After my short-lived stint as a hunter's accomplice, I came back, packed up the girls, and we headed up the mountain to stay the rest of the week.
We always love camping, but this particular trip gave me some good opportunities to focus on the Little Things. Hunting camp is not fancy. There are no camp fires. There is no "camp-gourmet" food. There's not even a bathroom, just a little "potty seat" set over a hole back up behind the tent. In this case, because we got up there late in the weekend, our campsite didn't even have a tree. There are a lot of "nots" when it comes to hunting camp.
But it didn't matter at all - there was so much to enjoy.
It never fails to please me to watch my little girls jump out of the van as soon as it stops and tromp off into the brush to see what awaits them. I can almost guarantee both will have a large stick and a fistful of flowers within ten minutes of wherever we arrive. And that always makes me smile.
We are, of course, still "in school" when we're camping now.... which is kind of a joke. Have you ever tried getting a seven year old to focus on addition facts when she's surrounded by buzzing bees and pretty purple flowers? Right. But we did get in plenty of Nature Study, so it wasn't a total loss.
While Daddy was hunting most of the time, he did manage to squeeze in a few moments of quality time...
There are lots of things I didn't get pictures of - like picking wild huckleberries and choke cherries, seeing our first ermine, and discovering leeches in the creek we were wading in. Nope, not kidding. Ew. But none of them attached themselves to us, and once we found them, we quickly took our leave. Chloe would've kept playing - after all, Laura survived the leeches without much trouble in On The Banks of Plum Creek, so she wasn't too concerned. But I insisted. Because, well, ew.
And, since we're talking about Little Things, I should point out that this hunting trip wasn't a total loss...
It's also dove season. And he shot one. And one dove breast equals about one bite each for a family of four. But ya know what? It was really, really good. We sauteed it in a bit of oil over the camp stove, and it was so tender and had a pretty good flavor. Too bad it'd take sixteen of them to make one meal!
So, while we don't have an elk in the freezer (yet), we still enjoyed our time up on the mountain. He's still got another week to try again, when he gets back from North Dakota two weeks from now. If it's not too cold, we'll go up again, because we feel terrible leaving our Daddy up on the mountain all alone, and feel we should keep him company.