This is my handsome nephew, Nathan, when he was a mere 18 years old. He’s 19 now…I’m old…
I like how he’s looking off into the distance, all mysterious. (More than likely, someone beside me was talking to him and I thought I’d take a candid shot.)
Nathan’s birthday is actually in the beginning of May. I’ve mentioned before how he has a birthday camping trip every year. This year he decided to postpone the trip so there would be warmer weather. And we lucked out, it was (mostly) beautiful. Lucky for me, I finally had the time to join them on this trip.
Most of the posse left very early (I’m talking pre-sunrise) the last Friday in June. A few of the boys had to work on Friday and my mother-in-law was leaving our house Friday (but not that early) so I said I’d wait for them so we could all drive together. So by the time we got up there it was almost 9 o’clock and the sun was on it’s way down. They were already setting up their huge bonfire; the guys that had gone up earlier had spent the morning helping Donnie and Liz clear some of the land. By the time we had unloaded and set up Griffin’s tent, this is what I found when I went up the hill:
The sparks from the fire were reaching so far up into the sky it reminded me of the scene in The Right Stuff when John Glenn is orbiting the earth and “sees” the aboriginal fire. Magical!
The next morning, after a yummy waffle and bacon breakfast, we headed out to the Platte River so they could do some kayaking. Gina and I decided to relax at the beach where the Platte empties into Lake Michigan so we could have some quality sister time.
My sister’s best friend couldn’t make the trip due to a previous engagement, but her daughters and husband were there so my niece was having a blast visiting with her best friends. Sam and the three girls decided to go tubing down the river. At first the youngest, Julia, thought she’d rather stay on land with us. But as soon as she saw everyone else getting into the water she quickly changed her mind. In fact, she was ready to take off without them!
If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember this picture.
If you remember the picture, you may have guessed that the quality sister time lazing on the beach didn’t happen. Those are flies. There were tons and tons of biting black flies. We tried numerous places along the river and beach and they were terrible everywhere! We ended up in my car with the air running because we couldn’t put the windows down with the deluge of flies. Since we weren’t at the end of the river as everyone would be expecting, we had to watch the river and run down to the shore once we saw the first kayakers in our group so they’d know where we were. We had the cooler full of food after all!
This picture makes me laugh because I was trying to get a cheesy picture of the guys that finished first with their paddles in the sand and a hand on the hip…kind of a Captain Morgan thing without the knee up. The flies were biting so bad they couldn’t all stand still at the same time. Luckily, they said they had no problem with the flies until the last bend in the river and they thoroughly enjoyed their trip.
Once everyone else started paddling in and we had a quick (very quick because of the flies, although the wind started picking up which kept them at bay a bit) bite to eat the boys wanted to play volleyball. They usually do that on the beach at the end of the river, but the flies made that impossible. We decided to go to Frankfort and enjoy the beach there. Added bonus, they already have nets up there so we didn’t have to put ours up.
As you can see, it was already getting late by this time. They played a few games and we headed back. The mosquitos were out in force and we were almost out of bug spray so I ran into town with a few of the boys while the others got some hot dogs and hamburgers going. After eating, it was an early night for most.
As I mentioned earlier, the weather was mostly beautiful. Around 4am it started raining. It sprinkled on and off all morning and started pouring closer to 10am. Griffin had slept in the house due to his sunburn and Anthony, who had been sharing his tent, grabbed his stuff out to go into another tent and forget to zip it back up. So we had a pretty wet tent and sleeping bag. Griffin decided not to take it down due to the mud and the fact that it was covered in earwigs (ugh!). Liz has a huge pole barn so we just put his tent in there to dry off since I’ll be back in August for some camping.
We had a great time and I can’t wait until my family reunion in August. Although, I’ll be tent camping for that trip since, in the grand scheme of things, I’m considered a “kid” in my family. Woot!
Have you ever been kayaking? I think I’ll be trying it out during my family reunion in August. It looked like fun!