them they had permission to go start it themselves. I wasn’t sure if they even knew how to strike a match, or what to do with it once they had. They worked pretty hard at it though, and by the time the tent was set up they had actually produced some flames. Frustratingly, the flames weren’t staying lit. With the tent done, I walked over to the fire pit and gave them a couple pointers. Isaac found a greasy paper bag from Sonic, which I crumpled up and handed to Micah, who stuffed it under a nice little teepee he had made out of some sticks. Micah lit the match and set it ablaze and the sticks caught on fire. We carefully put a bigger log on top and it became a real campfire. Micah will make a good cub scout in 4 months, and Isaac a full-fledged boy scout when he turns 11 tomorrow.

We used the fire to make smores for dessert. Davis was fascinated by the fire. He would reach his hand out towards it and we would say, “hot!” and pull him back. He thought it was a game and started to reach his hand out and say, “ha!” himself. This was his second time camping (we went to Clover Springs in June, I think we forgot to write about that), but his first time camping and being able to walk. He loved putting the biggest rock that would fit in his mouth and just walking around with it there. Nature’s pacifiers? We would pull the rock out of his mouth and he would immediately crouch down and grab another. It was a losing battle for us and the activity left a nice ring of dirt around his mouth like a painted-on clown smile. Painted on with dirt. He was a little dirt ball the entire trip. It was really cute.

Davis slept horribly. He wouldn’t hold still or stay in one place. I guess in your crib you can just crawl around like that, but in a crowded tent he kept bumping into us and waking us up. He also crawled away from any sleeping bag or blanket that might have kept him warm, and it did get a little cold that night. As scoutmaster I long ago I gave up any expectations of actually sleeping well while camping with kids. I avoid a lot of disappointment that way, and sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised. This night wasn’t surprising.

In the morning we had planned a simple cold breakfast of yogurt and muffins. The muffins never happened though, so it was actually going to be yogurt and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Because it was still cold in the morning the boys opted for the hotdogs that Sonic had replaced the night before, cooked over another fire. Hotdogs for breakfast. I couldn’t do it. I shared a yogurt with Davis (he’s pretty demanding) and ate a PB&J.; Ily made us hot chocolate too, and even put some in a bottle for Davis to drink. I think everyone was satisfied.

After breakfast it was time for the highlight of this campground, the lake. They have some canoes and a zip line for all to use. We figured it would be crowded with all the other families camping here, so we brought our own little blow-up raft to paddle around in too. It actually wasn’t that crowded after all, but we still used it. Reece had fun in it paddling around with me for a while, but Davis liked the raft more than any of the other kids. Isaac and Micah both did the zip line a couple times, but they didn’t have enough mass to carry them all the way across the lake, and had to drop into the cold water each time and swim to shore. They paddled canoes around a bit and eventually ended up helping Reece make his mud pies on the dock. We all enjoyed the lake.

When everyone was hungry enough we helped clean up a bit at the lake shore and then headed back to our campsite to make lunch. We heated up burritos made with Ily’s famous refried beans on our butane stove. Then we packed up the car and noticed that we had remembered my Father’s Day present, my bow and arrows. At this point I think everyone else had left to go watch the BYU game (it wasn’t the usual Salt Lake crowd of Ute fans) and we were the only ones around. We didn’t have a hay bail or anything to put the target on, so we just shot towards the hill that the dirt road climbed. It was fine for our meager skills, and we all had fun. I put the quiver that the arrows came in on my back and the kids told me I looked like Robin Hood. There ain’t much better than that.

Unbelievably, it was 4:30 by the time we drove out of there. I tuned into the BYU game as we drove and the second half was starting. BYU was down 0-3 and Jake Heaps threw an interception that Ole Miss ran back for a touchdown. The kids were whining that they didn’t like to listen to football and I figured the game sounded hopeless anyway, so we turned on their book on CD instead. I was shocked when we got home to see that BYU had won it.

Just about every time we camp with whole family we wonder if it’s really worth all the trouble. Hopefully the kids remember more than than just Mom and Dad grumbling about how it wouldn’t kill them to help carry a sleeping bag or two to the car, or how their baby brother cried all night. I think overall we did OK this time.

Behold, some pictures (taken with phones, one thing we did forget was our real camera).

  • You do have to clean the bathrooms before you leave


Dad Murdock September 5, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.

Thanks for the pictures. It looks like everyone had a good time.

Dad Murdock September 5, 2011 at 9:50 a.m.

I almost forgot to wish Isaac a very happy Bithday!!!