Tuesday, July 10, 2007 ;
8:33 AM
8 July

It was a bad night.
1st: the tent had metal structures to secure it, but was loosely bound at the bottom and top, which means, wind blew through into the tent and the tent canvas material flapped about the whole time. Insects also flew in and out freely through all the holes. As of now (3rd Aug), my horseflies wounds are still healing, the scabs not totally dried yet!

2nd: It was super cold, and increasingly so, from 3am till 5am. I kept piling the blankets onto kids, and we were wearing winter clothes already, gloves, scarfs, thick heavy jackets, plus sleeping bag, and balaclavas for the kids, beanie for myself... thick socks... but the air we breathe in is still icy cold, so I was still cold. I made sure the kids were alright though, and they seemed to sleep ok. But naturally, they did not have to worry about bears or whatever wildlife entering the tent.

3rd: I guess all the stories told to us scared us too. And cos there has been a 30% increase in bears sighted around camps, so I was really afraid the bear will just crash through the tent, which is terribly easy, cos our tent is so flimsy.
Then there were many coyotes sighted too, and they say chipmunks love to just scamper into the tent to steal food.

Ok, I didn't see any of these on the first night, but I kept hearing the howls of coyotes and some night bird calling. Then there were so many moths/ insects flying around that it was just difficult to sleep.

4th: There were 4 bunk beds but 2 were high up, so the kids had to sleep on the lower ones. ds2 still nurses, and in this unfamiliar surroundings, he woke up more than usual, so I squeezed with him to sleep on the narrow bunk bed. However, cos of the design of the sleeping bag, I ended up sleeping on the edge of the sleeping bag with ds2 inside the bag (it can't hold 2 people together when ds2 is nursing). And so I was cold and unable to sleep the whole night.

5th: Even though ds1 doesn't fall off his bed at home, but the floor is carpeted and I also worried that in this new orientation, he migh tfall off the bunk bed onto the concrete ground, so I also kept glancing at him whenever he stirred in his sleep.

So, once I saw the sun rise, I woke up, couldn't bear to lie down for another miserable second on the bunk bed. Thus, at 5.30am, I was up and about already. And by 6am, had the peanut pork porridge cooking.

dh also woke at the same time. Although i didn't tell him all my above worries, I think he didn't sleep well too, maybe for the same reasons.

Usually ds2 wakes shortly after I do, because the milk supply is missing, and he'll be jolted awake.

So there he is, still in the warm PJs, standing in the church van, watching us get ready.

That's the stove we bought for this camp. Using propane fuel. And above right: I was recoiling in horror at the disgusting sight of canned spinach. It's gonna be the 1st and last time we try canned veggies. Looked like slimy worms. Not even green, it was brown in colour. But no choice, cos our cooler is small compared to most others, and we only have 1 cooler, so we couldn't possibly bring lots of fresh food.

Fortunately the kids still ate their whole bowl of porridge.

When the food was cooking, the nice smell and the chirping birds singing, plus the cheery sunshine lifted our weary spirits, and we managed to take these family photos.

Then we went for noon Sunday worship. It was held at an open-air amphitheatre. Quite a different experience from past church camps. A lot of people brought their lawn chairs and umbrellas. We naturally didn't have all these stuff. Just sat on the benches and moved whenever the sun shone on us. Midday sun glare is really hot, even up in Teton.

We then met a family that came from California. They used to be with the Utah congregation until they moved. The guy's an air force fighter jet pilot, I can't remember what rank, but very very high. So whenever the air force needs him to move, they all move. They have 2 kids> Luke (in pic below) is 4 and a younger boy is 1, quite similar to my kids. So Luke and the boys played for awhile. The parents, us and the Dowdys had a good chat over very yummy cookies baked by Brenda Dowdy, who shared them with all of us.

By the way, the Dowdys (below right) just bought a new trailer, and they actually helped us carry our stroller and some bedding up to the camp too, because we had no more space in our car. They've been a great help.

They're all pictured at our tent cabin.

Luke's mom was also worried about the bears, but they stay in a log cabin, so they have less to worry about, because the walls and doors are the firm wooden kind. Dh said, if we ever come again, we should rent the log cabin too, regardless of the higher price, just for a better sleep at night, and safety. Just before we came up for this camp, a boy in Utah was dragged away by a bear from his tent, and killed. Very sad.

After that, dh and ds1 went for a short hike. And they took this pic from Colter Bay Marina, with the Tetons in the background. Me? I had a short nap with ds2 in the tent. I could sleep very well in the day! :-)

This is our tent cabin exterior (below left) and interior, showing the bunk beds and concrete floor (below right). The bunk bed section was mounted on logs, but the rest of the tent cabin was the normal tent material.

