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A Late Report on the Camping Trip

So, it has been a week since we got back from our camping trip and I am finally reporting on it. Things at work have been too busy to spend time clacking away on the computer tell you all about our camping adventures. Then I had the past couple of days off from work, and was busy with yard work and trailer cleaning to sit at the computer to tell you what happened.

So, you will get this report a week late.

We headed out of Thursday shortly after I got home from work. We had a few last minute things to pack (one of them wasn’t packed at all), and then we were off.

Okay, I have been told that it is different pulling something behind you, and I knew to expect something, but I didn’t know what. Now, I know. That trail back there is like a whole different vehicle to drive. Part of it is the extra weight, part of it is the extra length, but there is something else there, that I don’t know can be put in words.

Perhaps, it’s just the nagging thought that it could fall of at any minute. For me, this was a white knuckle drive from Riverton to Payson, and up the canyon to the lakes. We made it just fine, and didn’t have any real troubles. I am thankful for that.

However, when we got to the camp, it was cold. There was still snow in the shady areas under the trees. But we didn’t let that get to us. Not until we couldn’t start a fire. After over an hour of trying, and using lighter fluid, and paper, and blowing, and more lighter fluid, and more blowing, then more paper, we finally, decided that we would just cook our hot dogs on the camp stove, and call it a night.

But before we went to bed, we tried to play a game of cards. However, the trailer was too cold, and I hadn’t figured out how to get the heater working. It was simply blowing the cold air from out side, into the trailer. So, eventually we turned it off.

After my total domination of Scum, you can just call me President, we decided to call it a night. The night was cold. I don’t know if it was because I was on the outside of the trailer or because I refused to get up and use the facilities, but I tossed and turned all night. But, after years of tent camping, I was used to not sleeping at camp, and found it pleasurable to have a soft cushion beneath me and not a hard rock or root.

Friday morning was beautiful. After some coaxing, we finally got a small fire started and were able to warm up, either because the sun was out, or because of the fire. This camp was starting to look up.

After breakfast, we headed out on a family hike. Some research on the Internet helped me to find out about this grotto, that we had driven past several times over the years, and I figured we should go for it. Besides, there was a geocache near by.

So after a brief detour to find a cache placed by Sandy’s cousin, we headed up the grotto. For the most part this was a nice little trail. The forest service placed the small log bridges (with the top flattened for walking on) at placed where the river needed crossing. This was a little scary for Miss Kay and Capt. Z, but it was worth crossing three times to get them over.

We finally got to the waterfall, and it was awesome in the biblical sense, with a hint of modern awesomeness too. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was a rush of spring runoff, that was magnificent.

While, I was taking pictures, Miss Jo decided that she would climb up above the falls and look down on them. That was a great idea, I got a couple of good photos of the falls, and it might help people picture it better. However, we failed to calculate the descent from this little trek.

Coming down the muddy hill was quite the task. Especially with three kids under 6. Flash started to cry in his carrying pack, and Miss Kay didn’t want to go any further. It took a lot of patience and prayer to finally get down safely, and the bottoms of some jeans are permanently stained with red mud.

We returned to camp with muddy clothes and tired kids, to have some lunch and relaxing. We found a few more caches that were near camp (these were one’s that I found last year, but none of the kids were with me, so I went so they could find them the first time. We also spent some time playing cards and other games.

We also realized (as I hinted to earlier) that we had forgotten our Dutch Oven. Yes, that’s right. My dream method of cooking was not there. While packing I told myself several times to put it in the trailer, but I didn’t do it. I guess, I wanted to make sure it was accessible for cooking. Instead, I made it impossible to use for cooking. We had to improvise on a few meals, but we still ate well, thanks to the wife’s excellent ability to improvise.

When it started to get dark, i took the older kids, PandaMae, Miss Jo, and BO out for some night caching. there are three night caches in the area. But we headed out before dark, so we grabbed a couple of regular caches. They were fun, but not as notworthy as the one night cache that we found.

When hunting for the first night cache and last cache of the evening, we were a little confused. I have done several night caches, and usually they cache placer puts the coordinates on the web page near the start of the series of reflectors. Which in this case would have been near the Maple Dell Micro Cache. Instead the coordinates for the Maple Dell Night Hike were about 200 feet from the final location.

So, when we started for the cache from the Maple Dell Parking Lot we figured the cache hunt wouldn’t start until a tenth of a mile hike. But when we got to the top of the hill there were no reflectors. After 10 minutes of looking, and realizing that we were running out of time, we decided to bag the cache and try another one.

However, when we got done near the micro cache we saw a reflector. Then we located another, and followed the exact trail that we had hiked up and back down, until finally we located the cache. So, we did twice the amount of work for this cache.

We were limited on time, because the gates to the camp ground closed at 10:00pm, and it didn’t get dark until just before 9:30pm. So, we didn’t have a lot of darkness to night cache in. If we had, we would have gone for the other night caches in the area.

Instead we went back to camp and had another night of restless sleep. Only to wake up to the rain. Which eventually turned into snow. Again we were trapped in the trailer. Eventually, I realized that being in the wet snow was probably better then trapped in the trailer, and I started to putter around out side.

The worst part of the weather was the it discouraged me from taking a personal hike that morning, and from placing my own cache in the mountains. And there is a couple of good trails that are begging for caches. Oh, well, I will have to fit it into my next trip.

The snow lead us to packing up a little early and coming home. Despite the weather we had a good time. And because of the weather, we will always have a memorable first camping trip.

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