Memorial Day Weekend, 2007: ROUTT NATIONAL FOREST For my sister's 30th birthday celebration, we drove up (elev. almost 10,000 feet) to the Flattops in Routt National Forest for a camping trip on Chatman Reservoir.

Friends of my sister - Yvonne, husband Corey and son Logan - came with us!

Of course the doggies came with us, too! Shannon's dog is the same age as Winni.

That's my sis Shannon and husband Greg - both with Violet their dog! And that's me and Winni! Violet and Winni have become fast friends. They did everything from swim, eat, play, look cute, and - most importantly - SLEEP together!

We humans happily put up with no showers or running water for three days. Just steaks and burgers on the grill, warm coffee in the mornings, hikes down to the water, quiet canoe rides on the reservoir, dogs chasing small mountain rodents, and long talks over the fire! It's all about simplifying. We kept stopping to appreciate the moment, take a swing in the hammock, or give a hug!

And Greg kept us amused and FED...dancing, climbing, and fishing (fresh...YUM!)!

Camping is so good for the soul. Reminds me of the dirt and grime we all encounter along the way. Life without it is just too sterile. And nothing beats the sense of accomplishment you feel after building the perfect fire...or setting up a sturdy tarp to cover yourselves in the rain and play a good game of Yatzee under...or watching your two puppies chase after your canoe until the water gets too deep and they have to take a leap of faith forward for their first swim together. Awesome moments. It's all so simple.