On Thursday, my daughter Grace, with cousins Michele and James Dale, and Vincent (who traveled up from the Burnsville, NC Antinoris) headed off to Camp Aunt Betsy for the week. My sister-in-law, Betsy, goes above and beyond to make it a fun and memorable week. She and her family are very gracious to open their home and extend their time to the kids. It is always an entertaining and interesting trip filled with lots of laughs with many stories to tell. We appreciate that Betsy, when she has a down moment(?), sends back emails of the day’s adventures. Here is her letter that went out to the kids:
In a cavern, in a canyon
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner, forty-niner
And his daughter, Clementine
Oh my darlings, this year at CAB we celebrate the Wild West (emphasis on WILD)!!!!
We’ll head up into the Sierras, California’s gold country, home of the Mother Lode, and try our hands panning for gold. People still do it, for real. We’ll be in old towns like Murphys (named for wild Irish brothers John and Daniel, who took more than $2 million in gold out of the diggings in one year’s time) and Angels Camp. We’ll walk in the footsteps of the forty-niners, as well as U.S. Grant, Mark Twain, and Black Bart (robbed 28 Wells Fargo stagecoaches!). Speaking of which, there’s a 44 pound gold nugget on view, which might just inspire a CAB heist (How big is 44 pounds of gold? Figure that out). It’s the largest single piece of gold mined in North America.
There’ll be some spelunking (look it up) at Moaning Cavern, featuring a pile of skulls at the bottom, remnants of more than 100 people who met their maker there over the centuries. We will not be joining them, because we have a date with a zip line. It’s 1500 feet long and gets you moving at about 40 miles per hour. Wild. Campers’ parents will sign waivers for that activity. Afterwards, we’ll get mellow among the giant sequoias in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Some we’ll stroll through (yes, through) and some we’ll stand on. They are 2000-3000 years old . We might throw ourselves into the Stanislaus River and see just how cold the snow melt is. Otherwise we can cool off in the pool at the Murphys Suites Inn. Free espresso drinks and Oreos in the lobby! That’s fancy. There is a movie theater in nearby Angels Camp so maybe we’ll see a flick. Who can be trusted with the Duds?
On the way to gold country, we pass Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Wanna stop off? Those rollercoasters look pretty wild to me. No barfing (you know who you are) (Grace). Another option is WaterWorld, a water slide park near Johnny’s house. Maybe he can join us? Let’s vote.
Of course, base camp in Bodega will feature all the usual fun: swimming, crafting, cooking, hiking, tide pooling, general merry making. Plums may be ripe! Can we please make money bread? Our canine counselors are psyched as always, and Juneau “Wild Thing” Mundell in particular feels this year’s theme is one he can really embrace. Ressa is up for eating and snuggling, much like Aunt Betsy. Counselor cousin Paul has made some noise about airsoft guns. Hmmm. There are always super soakers in the pool. That you can count on.
It’ll be wild good fun. Stay strong and healthy till you get here. I’ll be in the terminal in San Fran on the 19th, raring to go!!! Hurry on out, pardner.