Field Report: Our Feather River Camping Trip 2009

We just got back from 8 days of Northern California bliss with some of the most fun and fantastic Bay Area folks who all had the same vacation idea: Feather River Camp!

Each year, I meet up with the self titled “Stumpers”. We converge on the camp’s Folk Dance Week theme, and are notorious for our daily all-inclusive Happy Hour, around a big old stump that doubles as a lounge table. Evan and Willa, our resident bards, came up with a theme song some years back (“Here at Feather River!”) that celebrates the camp, our group, and the City of Oakland — and each year they add a new, clever verse that summarizes the peculiarities of each session.

I have to admit, Folk Dance Week at Feather River took this Oakland girl some getting used to years ago, but once I realized all the dances were some form or another of the “Electric Slide” and when they added the “Cupid Shuffle” to the mix in 2007, I was hooked!

For the novice camper, this is your kind of place. You don’t have to bring a tent because you can choose from a sturdy canvas covered tent like this:

–or a wooden cabin with electricity!

I attempted to pen down some highlights while I was at camp, but whenever I tried to sit down and write, I was either whisked away for the next dance or was too zoned out in a wilderness induced stupor. But there are some moments I’ll never forget:
— Playing Disco B-I-N-G-O with my youngest. In our camp’s version, each time your number is called, you have to get up and do a 70’s jig, like “The Hustle” or “The Bump“!
Look at mama work it!

–Meeting new families; learning and laughing about how much we had in common with one another

— The whole dining hall singling Happy Birthday to my little guy and how proud he looked to be turning 6
— Watching my kids play with friends old and new in the freedom and dirt of the outdoors

— Tubing with my 7 year-old daughter down a gentle river, surrounded by austere forests on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon

— Having a late night heart-to-heart chat with my 12-year old by lamplight — and he was actually listening!
It has taken me a few days to get on track with the Bay Area schedule, but I am still basking in the rewards of our time away that was a gift that keeps promoting peace, connectedness, and love for my family and community through nature.

Photos Courtesy of Jon Borchardt
…who also makes terrific Margaritas!

Vacation!

So I am headed out to the beautiful Feather River Camp tomorrow with the kidlets, who have been asking “are we there yet?” since January. But I expect my facebook and blogging withdrawals to arrive Tuesday, when I’ll fight the urge to drive to the Quincy town library for a quick email/facebook/twitter/blogger peek, via the only internet connection in the county.

Photo By Wharman

Instead I’ll revive a time in my life that existed before I got hooked to the social media I.V., and immerse myself in friends and family. I vow to remain unplugged from digital idols and limit my activities to swimming, eating, hiking, and socializing with people in “real” life!
Nevertheless, I can’t wait to share all the juicy details and photos with you from the trip when I get back!
Till then…

Feather River Camping

Some people feel that the hard work of camping doesn’t translate into a real vacation, especially if you have young children. I want to point families to Oakland’s Feather River Family Camp, which has been around for about 80 years. The camp is situated in the Plumas National Forest located 5 hours away by car, north of the bay, and outside the darling town of Quincy.
Yes, tarp sleeping and outdoor food preparation can be tough, especially for parents. And while I want people to get outdoors, they need not be martyrs for it. Feather River Family Camp does all the hard work for you. There are platform tents with cots (so no pitching!), or cabins with electricity, and a dining room that produces hot, delicious, all-you-can eat food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Each morning, small children can go to the “Tot-Lot” for childcare until lunch while older kids can do hikes or crafts.
There are theme weeks throughout the summer season and this year, they have added an African Dance theme week with dance instruction each day and night. In addition, there are regularly scheduled outings off site, or you can stay and cool off in the swimming hole. What I like most are the relationships my family developeds with other families as we all return year after year. We have already signed up for Folk Dance Week and will overlap with the African Dance week for a couple days. Registration is per day and is less expensive for more then 5 days or Oakland residents. Overall, it’s a terrific value and a lot of fun. Hope to see you this summer!