July 14, 2010

Today, I Am a Man. But Not in the Body Parts Way.

I was captured by the enemies and tortured relentlessly, but still, I didn't break down. They made me walk for miles in the heat. They tried to force me to sing and dance, but I stood my ground. I gritted my teeth and woke up at dawn and drank sour coffee and endured even more horrific horrors. In the end, though, it was I who came out triumphant.

I'm guessing people don't think of me as a Cub Scout mom. At least I hope not. Kayden begged to join Cub Scouts in Kindergarten when he received a flyer at school. On the flyer, Jeff Gordon and his racecar were surrounded by happy Cub Scouts. Despite my insisting that he would not, in fact, get to meet Jeff Gordon by signing up, he still begged. Four years later, he's still in it, advancing his way towards being an official Boy Scout.

(At this point, I had typed out a long diatribe about how I'm very much against the bigotry of the Boy Scout organization, but because I have never seen gay- or atheist-exclusion within Kayden's den/pack, I allow him to continue scouting. [On the contrary, we have had issues come up in regards to his "religion" requirements, but they were always handled most favorably, in this agnatheist's opinion.] But then I realized that I was getting extremely sidetracked, spending all this time typing out my reasoning, when really, I should just get on with the stupid pictures.)

Sunday afternoon, we packed the car and headed toward Peaceful Valley Ranch in Elbert County. I was fresh-faced and totally stoked.

Kayden was also very excited.

Upon our arrival, we discovered that we would be bunking up in one of the camp's army tents for the first night.

The tents were permanently affixed upon wooden slats (though the phrase "permanently affixed" is about as accurate as when I try to pronounce the big words). Our tent was missing many of its important ties and ropes (namely the ones that hold the walls down and keep the door-flaps closed), which we discovered after the first gust of wind blew my sleeping bag outside.

This would not have been a problem if the weather hadn't immediately turned gray and yucky.

I normally love this kind of weather. But after walking in it, standing in it, sitting in it during the world's longest Cub Scout meeting (which included singing and dancing, natch)...

...I was no longer on the "I love rain" bandwagon. If I didn't love this shirt so much, I would burn it for mocking me like this.

Finally(!), the ceremony ended and we slumped back to our tent, eager to get some sleep. But sleep did not come easily. All night, I switched between paranoid flashlight-shining, insomniatic reading, and fear-shivering at the bottom of my sleeping bag.

The next morning, I perked up at the mention of coffee. Coffee? They serve coffee? The day was looking up already. However...

Beware the sour coffee in sheep's clothing:

Clearly there was something menacing, something deceitful lurking in these woods. I would have to keep an eye open to further trickery.

After the morning flag ceremony (which included more songs, dances, and skits), we went on a fantastic nature hike, the first activity of the day. We even got to see poison ivy, which was more exciting to me than it should have been. Must have been the urine-laced coffee.

All Denver locals know that it takes about twenty minutes to get anywhere in town. Twenty minutes from the east-side to the west-side. Twenty minutes from one end of 16th Street Mall to the other. The Rule of 20 Minutes.

However, at this camp, apparently the rule is it takes a three-mile walk to get anywhere.

I'm no slouch when it comes to walking or hiking, especially in a new, unexplored area. However, by lunchtime, after walking to various scheduled activities, I was exhausted.

So was Kayden.

But not really. He just has the rubber-camera-face sometimes. Because he is a kid and kids are supernaturally energetic when it is not befitting to their parents, he was ready for more activities after lunch.

The next god-forsaken activity was the obstacle course located somewhere in Kansas, I'm sure. Despite the 90+ degree heat, the kids ran and climbed and wriggled and jumped and swung.

At this point, it was only about 1:00 on the second day. There are more pictures to see, but my phone died and refuses to give up the goods. So, this is now Part One of our trip. Check back tomorrow for more life-altering photos.

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