Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

20 August 2012

automatic detection

Day 3 of the Last Camping Trip of the Summer 2012 followed, as mornings will, the night before. My lovely wife is the menu planner, and she had wisely, deliciously, planned the more involved dinner on the 1st night. I say that because she would be there to chef whilst I would be there to have hauled heavy stuff and be drunk around the campstove twig fire. Point being, the 2nd night was tofu dogs. Easy enough for a 1/2 in the bag Papa to feed his boys after Mama and daughter had left and gone back to town. But, as we had picked up an extra and retained an extra, there were still 5 children to 3 adults. 3 men who'd been lazing about in the river in the sun with beer in hand. E made all the mac and cheese in his arsenal, and every child stepped up with a plate. I made each tofu dog, ran out of buns even, and every child was back. We dug out the (cans!) of black beans, an onion, some chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt and kept after it until every child and every adult was full and the clamoring for s'mores had begun. Oh! those Summer nights.

The afternoon before that night, we'd all headed up Indians Rd to see off those of our crew as were bailing. We parted at the trailhead to the Gorge, where those of us who remained headed down for some serious cliff jumping. There were some folks camped (?!?) right at the foot of the trail. J asked them why they were camped there. He then told them there were better spots, and when asked where said "Not telling." He is 7. I love him so much. I couldn't help but burst out laughing. The campers were sour, but they are idiots too- that place is a well known day trip for nearly everyone who goes out there. It is not a camping spot.

There had been much rehashing of whats and ifs regarding what to do with the 3rd day. E (wisely, given the 1st timerness of the kids in his crew) decided to head back to town after breakfast. So after breakfast, when the bugs had come out in force, we packed up camp and loaded it all onto bikes to facilitate a quick get-away. Then we loaded out necessarys into dry bags and began the hike upriver.  (I will say that the Sealine lightweight 10L drybags are both lightweight and too damn thin; I wore a hole in one on the Kokopelli trip just from minimal wiggle room twixt bag and strap.) I had the lunch stuff, and J had the booze.The boys each had a floatie (the seasl and the shark), and J and I had commandeered the rafts A_______ had brought.

We have made the trip up to The Narrows 3 or 4 times now. It is worth doing. The walls are 30ish' high and maybe 3' apart at the tightest of spots, forcing the seal's flippers into some serious bending. The waterfall at the end has several ropes fixed at the top, but for us thus far the water level has been too high to climb the falls. This time it was perfect.

As I swam J up the tight bend, we talked about what to do if he fell out of his raft. He is a good swimmer, but. It is important to not panic. Having a plan helps. If he were to tip, he should get to the surface and find the raft, then hang on. Simple. I pushed him, in his raft, to the foot of the falls and we paused there to watch and see. There were some folks having some confidence issues on the crux, whereby one crosses the torrent at the head of the falls via a separate fixed rope. Seeing as how it was easy looking, I sent D up the falls to sus it out. Easy peasy. So he stayed at the head, and I at the foot and J went up the rope between us. The old gal who'd been mildly freaking out must have been spurred by the sight of a 7 year old handling the climb with aplomb, because she finally committed and got  the hell out of the way.

Thus we accessed the natural water slide above the falls. No joke. Though only 10' long, it started right and hooked a strong left that threw you right over and dropped you into a warm, clear pool just above the falls. We ran the slide many times. The pool around the corner had some half-assed cliffs for some half-assed jumping, which suited us just fine at that point. We were tired. And there was the hike/float/hike back to the bikes and the ride out to consider.

When we got back to the race van, it was night. We had 3 lights for 4 people, and it worked just fine. I will not forget the image of my sons riding back, loaded with camping gear, in the full dark. Our feet had suffered (as of this writing my toes and insteps are still scabbed) from the wet hike, and we were bruised, bitten and tired.

What better?

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