The last weekend of April was spent at Whiskeytown Lake, celebrating James' 30th birthday at "Camp Idontwannagrowup" which was a figment of James' imagination-turned adult summer camp.
There were more than 30 of us, including friends from childhood to adulthood, as well as family, including his parents, aunt and uncle, brother and sister-in-law, and ten-week-old nephew, Lachlan. Can you imagine camping with an infant? It wasn't even baby's first camping trip!
Me, James, Gio, and Brittany
We can thank these two for giving us James!
Throughout the weekend, activities vacillated between relaxed moments appreciating nature and each other's company to manic highs of frenzied competition and adventure. Let's start with the (relatively) calm moments.
Brittany, Gio, and me
We legitimately almost capsized.
Grub time in 'Murica
One of my favorite activities was acroyoga. It was bizarrely intimate, crawling on top of or flying on the feet of someone you'd just met that weekend, but we had a fantastic time.
Look, ma, I can fly!
Brittany spreading her wings
Another activity I did that morning was finger painting a portrait of James. There were some wildly different interpretations!
The love of her life as a green monster
One of the gimmicks of the weekend was that whenever Martino started shouting, "Whatta we wanna do?" everyone had to run to him and chant, "Never grow up!" The last two to the huddle were forced to dance off, James choosing the winner.
On one such occasion, James' parents had to face off, and it was probably the best set of the weekend (spoiler alert: his dad won the competition!).
After lunch on Saturday, in a small window in our activities schedule, a few crazy peeps decided to jump in the frigid water (it's literally snow recently melted off of Mt. Shasta).
Saturday afternoon was the real meat of the weekend. Martino and Caroline had planned a variety of teamed activities, including creating a miniature golf course, a water balloon toss, tug-o-war, sack races, dizzy bat, and capture the flag. I'd never played capture the flag before and absolutely loved it! My most satisfying moment was catching James by surprise and him wiping out as I tagged him.
It's a miracle Brittany didn't face plant
James claimed that out of the whole weekend, he was most excited to make a watermelon explode due to the slow pressure applied by hundreds of rubber bands. We each had to stretch at least five around the juicy beast upon arrival at camp, and tired of waiting, a few guys sat down around the melon, determined to see some action. Check out the look of sheer joy on James' face in the below photo, which manages to capture the exact moment of explosion:
Want to see this process in action? Check out these Russian guys on YouTube do it (I promise it won't disappoint-I can't stop watching on repeat).
That night, as the final shebang, we had a classic camping talent show, where people got up at will and presented some kind of entertainment or talent. A few highlights were James' magic tricks, his parents' string riddle, and a choreographed group dance that one third of the group had put together that morning, to the Ghostbusters theme.
At a certain point in the show, I dragged my chair in front of the crowd and told a ghost story about Whiskeytown and how it had gotten its name from a man who drank too much whiskey in the mines and died on his thirtieth birthday, only to return on every man's thirtieth birthday to judge whether he had the valor to live or die. I really milked the story, talking about how the spirit could take many forms, from the tiniest drop of rain to a monstrous grizzly bear to a quiet deer walking through the forest. Right at that moment, and as if on cue, one of the girls jumped up and yelled, "Oh my God! A deer!" which legitimately scared the crap out of me because I wasn't aware I could conjure deer our of thin air. Later on, Brittany and I agreed the deer kind of undermined the real punchline of the story, when Brittany came out in a gorilla costume as the spirit, surveyed James, and ultimately decided he deserved to live!
The spirit of Whiskeytown
(By the way, Brittany and I completely made up the story. No need to fear Whiskeytown, it's lovely).