As per the way of things, we rolled out of the driveway at 3:39pm. Well, there was some stuff to find, some stuff to pack, some stuff to organize, then the bikes revealed their various issues- including but not limited to: broken spokes, misaligned brakes, flat tyres, a whole new rear end for the Big Dummy, and the old standby...loose bottom bracket. Etcetera.
Why not find/pack/organize/wrench the day(s) before? Oh please. Like you have it all together. And, plus where is the exciting frustration in that?
Bros only. The ladies were to join the party the following evening. We asked around, and of the boys' friends only _ooper was on board. He had no idea. His folks don't camp, and he doesn't do a whole lot of outdoors. Still, nothing trumps Willing. It is all you need.
Since the government of this country (don't kid yourselfs everbody else, either) is run by monied interests, the park was "closed." Not closed to anyone who doesn't need the government added "value" of a shitty paved campground and enclosed pit toilets. Still, I briefed the boys on stealth.
We were like ghosts.
Any of you following at home have surely noticed how I am employing the slow boil frog torture technique to my children in terms of loading them progressively heavier each time out. It is working great. Also, J took the 24" this go round. He is getting bigger.
Here he is, passing the FNG.
That was Day 1. We arrived and set up camp. The older boys were sour that I'd only brought the 4 man tent and they didn't have their own. I did not care about their feelings in this matter, especially as I was sleeping outside the stinky boy tent anyhow.
Day 2= lounging. Coffee, oatmeal, and waiting for the temps to warm up enough to swim. We divided our time amongst the swimming holes. The water was COLD. There was also a deer leg in the creek downstream from the horse bridge (now flagged as unsafe for pack stock...), which was a source of fascination and revulsion. Later we found another leg, and then the full remains. There are lions out there, and I love it.
I rolled out to meet the ladies. They reckoned riding in at night would be "scary". That whole process took some time, and almost went awry. I'd forbidden the boys fires and knives while away, and told them I'd be back well after dark. It is good for them.
After a successful moonlight cruise, we showed up with burritos and partied. Happy circumstance that the kids' "Fall Break" fell on the week leading up to the Full Moon! The ladies brought minimal gear in with them, but did bring another tent...
so the boys got their very own satellite camp, and in the morning J stunk it up for them.
And, base camp...
As an aside: food bags were hung from the oak limbs behind the tent. Trash, too, at night. We did have a visiting skunk for nights 2 and 3 (even disciplined camper kids will drop food, etc) but they are bad climbers. No problems.
The wild cherries (Prunus ilicifolia) were going crazy.
And so were the tarantulas (Aphonopelma eutylenum).
We were careful with them. Nobody wants to hurt a big hairy spider. Though...I'd be lying if I said the idea of a tarantula vs. big-ass crawdad did not occur to us. Relax. We just staged that in our minds' arenas. Think about it. My money is on the crawdad.
Boba Fet in her bug-proof suit. It was awfully buggy. Moving around was fine, and the water was fun, but there was NO relaxing in camp. It did not spoil the fun, but I'd be remiss to not mention them.
Day 4 dawned. We moved quickly, since L had to be at work by 11am. The ladies left us with most of their gear, and went their own way...
We found so much trash left out. What kind of person goes out with a packing blanket and a pair of dorky white sneakers? The kind of person that leaves same tied up in a tree "for later". I'm totally in favor of this guy's can-do attitude, and completely disgusted with his soft, self-indulgent bail-out.
J caught a Pacific gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer) on the way back out.
That right there is what it's about. You don't need any fancy gear to go out in the woods and have a fancy time.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”John Muir knew what was up .
D, behind my freaky floating collar bone.
The dregs of a Good Time.
Hey. Do NOT get hung up over gear. Don't let a perceived lack prevent you from a kick-ass adventure. All's you need is a pair of sneakers, a packing blanket, and the Will to keep a hold of them...