Hello, Muddah. Hello, Faddah.

Eleanor and I went to Girl Scout Camp this week.  Here’s something you may not know about me: I love Girl Scouting.  Here’s something else you may not know: you don’t have to be a Girl Scout to go to camp.  One more thing: many councils will host parent-child camp sessions, and they are very reasonably priced.

When I heard that there would be a three-day mother-daughter camp in June, I signed me and Eleanor right up.  And we had a blast!  We slept in a platform tent!

We had our trail mix stolen by a chipmunk!  We saw a deer! I forgot to bring clean socks for myself and had to wear the same pair three days in a row!

Can you see the deer that Eleanor is watching?

My fingernails turned black with dirt and I could not ever scrub them clean.  There was fire building (with pretend fire) and knife safety (with pretend knives) and knot tying (with real rope).  We ate in the mess hall and hiked together and sang silly songs in the amphitheater (Eleanor and I even sang The Spam Chant for Skit Night) . . .

The woman sitting just behind Eleanor wore a windbreaker covered with vintage Girl Scout badges from the 80s. It rocked!

. . . and some girls in our camping area formed a secret society that met in Tent #3.  They called it a “Three Meeting” and involved lots of giggling and the consumption of Twinkies.

BUT . . . the best thing of all?  HORSES.

I would say that 90% of the girls at camp were there for the horses and horses only.  All that time playing games and balancing on the ropes course?  Mere obstacles to getting into the saddle.

It’s a tough 1/2-mile hike up the mountain to get to the stables.  Since the camp is at the top of the South Fork of Provo Canyon, Eleanor and I were breathless, and she complained all the way up.

See how high up this is? You’d be breathless too, right?

But then she got to meet Pep.

And it wasn’t a pony ride we did, either.  Eleanor got to give Pep simple commands to go forward, stop, and turn from side to side.  Pep liked to stop and eat grass on the side of the road, and Eleanor was able to get him back on the road all by herself.

Pep is now Eleanor’s favorite animal, ever.  She talked about Pep alllll the way back down the mountain.

I rode a very old horse named Duke.  He’s a tri-colored beauty.

Here’s the view on the trail.  I’m really going to miss the Wasatch mountains.

The next day we played games with this gigantic parachute . . .

. . . and we had a carnival.  There were balloon animals, cotton candy, and games, but the most intriguing activity was “horse painting.”

Hilarious, no?  I can’t wait to do this again with Eleanor next year in Seattle.

Letters From Camp

Did I mention that Eleanor is a Daisy Girl Scout?

Well, kind of.  She’s troopless.  I’ve tried for the past many, many months to start a troop, but I can’t find anybody to run it with me (you need two leaders to have a troop).  Most of my good friends live too far away to make it practical, and those who live close by don’t have daughters Ellie’s age.  So, she’s a “Juliette,” which is a class of rogue Girl Scout.

But she still gets to go to camp!  Which is what she did with her grandma this past weekend.  It was a one-night minicamp for kids with an adult.  Very fun stuff.

They slept in the Trefoil Lodge, up Provo Canyon.  Eleanor turned herself into a Sleeping Bag Monster . . .

. . . and got piggy-back rides from lots of new friends.  The camp had a “cowgirl round-up theme, in case you’re wondering about the hats.

On the first day, the campers went hiking and found a nest of baby garter snakes.  They cooked “brown bears” over a campfire (cinnamon-sugar-dipped biscuit dough toasted on a stick), sang silly camp songs, and looked at the stars with a local astronomer and her telescope.

The next morning they learned some country dance steps.  I think Eleanor and her grandma performed particularly well:

And if that wasn’t exhausting-sounding enough, the girls then spent the rest of the day doing arts and crafts: dipping candles, painting picture frames, and tie-dyeing shirts.  Eleanor’s candle is pleasingly funky:

And did I mention MORE brown bears before lunch?  Taaaaasty.  Kathryn was so impressed with the camp that she’s already asking to take Eleanor on the next one in January (they get to go snowshoeing!).  If I didn’t have a little nursing one at home, I’d take Ellie myself.  Thank goodness for grandmas who can stand in for me when duty calls!