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Watching the Camps Burn

At our house we’re feeling both grateful and a little … what’s the word for that feeling when a giant safe falls out of a window and lands on the sidewalk in the spot you were just standing? We’ve been watching and waiting for news of how our beloved Girl Scout camp properties are faring in the CZU Lightning Complex, one of many fires raging in California right now. Then today I saw this posted on a Facebook group:

That’s a yay/boo situation. “Yay!” our dear ranger’s house is safe! (And we already knew that he and family were safely evacuated.) But “boo!” at least one of the circles of tent cabins and accompanying “biffy” (camp for bathroom) is gone.

These are tents and bathrooms that girls have helped paint and even build at camp work parties. Structures they were assigned to sweep out as “kapers” at the end of weekend encampments.

Adding to the level of intimacy for my family, Epu and the kids had just visited Skylark Ranch during one of the newly-offered “family days.” In fact the unit they claimed as their personal family lunch spot was the one that was just confirmed to be burned.

That’s what’s giving me that eerie feeling. We were just there. Two weeks after that, we visited Butano Creek, another camp nearby, for the first time, also for family day. We met the ranger for the first time, and now he’s evacuated as well.

I didn’t go along to family day, because our puppy is too small to be left alone for so many hours. Epu went, because our younger daughter in particular was anxious to show her father the camp, her “special place,” because the rest of us have all been there. Even her 11-year-old brother tagged along to the last camp work party, where we cut hillocks of brush from an overgrown trail and painted trash cans.

Now, without knowing if any of the camp as we know it will survive, I’m so, so grateful she got to share the place with her dad. And I’m hoping for to the opportunity for a lot more work parties in the future to pick up the pieces.