Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Outdoorsy attempts 2014

I hate going backwards in my blog posts. But the last few months have been so crazy that I've fallen behind. Actually, I find that when things are really bad or really good, I don't blog as much. The really bad times are few, but the last year I would classify as a good/busy time. So I'm going back to summer a bit and I'll catch up to everything that's happened, like buying a house and moving. Oh, and being pregnant. That doesn't really deserve a post, it just is my state at present.

After camping once last year at the end of summer, we were excited to try to do it more this summer. We are camping/outdoorsy amateurs at best, and we hope that by the time our kids are older we will become seasoned professionals. So we selected a weekend in June and geared up. As the week approached the forecast said rain. But we're Portlanders, right? It rains for a few minutes, clears up and then gorgeous weather appears, mocking those who feared a little moisture and stayed home. At least that's how I imagined the weekend going. Not really imagined as much as expected. I was determined to camp for some strange reason. We got our stuff together, so much stuff--and our new 8 man huge tent, and food and all the clothes we would need for all the different weather we might encounter in the mountains. Choosing to camp in 70% chance of rain was probably our first mistake, leaving our coats on our bed was probably the second. (Note--don't do all your packing the day of the trip.) I luckily had a rain coat that saved my life, Jon had a light rain jacket that made things not terrible. We met David and Vanessa there, and in a tiny window of sunshine set up our tent. Then, it started raining more and to my complete and utter surprise, did not let up. All evening and all night. The Wilkes had bought a canopy shelter on the way that we used over the picnic table, otherwise I'm not sure what we would have done. Eaten hot dogs in our tents? The kids luckily still thought it was fun, running around in their rain boots (I had to buy some ugly ones from Fred Meyer on the way, as I foolishly got rid of mine during a great purge in a past move) and playing in our hotel tent. The campsite itself was really great, very private and woodsy. The adults stood by the fire in the rain all night, shifting every once in a while to drain the puddles on the top of our hoods. I honestly still thought it was fun. I am not quite sure why. Sleeping in a tent in the rain is the best part, because it drowned out any little noise that would wake me and put me in "bear alert" mode. The next morning, we made a fire in the continuing rain and walked over to Trillium Lake, which is a very beautiful place. Apparently you can see Mt Hood right in your face if it's not insanely cloudy. We just saw clouds. We also tried to fish for about two seconds, then packed up our tent in another lucky patch of sun/light rain and went back home. We were all rain drenched and dirty and tired and unpacking that van and hauling it up the stairs to our apartment was where my attitude finally shifted to a more dark place. But luckily on the way home we stopped at an estate sale that was a single woman who was a buyer at Nordstroms and had size 10 (!) feet and a ton of Ferragamo heels. They were actually all a little too big for me, but this event was so rare that I really just appreciated being there. I also got a pair of leather gloves. I usually struggle to even fit vintage gloves over my knuckles so it was a treat. This wonderful woman must have been tall. My odd large extremities were happy. 

Don't look so sad, Theo. It's not raining! Also during both trips I found that all my photos were minimal and poorly executed. Kind of like what you would find in your 1991 family photo album at home, and part of me likes that.

Half of camping.

Nellie here is showing off what was officially our flashlight.

We weren't the only poor souls that camped that weekend, but at least we weren't stuck on a boat during the random and frequent downpours.

Say what you will about Forever 21, but this raincoat was waterproof and saved my life. So did my FM plaid boots.

Theo actually thinks he's doing something useful here.

After that less than ideal trip, I wanted to try camping again, but in great weather. I couldn't end the summer with our only camping experience being a sogfest. In mid July we decided to start the process of buying a house, and five days later, we were sitting on an accepted offer and I was freaking out a little. Then the inspections and more inspections and blah blah blah... it was Labor Day weekend and we moved. (And Mackenzie's baby was born the morning of our move--it was a lot!) But I still wanted to go camping. So Jon booked the only site available in mid September and we and the Wilkes decided to try our luck again. This time, trying to pack ahead of time (almost did that, ish), going for two nights instead of one (never do one night unless you don't have kids, it's way too much stuff and too much work!). Still didn't get running water and flushable toilets, but oh well. (Not really, I'm not doing that again...) Our campsite was right on the Clackamas river, which is a wonderful whitewater river that provides the most amazing white noise at night. We even bought a little camping hammock and after the first night I sat in it and read while our kids played. The weather was beautiful, even a little hot. Margot and Theo had never ending enthusiasm for grilling hot dogs over the fire and roasting marshmallows for other people and just eating the raw ones. Margot got amazingly dirty, the kind of dirty I used to see in other young children camping growing up and dreaded. She looked like a coal mine worker, but they had a great time. Night time was full of Theo and Margot playing in her pack and play and goofing around, but ended up sleeping relatively well. The second night Theo was having a hard time sleeping because our rain fly was off the tent and the trees above looked all shadowy and spooky in the remaining light. I went in to see what was wrong, and he told me was scared, and then he asked me if we could pray so the Holy Ghost could come and protect them and make him feel better so he could sleep. He gave the sweetest prayer and then went to sleep. He had such a pure intent faith that it made my heart melt. The second day we went to another part of the river and tried fishing again (I wanted to get a little use out of my license I bought). I really had high hopes I would catch something, but between the hot weather and the tubers floating down the river, we got nothing. Maybe next year. I'm not sure what we would do if we actually caught a fish anyway...

Second try, Clackamas River. I forgot to mention the morning we were leaving we had to go home a back way because the road by us was blocked due to a huge forest fire we had seen on the hill the day before. A little scary!

Crawdad! Theo kept yelling, "Lomster! Lomster!"

Get in a hammock, and this is what happens 90% of the time.

Jon reading to the kids. Theo in his sleeping bag, Margot in a wearable one.

Our sling shot finally got some more use!

Nellie and Vanessa are also in this photo. David's brother came and showed us up with his super deluxe double hammock.

Vanessa took this of me fishing. I am so good at not catching anything.