Above left: a stove for keeping warm at night and to keep insects away. We didn't get the chance to collect firewood on the 1st night as we arrived too late. but subsequent nights we used it, and it was much warmer.

Above right: signs posted everywhere, from the tents to the public toilets.

this is another reason why we think it is easier to stay in the log cabins. at least we don't have to keep shifting our things from car to tent and tent to car. With young kids, we need a lot of snacks and things all the time, so how can we keep everything stored in the car, including sealed snacks and empty water bottles!

The other compelling reason is the toilet. No toilet and sink makes it very difficult for families with young children. I have to change diapers for ds2 sometimes, have to bring ds1 to the toilet all the time, and then having to wash my hands so many times while tending to them. It is super inconvenient. And then at night, I have to refrain ds1 from drinking water, in case he wants to go at night. We can't let him anyhow pee cos of the bears too, as stated in the warnings. So we can't let him pee into a cup or something. I did collect water into containers for washing hands, but still it is troublesome, because the kids get their clothes wet everytime they wash hands from water poured out from the container.

Anyway I carry water so many times over the 6 days that my biceps grew visibly bigger!

Ok, the fun part: mass BBQ at night. At the picnic area beside Jackson lake.

Someone even boiled water (above left), and those without long skewers (like us, but someone lent us), used long sticks to skewer their meat (above right)!

The scenery was awesome, the breeze cool and the atmosphere was very lively. It was very fun. I guess all our lodging suffering and misery was worth it just fot the fellowship!

Above left: foreground left - air force pilot, right - church elder.

Above right: dh BBQing corn and ds1 munching on a roasted marshmallow. foreground left with white cap - our tent cabin neighbour, who came alone, and shared a lot of his food with us.

Maybe he saw what we brought and took pity on us. :-) He brought a lot of fresh food, like watermelons, beef, ham, burgers, a 12 can carton of coke etc, which he all gave to us, saying he has plenty. He's an engineer and you could tell. You know our tents had no electricity right? So we were at the mercy of the elements and couldn't charge digicam or videocam? Even our cell phone had no signal.

But he invited us over to share his food and we saw what he did! He brought an adapter thingy, and attached it to a light source outside the tent. (He took the light bulb out). And he rigged it up to his fan, and it was not a small fan, it was a large one! So in the afternoon summer heat, he was enjoying the breeze. And then, he was using electric cooker so he needn't buy fuel too. Anyway he has been coming to this camp for 26 yrs already, so he is very experienced and very well-equipped.

Below: other pics of the BBQ

Above left: the water of the lake is so clear!

Above right: brought kids down by the lake to play. they loved to skim pebbles across the water. anyway this fun activity transcends age, just take a look at the youth below, doing the same thing. :-)

Above left: after BBQ, there was singing.

Above right: some kids went up to lead singing too. they sang "Jesus loves me" and so on.

But we noticed a lot of people don't really sing. They do look at the hymn books but don't sing. Either that, or they sing very softly. So somehow, I miss the Jurong COC singing.

Congregational singing at Jurong always makes me very enthu, very uplifted and very motivated. I always feel like I am praising God to the highest. Really miss the singing back home.

Also miss the spontaneous singing after Wed Bible class, or just anytime when we are in the church building. Sometimes the girls, Eudora, Zel, Audrey, Medalene etc just get together to sing. Always makes me very happy to hear their melodious singing.

After BBQ, back at tent, collected and chopped wood for firewood. First we lit a bonfire outside the tent to chase insects away, and for light/ warmth.

Below left: dh trying to start a fire by friction, just for fun (we have a lighter, but just to let ds have fun watching fire light up spontaneously).

Below right: the resulting bonfire.

Above: dh sawing and chopping the wood collected around the tent. According to NP laws, any wood on the ground can be collected. Just as long as it is not living. There were plenty of logs ard, so we didn't have to buy any firewood. Firewood cost US$6 for a small box at the NP store. One night alone, we can use up 5 boxes? Cos every half hour we need to put in another log.

(btw, our experienced neighbour was the one who brought all the tools like axe and saw. so he lent us)

Above left: At sunset (9.30pm), ds1 swatting flies using fly swatter the Dowdy's lent us. See how few things we brought! If not for their kindness, we'd have lacked many things. There were many insects besides huge and aggressive mosquitoes. Horseflies were the worst, cos they kept coming and biting me and kids. SOmehow they didn't bite dh! So dh joked that he's either too dirty or smelly or his skin is impenetrable.

The bites are super itchy and swell quite big (bigger than mosquitoes') and also somehow doesn't subside for a long long time. We didn't dare apply cream, cos the bear warnings all say not to apply cosmetics or anything with a scent, cos the bears will come.

Above right: kids running and fooling ard the fire, they love the fire.

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