The Victorious

Last Saturday morning at my family reunion, I woke up with the sun–kind of the downside to camping, I can’t really sleep in. Since a lot of the family was still asleep, I took that time to go for a run by the river.

It was a warm, sunny morning and I enjoyed my 3.8 mile solo run without any music or anything. It was just me, my breathing and the sound of the Santiam River beside me.

Breakfast afterward was small–some bites of brisket, half a muffin and a hard boiled egg. Lunch was a few hours later–hot dogs, salad and fruit. My aunt also steamed clams my uncle caught the day before in the Puget Sound. There is nothing better than fresh seafood! It was salty from the seasonings and bacon and it was cooked in white wine with onions.

The annual–and epic–Scavenger Hunt began shortly after lunchtime. I can’t tell you how competitive this event is. There is a lot of smack talking and check out this trophy:

This year’s theme was “The Amazing Race.” Each team was racing to complete the obstacle course. One of the events involved eating this:

Quail eggs, green olives, escargot, sardines and something else I can’t remember now. My little cousin Kobe, who is 10 years old and fearless, volunteered (THANFULLY!).

Mmmm snails…. Kobe was a rockstar. Our team ended up winning! Which was really awesome and Michael and I got to take the trophy home.

After the Scavenger hunt ended, everyone headed down to the river to go swimming. It was a hot, hot day and I was looking forward to cooling off. My cousin Anna and I used to BUG THE HELL out of our older cousins to take us down to the river when we were kids (we had to have an escort). I love that swimming hole.

The walk down to the river is pretty short, probably half a mile from the farm. When we were kids, it felt like it was a lot longer. πŸ™‚ Early in the 80’s when this event started, we went a different route and it was a Β lot longer and we had to cut through some people’s farms. I remember having to crawl underneath barbed wire fences and avoid the electrical fences to get to the trail. Thankfully that’s not the case now.

The river felt fantastic. The kids all jumped off the rock into the deep end. I enjoyed the river, cooling off, for about 30 minutes and then headed back to the farm to get my potluck dishes ready.

There was so much food! Every potluck dish you can imagine was there. My game plan: take half a spoonful of everything I wanted to try and call it good. I got a taste of the things I wanted to try and while I definitely felt full afterward, I didn’t feel like I ate too much.

(Chicken, broccoli salad, spaghetti, pasta salad, cedar plank salmon, thai noodles, fruit salad and coleslaw.) Later, the dessert potluck came out. I got a tiny slice of raspberry pie, tiny slice of cake, a truffle, half aΒ snicker-doodleΒ and a brownie. I took a bite of the brownie and gave it to Michael.

Saturday evening’s campfire was huge and a few people brought out their acoustic guitars (my cousin Kristin brought herΒ ukulele) and we sang to old songs. On Sunday morning I awoke to pancakes. I had two small pancakes, a ton of fruit and a few pieces of elk sausage my cousin Adam made.

And lots and lots of coffee (taking off the edge of those rum and diet cokes Saturday night). The weekend was coming to a close and sadly, I had to say goodbye to everyone. Michael gleefully brought the trophy home and may or may not have it featured somewhere in our house. πŸ™‚

Here is the recipe for the potluck dish I made:

Quinoa Greek Salad

Category: alcohol, BBQ, breakfast, Breakfast, Camping, Dinner, Family, food, Food Memories, Food update, Friends, Grilling, Memories, Michael, Potluck, recipes, reunion, running, salads, Weekend Update



  • 2 cups chicken stock (I used half water and half vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup red peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup green peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup cucumbers, diced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup black olives
  • 1/4 cup red onions, diced
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil (I used fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (I used fresh)
  • pepper


  1. In a saucepan, bring stock to a boil.
  2. Stir in quinoa.
  3. Reduce heat to med low and cover.
  4. Cook 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl and cool.
  6. Stir veggies and cheese into cooled quinoa.
  7. Whisk together dressing ingredients.
  8. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss.

QUESTION: What are your favorite camping memories?

12 Responses

  1. Ewwww on the challenge with the olives and snails! I couldn’t do that.

    We camped a lot when I was a kid. I liked sitting around the fire at night roasting marshmallows. Always fun.
    Lori recently posted..August Goals

  2. When I went to Virginia for my Uncle’s memorial, I was always the first one up. Our bedroom at home has black curtains and we have no street lights – so our room is pitch black even at 10:00 a.m. in the morning!

    But the house was full and I slept on an air matress in the living room and I was awakened by the sun every morning. But it was perfect. I got to spend time in my Aunt’s big kitchen and make breakfast for everyone!

    Glad you had an awesome time – I’ve always wanted to visit that part of the country!
    Biz recently posted..100 Miles and Read a Book

  3. Nice recipe! We used to go camping all the time when I was a kid. I hated it. We had trailers on some land in east Texas and I hated the ticks. I’m a hiking nut now though. Before my daughter was born my husband and I went backpacking a lot. Nowadays we take an annual camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, which, in fact starts tomorrow. Neither my husband nor I really care for camping anymore but we do it for our daughter.
    Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana recently posted..Restaurant Recipes Exposed: Healthier and Tastier Versions of Your Favorite Meals

    1. I loved camping as a kid and a young adult. The older I get, the less I want to sleep on the ground. πŸ™‚ But I’m trying to do it at least a few times each summer. Does your daughter like it?

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