Thursday, September 10, 2015

End of Summer Camping

We tried to organize a short camping trip before school started. But as it got closer to our planned weekend, we watched the thermometer rise and our hopes sink. Roughing it doesn't scare us, but sleeping in a tent in 104 degree weather does.

So we waited and watched and waited some more until we felt like the time was right. Covering our bases at work is difficult and we can mostly only squeeze in one night and one full day away from our responsibilities. Never mind the shortness of the trip, its always just enough for fun and a little bit of soul cleansing.

A 45 minute drive lead us deeper into the mountains to a tiny lake and spectacular campground. 1950's style summer camp type campground. No cabins, but plenty of primitive sites. Lots of loops full of different entertainment scattered around the lake. Each loop has a bathhouse, but only one loop has the playground and horseshoe pit. Another has the pavilion and ping pong tables. Somewhere there was a volleyball net but I never saw it. You can borrow horseshoes, basketballs, and ping pong gear from the camp hosts. One less thing to drag along. I discovered I'm not too bad at horseshoes. Never having the privilege of playing it before I really didn't know how well I would fare throwing heavy metal objects long distances.

The spots along the lake edge were all taken as we pulled in on a dreary Saturday afternoon. It takes two vehicles to get us, the dog, and all our gear where we are going. We slowly drove the loops, looking for just the right spot. When it appeared, elation filled our hearts and we knew it was perfect. Perched high on a bank, overlooking one of the creeks that fed the lake. Flat and connected to another site next to it where our friend would be able to pitch her tent. Plenty of room for the kids to run around and private enough the dog could to. A huge site, with cool clean clear water gurgling below it. It was ours. It was waiting for us. When we later hiked a quarter mile upstream and came across the most serene swimming hole, it solidified my thoughts that fate saved us a camping spot.

The kids wore themselves out, exhausted in their tents the whispering didn't last long. Falling asleep by the light of a supermoon must be the best kind of nightlight one could have in the dark of the woods. The oldest of our tribe and his best friend cocooned themselves together in a hammock that lowered itself inch by inch as the night wore on. By morning their bottoms were touching the earth. Awaking while it was still dark, I cursed the fact that sleeping anywhere but my bed is so hard for me. I lay there wishing to go back to sleep until I noticed the light creeping in. I had slept through the night. It was the very early wisps of dawn that had awoken me. Creeping out of the tent, to the greeting of our faithful watch campdog who was the only one up before me. This is my time. Stirring the coals, pulling up a chair and my sweater closer around me, enjoying that first cup of coffee with my sandal clad feet propped on the fire ring. Wishing for more mornings like this. If only every morning could be enjoyed around the remnants of last nights fire with a view of a foggy forest and the sound of a gently rolling mountain stream.

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