Black River Zombies.

I received a message from my friend about a month ago or so that said, “Good news…our camping spot in July has not burned in the wildfires. Bad news…I think we can only access it by helicopter drop.”

Fast forward a few weeks and bajillion awesome firefighters later, we had an extremely relaxing weekend in an amazingly beautiful spot along the Poudre River, sans helicopter.

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Scrambled eggs in your jammies outside? Pure heaven.

Post jammies, there was a slack line tempting and taunting those young-uns.

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Our smallest fry shimmied across that slack line like Tim Conway as The Old Man.

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For those of you who don’t know Tim Conway as The Old Man, that skit nearly made my dad pee his pants every time. And now you may thank me kindly for your daily dose of TMI.

Hammock time, break it down.

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Girlfriend knows how to kick it in the woods.

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Holden gets ready to be a slacker.

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Dude nails it, about five steps in a row before any bailing. Must be the five fingers.

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Me? Not so much. I used to bust out yoga moves on these things – now, I hug the tree closest to me for dear life.

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Ewan discovered that charred pieces of wood found floating in the river make excellent drawing apparati.

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He signed the rock, tagger style.

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Notice the sandy bank? It was black. Truly black. We were expecting charred landscape and soggy campfire smell (not much of the latter present, surprisingly), but we were entirely shocked at the black water. But more on that in a bit.

For now, there’s some monkey love.

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Complete with sneaky nose picking, thankfully diverted by learning a new skill: whittling sticks.

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(I have to preface these photos with this: Hank and I hemmed and hawed over letting the boys get in the black river, finally allowing it with a few precautionary rules…)

 It was the largest, most gloriously infinite mud pie factory. World, meet The Black River Zombies.

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They looked like they were wearing black silk gloves.

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(Not to worry about that there. It washed away in the water; it truly was mud that they dug up to smear on a big zombie rock.)

This little one just perched to watch the rafters and kayakers glide by.

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Before long, the lunchtime dinner gong rang and we went to shore.

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Lamb kabobs. Can you imagine?

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When Hank and I used to camp, it was only gorp and PB&J. My how times have changed.

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And my how our bellies rumbled and mouths watered just waiting…

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And waiting…

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And waiting.

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Oh it was worth it. :)

How cute are these kiddos?

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Someone might be a little enamored. Oh mercy.

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After checking with the ranger/camp host/person in charge, we learned that there were trailheads opened back up about 11 miles up the canyon, and off we went for a post-lunch hike. More information new to us? He cautioned us strongly about driving up the canyon, since the new barren spots + rain = mudslides that carry large boulders down the slopes, many times depositing said boulders right in the middle of the road. The effects of the fires continue to be astounding.

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And the places left untouched make it seem like it never happened.

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It was breathtakingly gorgeous, and the most perfect weather up there.

The next morning, I decided to take the world’s most terribly composed picture titled, “How To Make A Tree Impale Your Child”.

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More stick whittling. You know. To impress the lady.

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Or not. Oh I’m just kidding. I had just asked her to do her “turn and snap” look. :)

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My loves, as sleepy as they were.

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After a full day of breaking down camp, the short trip home, and unloading the truck, I still had enough verve to chase down the ice cream truck with a quick jog and my Mom Whistle.

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We had happy, yet sticky-grimy-smelly campers.

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Bliss indeed.