Volunteering at Camp Whittle

We decided to do good for others. A friend asked if we would like to volunteer for a weekend in Big Bear. We clean up the camp ground in exchange for a cabin and meals. “Sounds like fun”, I said. So, we did it. Off we went on our journey to the top of the world, or so it felt like. The trip was two and a half hours, but this time we got see lots of cool stuff. There were Joshua trees, and mountains all around.

When we got to the bottom of the mountain, and started our uphill drive is when the real sight seeing began. There were tall trees and beautiful landscapes, there were scary cliffs and little creeks. We saw lots of birds soaring above, as if they were showing us where to look for the next amazing sight. When we arrived at the top of the snow capped mountains, there it was, a gorgeous lake surrounded by huge trees, with ducks swimming, people fishing and more birds soaring. The cabins surrounding the lake were stunning.

We drove around the North Shore side of the lake on a dirt road up the mountain to The Rim Of The World… there waiting with all of its beauty was Camp Whittle in Fawnskin, Big Bear. Surrounded by nothing but huge pine trees, it was quite the sight. We checked in and unloaded our stuff in a cabin with nothing but bunk beds. The bathroom was a community bath house with 5 showers and 5 toilet stalls. There were giant Red Ants and spiders and bugs everywhere. Not the place to be if you are afraid of bugs. After we dropped off our stuff, we went into town, Big Bear City, and ate dinner. It’s a small town and not much is open after 8 pm. But we managed to find a Denny’s.

Back to the cabin we drove, in the pitch black darkness, it was kind of scary but cool at the same time.
The kids were too excited to sleep, and the adults were too, but we finally managed to sleep and wake up early in the morning for breakfast. Wow!! Breakfast was great! The served all kinds of good food, juice, coffee and lots of water.

We got our assignments and went off to rake up pine needles from around the cabins. Whew, that was hard work!! Mia was tired after the first hour, but managed to help as much as she could. We stopped for lunch which was great and went back to work. After about an hour we started noticing the blisters on our hands and fingers. We were getting tired and sore from raking and raking and piling those pine needles. We kept motivated by saying, “Hard work pays off”. And it did! We took a break around 3 pm and our guide took us over to the petting zoo so our hard working kids could feed the animals. There were donkeys, a sheep, goats and llamas. The girls had fun feeding the animals until one of the goast decided to ram Mia and knock her down, then he started ramming everyone else. It wasn’t a very nice goat. But the others were sweet and had no anger issues.

Back to the cabins to finish up for the day we went after the feeding. By that time, all of the girls were burnt out on raking pine needles and went to play on the rocks while my friend and I finished. Finally it was time for dinner and to stop for the day. We were beat! Sore, tired and filthy. Our feet and hands hurt so bad it was hard to eat. We managed to eat then went to shower. Ahhhh, did that feel good!!! After a little rest, we decided to go see the sunset at the lake. It was cold and windy but beautiful, none the less. It was peaceful and gorgeous. We decided to head back and start a campfire in our designated pit. It was great! Two women, and their girls, roasting marshmallows for smores. Boy were they good smores.

After we finished our smores, we headed back to our cabin for a little chat time and rest. We layed in our bunks, and talked about the day. When we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer, it was time for bed. The older girls had a hard time sleeping but Mia was asleep as soon as lights went out. I was restless but managed to fall asleep after a few toss and turns. Then, we heard the crunching and scratching…the girls looked out the window and there he was, a bear!!! Not too big, but not small either. Right outside out cabin he walked by. In the morning we saw the paw tracks, but thankfully the bear was gone. I’m pretty sure he smelled the strawberries I had thrown out because they went bad. They sure did smell good though.

Off to breakfast we went, then back to the cabin to pack up and head home. Sore, tired and greatful for a wonderful experience, we left happy and feeling good about doing a good deed for others. How fun would it be to stay at camp Whittle for the week and enjoy the outdoors? I know the campers will have a great time and enjoy the cleaned up camp grounds. We will be goimg back next year to help out again.

campfire

driving through clouds

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good morning

llama

mia feeding animals

mia riding a broomstick

Zoe working hard

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endangered species

Zoe - Des