On Friday (two Fridays ago now), I woke up early and started getting things packed up, because I like to put that off until the very last second. I'd actually already packed my clothes, but I needed to get all the camping stuff out of the spare room closet and into the car. I managed to do it without waking Cory up, amazingly. While I packed, Nicoal sent me texts letting me know where she was, as her bus was late. (Yay Greyhound, having the first bus of the day an hour late!) Cory woke up just as I was about to leave for the Greyhound station, so I said goodbye to him and went to pick Nicoal up.
After a quick stop to get some coffee and find that the public bathrooms in the old JCPenney building (that now houses Starbucks and Noah's Bagels and a few other shops) are now coin-operated, we set off east for Trout Creek Campground. Whee!
I crossed my fingers all the way there, hoping that the spot we wanted was open. When we were on our way back from Mom's house on the 4th of July weekend, we stopped at the campground and noticed that #4 was right on the river, just twenty or so feet from the tent spot. I thought that'd be a nice place to go, so we could just enjoy the view from our site. But it was full, as was expected, since it's the best spot in the campground. So we kept going around the loop and found #14, which was on the opposite side of the road. We looked at everybody's slips to see when they'd be leaving, and the people across the road next to the river (not as good a spot as #4, but right next to the river anyway) were leaving that day, so we decided to just unpack lunch food and wait for the other people to leave so we could have their spot.
After lunch (chips and veggies and hummus and guacamole), the people still hadn't left so we decided that our spot was just fine after all. It was pretty private, next to the vault toilets, and it wasn't far to get to the river; so we unpacked and set up the tent and our chairs and the firewood. (Turns out it was a good idea that we didn't wait, because the people ended up staying another night.)
During the afternoon, we went down to the river and took pictures and skipped stones and just sat and looked at things; we spent a little while just reclining in my comfy camp chairs looking up at the trees and the sky; and played a little of The Camping Game until we got bored. Rachel had to work that day until mid-afternoon and then had to drive all the way up from Ashland, so we started dinner late so it'd be ready by about 8. We had cell service, so Rach sent us periodic texts letting us know where she was and how hungry she was getting. Since she had the propane tank for the stove, we had to use the fire to heat up some soup that we added CSA veggies to, and we also made some damper (Aussie bread) to bake in the coals.
When Rach arrived, we ate a lot, and drank two bottles of red wine, and stayed up talking until 1am. It was really really nice to have good conversation with good friends. I don't get that enough (though if I got it "enough" I wouldn't appreciate it so much).
Both Nicoal and I had a rough night that night - Rachel slept in her truck so she was warm, but we didn't have the rain fly on the tent so we were absolutely frozen. I was shivering so much I thought I'd wake Nicoal up but I think she was already awake. I didn't want to get up to put socks or a sweater on (I was just wearing my shorts and a t-shirt, because my sleeping bag is pretty warm usually) because I didn't want to lose any body heat, but I finally did and it helped a ton (even moving around helped).
The next morning, we made pancakes on the little stove and then went out to the river. Rach is studying to be a geologist, so she spent a ton of time out in the river, trying to collect rocks without getting her clothes wet. Nicoal skipped some stones and took some photos, and I mostly just sat and enjoyed the morning sunshine and did a little crocheting.
We had lunch and spent more time at the river, and then went back to the campsite and separated ourselves out and had some quiet time. Nicoal and Rachel read, but I fell asleep in my comfy chair, and when I woke up I had a huge bug bite on my wrist and four little ones on my face (ack!). Jerks.
Dinner was gnocci, sauteed veggies and grilled cheese sandwiches, and we shared a big bottle of white wine. It was kind of icky-tasting, so we mashed up raspberries and plopped them in, and it tasted much better even though it kind of looked nasty. (Well, it really looked nasty. Heh.) Rach and I played Cribbage while Nicoal did most of the cooking, and we got pretty giggly. We ended up having to buy more firewood, too, because though I brought a ton of alder from the mill, they were super dry and kind of small pieces so we burned through them pretty quickly. We bought three bundles and finished them off by the end of the night. We roasted a few marshmallows and chatted some more in front of the fire, and went to bed much earlier than the previous night.
In the morning, we had a quick breakfast of cold cereal and then Rachel left soon after, since she had such a long drive. Nicoal and I packed up the gear and headed home in the mid-morning, and then in the afternoon we saw Mamma Mia! before I took Nicoal to the Greyhound for her trip home.
There are more pictures on my Flickr account as well as Nicoal's, though you'll have to scroll through a few newer photos in order to see the camping ones.