A Very Campy Adventure

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 23:48 — Carrie

This past weekend, I decided to go camping with a couple of my siblings. To that end, I booked a campsite at the campground my family has been going to since I was a toddler. I didn't get our usual site, since it was booked until the end of July (although I booked another weekend then, so we'll get that campsite eventually!)
We were set to leave on Saturday morning. It dawned bright, sunny and clear. After puttering around a bit, (i.e. buying groceries and fixing bikes) we began to pack up in earnest. This took much longer than previously hoped for. My dad had to make sure everything was just so... he's been camping much longer than us, and we were using all his stuff, on the first camping trip that he was not going to be accompanying us.
Anyway... around 3 o'clock or so we finally got on the road. Car loaded down with canoe and kayak on top, 3 bikes on the back, and the pop-up camper in tow.

We arrived at the campsite and proceeded to set up. We popped up the pop-up, and I got a lesson in lighting the camp stove and lantern. Then Dad had to leave for work. Realizing he had never shown us how to set up the camper canopy, he quickly explained. "The hooked pole goes through the hole in the camper, then the straight one goes into the hooked pole and the one with the long pointy end goes on top."
Off he went, and we pulled out the canopy.
"Um... where did the hooked pole go? Is this the long pointy end, or the short pointy end? Why are there 6 extra poles and where do they go?"
We did finally figure it out (with only one phone call, to ask for the location of something) and I was very proud of myself. ^_^

Once we got all set up, we decided to take our bikes out for a ride. It was great fun, riding up and down the hills we remembered so well. Up Hairpin Hill, around Wipeout Corner and down Wipeout Hill. Then we circled around past our usual campsite, around the field, and up The Really Big Hill... the one we all dreaded biking up as little kids. I was never able to get up, and always had to push my bike most of the way. I made it up, this time. Laughing out loud

Afterwards, we headed back to our site and I fired up the camp stove for Spaghetti-In-The-Rain. (Complete with garlic toast) My mom showed up for dinner, and afterwards we sat around the campfire toasting marshmallows. I made one that turned out rather perfect. I took a picture. Tongue After supper, Mom went home with the dog and Caleb and Emily and I played a few rounds of Taboo before heading to bed.

Sunday found us getting up early to go to church. That afternoon we left to go back to the site. On the way, it began to rain, and by the time we got there it was pouring so hard we could barely see the road in front of us. I kept thinking about all the things we'd left outside... like our wood and our paper for starting a fire. Once back at the campsite, we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get everything brought inside.
After it was all in the canopy I made some popcorn and we lit the lantern in the camper and played a few games. By early afternoon the rain had stopped and we went down to the lake. Emily went in for a swim, and Caleb and I took the canoe out for a bit. When we returned to the campsite, we attempted to light the camp stove to boil water for dinner. Somehow, however, the stove decided it did not want to light. I tried for a while, doing everything I could think of, and still no flame. No problem. There was a nearby grill that offered a place to light a fire and a grate to place the pot. Unfortunately, all our wood and paper was still wet from the earlier rainstorm.
Undeterred, we chopped the wood to the core, to get to the dry part, and raided my car for old church bulletins to burn. After much trial and error, the fire was blazing, and soon the water was boiling.
Mom came over again, with Josh, this time, and we had dinner and roasted marshmallows. Bed time found us once again, and Sunday drew to a close, thus.

Monday morning, our last day, dawned beautiful and sunny and warm. Caleb and I got up early for a canoe ride. The mist was still on the lake and the sunbeams were streaming beautifully through the trees. We began paddling out to Blueberry island, and pulled up to the bank. Upon getting out, we realized that the island was completely flooded, so back into the canoe we got, and paddled around the island to the lily pad river beyond. Rowing through lily pads is a lot harder than rowing through open water. Around a bend, we came to the bridge. The river flows under the highway, and there is a tunnel under it that you can go through. It's really low. We had to bend over nearly double to get under. And it's really long, since it takes you under the tollbooth part of the highway.... aka, about 10 lanes of traffic. And there are spider webs, dripping water, and lots of other bugs, under there. It was an adventure. Laughing out loud
Another tunnel came almost immediately after, but it was only under 2 lanes of traffic, so not nearly as long. On the other side, we came to a dam, that dropped about 3 feet. I decided it would be fun to find a way to get over it. Caleb thought it was a bad idea.
My first suggestion was to lower the canoe over the cement on the side on the dam. That wouldn't work, so I considered trying to let the canoe slowly over the waterfall itself. Obviously a bad idea. Tongue My next suggestion, which was to bring the canoe around and through the woods, although met with much trepidation, was a successful one.
This accomplished, we continued paddling through to the end, where the lake ended in a stagnant, swamp-like pond. This sounds perhaps not so nice, but it was actually quite beautiful, with the lily pads and trees all around. We saw a couple Blue Herons, a turtle, and several fish. After this, we turned around and paddled back to the beach.

Upon returning to the campsite, we proceeded to make breakfast. The campstove would still not light, and while waiting for a call from tech support (my dad) we light a fire under the grill to cook the bacon. We forgot, however, that bacon makes lots of grease. Grease burns. Hot. Big. Much fire. It was rather entertaining. If you have not already seen the pictures on FB, you should. Tongue
We got the camp stove working in time to make the pancakes, and we had a delicious breakfast. Then, we cleaned up, and made some sandwiches to pack.
We hiked up to a couple spots we remembered from years gone by. The Scenic Vista, and Carpenters rock being the main objectives. Ate lunch, took a short nap (I did, anyway) and then headed back down.
There was still time before I had to head home for something that afternoon, so we went to the lake to go swimming. It was nice Laughing out loud

That evening, after I got back, we cooked hotdogs over the fire and Caleb and I played several rounds of San Juan. Bedtime came early. Laughing out loud :D

Our last morning dawned beautifully, and I packed up my stuff before I left for work. Had quite an adventure getting out. Backed my car up onto a log, then jacked it up to roll the log out. Once the log was out, we let the jack down, only to get it stuck under the car. We propped some wood under the car to get the jack out. That worked, but now we had wood stuck under my car. We tried tying a winch around the wood and a nearby tree to pull it out, but no good. Finally, I just drove my car back and forth a bit, and the wood worked itself free. I was off. The end.

It was a lovely camping trip, full of much nostalgia. We're going again in the end of July. Laughing out loud




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