I'm back! The camping trip was successful; no lives were lost. It was close, though. I almost blew up the propane BBQ, one dog tried to eat a schnauzer, and the other dog is, well, Cute But Stupid.
It was too damn hot yesterday to do anything other than dump all my gear in the living room and empty the cooler so I have yet to download the pics I took. I'll do it in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here's the scoop.
I was up in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, my favorite place to go camp. It is in the southwest/central southern part of Washington. This was my fourth campsite there, a place called Panther Creek that I picked for several reasons:
1. Most folks don't realize that the federal parks have their own system and so they all end up in the extremely crowded (book in a year advance) state parks.
2. Because most folks are at the state parks, the federal campgrounds are a lot less crowded while still being extremely well maintained.
3. I hadn't been to this site before.
4. It was the southernmost campground in the Giff'.
5. No one else calls it the Giff' that I know of, but surely any man named "Gifford Pinchot" had a nickname and I'm guessing that was it.
6. That wasn't a reason I chose this particular campground. I just thought I'd mention it.
7. The campground had water. (Important thing to check up in the Giff'.)
8. It is described as a lightly used campground.
9. There was a site open for the weekend I wanted to go.
10. That's pretty much it.
Anyhow, Panther Creek, being so far south, was 90 minutes from my house. It's ten miles north of Carson so basically highway, smaller highway, road, forest road, and you're there. So that was nice. It was almost full that weekend -- I think I saw maybe two sites empty out of the 33 -- but I picked a fairly isolated site so except for the people across from me I couldn't really see anyone else unless I left the site. I was the only person camping solo that I saw except for maybe the camp host and I think she had a husband tucked away somewhere.
I have a huge tent but it sets up easily. Except for that one pole. Camp took about an hour and a half to set up completely; it would have taken only an hour except for that damn pole.
My plan was to go as paleo as possible. Except for s'mores and diet coke and powerade (it was really hot) I pretty much succeeded. Friday dinner was turkey burger patties topped with swiss cheese (not paleo), mushrooms and BBQ sauce (also not paleo) and a side of broccoli. I made a fire in anticipation of having s'mores. Weird to have a fire when it's still about 80 degrees out but the mosquitoes came a'biting and I wanted to get in the tent before dark.
I toasted a marshmallow and took a big bite and..... said wow this is really really really sweet. I did another with some graham cracker which cut the sweetness a smidge but it was still a lot. Thought maybe the whole s'more experience would solve the problem so I took the graham cracker with the milk chocolate (Hershey's, of course) and a toasted marshmallow..... and could barely choke it all down. Way too sweet. I haven't exactly been diligent about cutting out sugar in my semi-paleo world but apparently I've cut out more than I realized. I had three or four more s'mores before finally giving up. Okay, not really. I stopped after the one.
Saturday was bacon with eggs over easy. I love eggs over easy. I eat the white part first, saving the intact yolk for last. Then I eat the yolk whole. Yummmmmm. The bacon was sadly disappointing. No flavor. It was odd. I've never had crappy bacon before. I was starting to think there was something wrong with my taste buds -- like I was getting a cold or something, I've lost my sense of smell and therefore taste with colds before -- but I had the bacon again on Sunday (mostly so the dogs could have some and the drippings in their kibble) and it still was blah. It needed something. Like flavor. Or maple syrup.
For lunch I had ham slices and strawberries and it was all paleo and fabulous. Dinner was hot dogs (I found the most natural hot dogs I could, all things considered) and mushrooms and broccoli. Mostly paleo, except for the ketchup. The dogs liked the hotdogs. I gave up on attempting any more s'mores, although I did eat some of the chocolate bars (those weren't quite as sweet as the marshmallows) and the dogs got the graham crackers as treats since I forgot to bring any. Sunday I made an omelette stuffed with ham, mushrooms and swiss cheese (I may be a "paleo with cheese" person) and then the bacon for the dogs. I may have also had chocolate.
This is kind of dull, isn't it? Okay, funny story. My Schmart Dog, Ginger, wasn't on a tie out most of the weekend. Except for the attempted schnauzer eating incident she was great. There was a patch of greenery in the back of the campsite and she hung out there the entire time. But Saturday night she started to get bored and kept trying to wander off down a trail on one side of our campsite. When I said no, she went and stood in front of the tent door. I asked if she wanted in the tent and she had this look on her face like she was thinking about it and then said, yes she did want in the tent. I thought maybe she was sore from lying on the uncarpeted ground all weekend so I told her to get up on the bed. She did and promptly started to nest. Other than warning her not to pop the air mattress, I let her have at it. But she didn't lay down and soon she wanted back out of the tent.
Where she promptly started trying to wander off down that trail again. I said no and she turns and looks at me and then holds up a paw. I said no again and -- I am not making this up -- she starts limping over to me. Limping like she's just been hit by a car. I think maybe she pulled a muscle jumping off the bed so I check her out and she seems fine. I tell her to go lay down, she meanders around and then starts back down that damn trail again. I call her name and again, she turns around and looks at me and holds up the paw again: Mom, I have to go down that trail. I'm asking her, what, is that the elephant graveyard back there? She starts limping over to me again, like she's up for an Academy Award and it depends on this performance. I say fine, let's take a walk down to the bathrooms and go from there. I clip on her leash, get CBS on hers and off we go. With Ginger walking beside me, no trace whatsoever of a limp. Such a ham.
CBS is a high maintenance camper. She has to be on a tie out or she'll wander off, lose me, and then run around frantically trying to find me. On the tie out, however, she winds it around everything and everyone and then can't figure out why she can no longer reach the water dish. We went to visit a waterfall and I tied her leash to a post for a few minutes and she proceeded to nearly strangle herself trying to follow me.
All in all, a good camping trip. Nice and peaceful and pretty. I read a couple of books and otherwise cleared my mind of everything else. Then I went in to work today to find out that my boss's brother drowned over the weekend. If you live in the Portland area, it's been all over the news although they haven't released his name yet. Life truly is short.