I think the 4th of July might be my favorite holiday – picnics, swimming, fireworks, and no presents to buy. It’s a summer highlight and I grew up celebrating it at one of my favorite places on earth – my Uncle Larry’s camp on Otisco Lake. To our family it’s just called “The Lake.” It was so nice to watch my kids enjoying the tradition as much as I did (and still do). We camped out on July 3rd with many of the other Hart’s (my dad’s siblings), but we are definitely not experienced campers. My dad does not appreciate the camping experience – so growing up we were always the odd family out and just made the drive back and forth each day to the lake. Thanks to my Aunt Sandy, we managed to pitch our tent and learn the importance of putting on the fly before dark.
At Otisco Lake, the fireworks take place on July 3rd and they are done privately – meaning each camp buys their own and needs a brave pyro-technician (or two) to set them off. In our family, those individuals are usually the ones with the highest blood alcohol level, but names will remain anonymous. In addition to the fireworks, Uncle Larry always builds a huge bonfire and has a band for the occasion.
The camping generally went okay, but Finnegan had a hard time falling sleeping without his nightly ritual of a warm cup of milk. The fireworks and band didn’t help either. It was 11:00PM before Finnegan and Declan went to sleep and the sun woke us up by 6:30AM.
We had a lot of fun the next day picking blackberries, hiking in the creek, swimming in the lake, and ‘ziplining.’ The ziplining resulted in a swollen lip for Finnegan, but he got back up there and did it again so there are no obvious lasting physical or emotional scars.
A blurry picture of a small subset of the first and second cousins.
The fun lasted until the lack of sleep caught up with Finnegan and he turned into a Gremlin. But it was well worth it and we’re looking forward to doing it again next year.