My oldest son and I went to the annual "Fathers and Sons" campout last Friday. Since I had to stay to work until later that evening, we didn't get on the road to get up there until 7:15 pm. Luckily, the season being what it is, the sun was still up by the time we got to the campsite at Castaic Lake and put up our tent. We didn't take my younger son since he's still potty-training and we didn't want to mess with that routine.
When we first showed up, I was a little apprehensive. Last year, my family and I went camping up to Lake Piru, just a little further to the west, and it was desolate and hot and miserable and we'll probably never go back. When we showed up at the Castaic Lake campsite, I had similar reservations. Happily, we were in a group camping site which was 7 acres (!) of cleared area with a few trees, fire pits, covered picnic tables, and flush toilets. All-in-all, it was a pretty good place to camp. The temperatures were not the miserable ones that we had last year, either.
My son helped me put the tent up, then pretty much took off to play with the other boys. We had about 50 men and boys there, and the boys played "capture the flag" nearly the entire time. With so much space to run around, they went crazy. Of course, we also had a campfire, s'mores, and a little program about the Aaronic Priesthood as presented by our Ward Mission Leader. My son wouldn't sit still for the life of him. I think he consumed about 20 marshmallows, burned twice that in the fire, and ate two or three candy bars worth of chocolate. Since I let him run around 'til about 11:30 pm, he was in heaven.
As for me, it should have been a relaxing time. I was able to sit back, not worry about my son, and just visit with people. Had it not been for the fact that everybody there knew where I had been the previous week and wanted to know all about the landing of Phoenix on Mars, I might've been able to forget about work altogether and just be mesmerized by the flames of the fire. Nevertheless, it was good just to socialize for a change. It was really great to totally go glassy-eyed while some people droned on about golf, how to set up corporations to avoid legal liabilities, and about local high school football (these topics are not my thing ...).
The next morning, we had a great breakfast -- scrambled eggs (with various garnishings) in tortillas, pancakes, and orange juice. I ate way too much, but it was sure good. My son ate only a few pancakes and then started running around with the other boys again. While a bunch of other people started a game of frisbee golf, I rekindled the fire. The boys went dumpster-diving for anything that would burn, and we built a beautiful bonfire. One boy found a long box that used to contain a camp chair. I centered it in the fire and it was soon a six-foot tower of raging flames. It was awesome!
It was a great campout. My only regret? I forgot to take my telescope with me ...