Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A camping adventure

The weekend was a blur. A fantastically entertaining blur. Here is a long review of a part of that blur:


Saturday started off with a drive. To be more specific, a drive to the Wet Beaver Creek area with Chris, Shayla, Huey, and Scrappy. This is a place I’ve been to before. Once we arrived, we grabbed our packs and hiked up the trail four miles  to bell crossing. Once there, we setup camp, got into our skivvies, and went for a swim in the creek. The water was COLD, but absolutely awesome.


After a while we got out of the water, dried off for a while, then each of us did our own thing. While Chris and Shayla went fishing, I went hiking and looking for firewood. I found a dead tree, broke it down, and hiked it back to camp. Chris caught a few fish, one of which was a nice bass keeper who we began referring to as Larry.


Chores completed, and we were all being eaten alive by no-see-ums (a.k.a. sandflies), so decided to go for another swim before getting crackin’ on a fire, and prepping dinner. And this is where it all went a bit sideways. The swim was great, the fire was happily burning away, Larry was discombobulated gutted and set in the fire to cook, and it was shaping up to be a great evening.


Then we heard thunder. Then it started to sprinkle. Then the wind picked up and started taking Chris’ tent off the rocks. Then it started raining big fat drops of water. And then? Then it starting HAILING. It started off as small pea-sized hail, but soon turned into vicious marble-sized bits of ice. It went from sprinkle to hail in under five minutes. It was crazy.


Eventually Shayla had the bright idea to just sit in the tent which seemed vastly more comfortable than hanging onto it from the outside, so we all piled into their tent to wait out the storm. How we managed to get three hikers, and two wet dogs into a two man tent, I’m not sure. It wasn’t comfy but it was definitely better than the alternative.


And there we waited for twenty minutes for the hail to stop, occasionally peeking outside to see a river running through where our fire had been. Larry? Nowhere to be seen. Washed back to the creek he had been pulled from an hour before. Wet gear sat in puddles throughout camp.


Since it was going to be a while before the rain would calm down we decided to fire up the cook stove and make the awesome dinner I had brought. Chicken Saigon had never tasted so good!


Eventually the rain abated enough that I could go check on my tent. My spot was in surprisingly good shape. A missing guy-out on the fly, but nothing else. Still in one spot, still dry on the inside. Life is good.

Then we decided to try to get the fire going again. Chris was still hungry, and since Larry was MIA, he wanted to cook up the steak he had brought. So he dredged out the fire pit, and set about the task of rebuilding.


I was doubtful. Hell, I was about 100% sure that there would be no fire with the pile of now-wet wood we had sitting next to the puddle of a fire pit. But Chris is a persistent devil, and persistence does have its advantages. I half-heartedly tried to help for a few minutes, but quickly gave up. I was much more inclined to get out of my wet clothes and into a warm, dry sleeping bag. Me and scrappy curled up, and promptly passed out after hanging the wet articles all around the interior of the tent.


I was startled awake a short time later by Chris, who by some manner of magic had managed to get a fire going. I’m still not sure I believe it, but I gladly stood by the fire warming up, and drying some of my garments. He tossed his steak in the coals, and I eventually went to bed. As I started drifting into unconsciousness I heard the pitter-patter of rain drops begin anew on the tent. I was happy to be inside.


A solid eight hours later I woke up with numb arm and a dog who was way too playful for that early in the morning. We wrastled for a little while before I finally put my semi-dry clothes on and got out of the tent. Blue skies above, and the smell of wet earth. It was early yet (maybe 6:00), so I kept noise to a minimum while my camp mates slept. I packed up my part of camp and sat staring at the creek, enjoying the morning.


Once they got up, we all remarked on the crazy ass storm, the millions of bug bites that we suffered, and the general displeasure we all derived from packing away wet and muddy gear. We got it over with and hit the trail, looking forward to breakfast.


An hour and a half later we were at the truck, and on our way to Camp Verde for a meal.


As all of the bug bites come into their great itching glory, all I can think is that this is definitely a camping trip I won’t soon forget.


Warren said...

Sounds like a great trip! I've got found memories of several trips in the past of doing a two car shuttle and hiking/swimming down Wet Beaver creek. Some really nice swimming holes.

TomboCheck said...

Warren - We ran into a group who were trying through-hike the creek. They car their car stuck in the mud at the top, so ended up limping to the bottom trail head to try again.

One of these days I want to hike the whole thing. I'm just going to do it when there is no rain in the forecast. :)

Chickenbells said...

Lord. The last time I was at Beaver...it rained ALL. NIGHT. LONG. and the next morning too...it was a bummer. Maybe it's some kind of a weird rain vortex?

TomboCheck said...

Sadira - It's a government weather-control experiment. I'm absolutely sure of it. :-)

dagnygromer said...

Quite the adventure! And why my tent camping days are behind me :-)

TomboCheck said...

Dagny - Indeed, though it just makes me want to go out camping again. :)