Sunday, August 02, 2009

Newlywed Camping...again

New car...a book about car camping....and memories of the first and only time B. and I ever went primitive camping.

That camping trip was 32 years ago, six months into our marriage...our first vacation.

A few months later a baby was on the way. After that it was camper trailer camping at sites with showers and a camp store nearby. Later there was the RV truck camping with a refrigerator, stove and plush couches inside. We never again ventured to camp without water, bathrooms, and trash pick-up.

Well, it is just us two again. So off we went last Friday morning, driving 124 miles southeast, and up to 9,000 ft. elevation. The new car held all our gear perfectly.

B. had researched campgrounds and had one in mind. And that would have been where we would have stayed if we had gotten there when we thought we would.
Fate stepped in...forgotten fishing gear meant turning around almost half way there.
The last site was taken where we thought we were going to camp. I decided this meant there was something much better for us.
And there was.
A site for just us, with a river wrapping around the edge to the campsite.
It was like camping on a perfect island.
Shadows and small water falls, interesting trees.
The camp was scented with balsam and wild rose wafting in the very soft air.
We hadn't remember firewood either...and yet someone had left a bundle at the camp.
What more could we want?
Nothing...just the two of us again under a starry sky.
In the morning we drove around a bit to explore. Several reservoirs dotted the valleys below.

The valley in the distance below...the HOT valley. It was close to 100 down there; we were enjoying mild mid 70 temps instead.

And delphiniums!

Fields of blue flowers.

Imagine if the white trunked aspen's were golden leaved as well...

Pretty competitive with blue bonnets.

Imagine driving a horse cart down this road. Or being proposing to, with a sapphire engagment ring.

The two toned yellow petals...I haven't seen that before.

(Can't stop taking pictures of the blue flowers and the views!)

Eventually we pressed on to a small stream to try a few casts. Only a few tiny fishes took a nibble. The wind made the grasses do the billowing thing...making the land look like a green ocean.

While Bernie hunts fish, I hunt butterflies.

One variety of moth is in heavy hatch.
(FYI: a butterfly will always rest with wings folded upright, while moths fold their wings flat against their back.)

Another kind of blue flower.

The dreaded pine beatle has decimated much of pine forests in the area.

So sad...North America's pine forests brown instead of green, and nothing can be done at all to stop it.

Beaver dams please me. GO BEAVERS! GO OSU!
Once a beaver, always a beaver....

While Bernie fished, I studied butterfly flight, and determined where they were feeding.
I got comfortable, and waited for them to come to me, rather than trapsing along after their wild flights.
I was right...the butterfly came.

After a bit the butterfly didn't even seem to notice me anymore and I could get great shots.

A prickly but beautiful design of geometry and color.

Another butterfly-a small wood nymph.

These flowers...
Along the roadside.

A quick stop at a tiny store where hamburgers were "rolled" on a interesting machine that toasted the bun and flamed the meat.

This weekend I am also thinking about having a Cheeto soon...(wink. more about that later.)

We laughed at this. End of track. And just in case you didn't notice this, there is a sign that says "End of Track."

And if THAT doesn't help you "get it", there is a pile of rocks to MAKE you stop!

We drove past this mining operation and wondered what they were mining.
We were going through a tiny town called "Coalville" at the time.
It took a moment...but we did figure it out eventually.
Have I mentioned how much I loved all blue flowers in bloom?

The coral reds were pretty too.

A kid's fishing pond, with lots of dads and moms, kids and dogs wetting a line from the shore.

With blue meadows and blue summer sky in the background.

Up the road were what looked like white Indian Paintbrush.
A rather nice assortment of wild flowers bloomed alongside that road.

I like the deep red petal alternating with the orchid pink petals.

Next we headed to Huntington River where we had been told the best fly fishing was to be found. Bernie waded in the icy water as I wandered about doing my own usual thing with the camera. I was so surprised to see these little flowers blooming across a slow side-stream beside the main river.


The spikey red flowers on the other side of the river taunted me....I wanted to get a close up shot, but didn't want to go wading.

Wild roses sweetened the air wherever we went.

Sticky geranium was pretty common too.

Lovella and Terry roared by....

(just kidding.)

The stream was fairly deep and an especially deep pool formed beneath the fallen log.

I could see huge trout leaping up at the thick hatch of flies. Bernie cast repeatedly right to the fish, but apparently "fresh meat" beat artificial flies that afternoon.

I picked a spot and waited for butterflies. They came...with my spot.

They came...

I saw so many butterflies, and it was maddening to see huge butterflies lite down and lift just as I noticed them about me. The last morning at breakfast a HUGE yellow swallowtail nearly landed on Bernie's forehead! Aaagghhhh....I was not fast enough with the camera!

I was having a hard time deciding if the close up shot using a macro was better than just the regular lense. Macro requires a steadier hand...

This butterfly was about an inch in size.

Eventually we returned to camp, and Bernie cooked up a great chicken and rice and salad dinner.

We ate, made another fire, and I toasted the best marshmellow he had ever eaten. We talked, and learned things about each other, and about ourselves, and marvelled that 32 years later we could still be learning. Bernie found a lot out about himself as he sought to learn fly fishing (no, he didn't get any fish this time either) and I had been reading a book about cloud formation that was making me think. Funny how we could just chat and chat.

Later thirteen kids came splashing through "our" river, herded by a couple of adults. We chatted a bit with them too...apparently this was the younger portion of a yearly family reunion.

It stuck us that we would never be likely to have enough family to have such a sizeable family reunion. For the first time I kind of missed having the ability to have more children....

Bernie had gotten up in the middle of the night the night before and was awestruck by the stars overhead. He encouraged me to look about me if I arose in the middle of the night. I did...and he was right. The sky was so dense with stars it almost vibrated. Next trip we will attempt to bring our telescope along.

Roses with our breakfast of pancakes and yogurt, coffee and juice.
I love that Bernie cooks on camping trips.
Seriously, the roses above the river and balsam trees combined to make a scent I have to have again. I've never found a rose and balsam scented product before. Some one should get on this idea now!

The view from our car to our camp. We decided if we were to come here again we would put up a dome tent in the front camp site, and pay for both sites for the weekend.

At three dollars a site, we could rent the whole place for six bucks a night, and with having to use our own port a potty in the bushes, I think I'd prefer to be "alone," if you know what I mean!

Just in case we might need to share camp grounds, we'll be buying a privacy screen for future trips.

We packed up after breakfast while the day was still cool. I decided I would take a dip...and Bernie grabbed a camera to document my dunk. My feet froze...lost was a brief event, but invigorating.

The funny thing was I enjoyed it, but didn't really need to wash.
For years we have beach camped, and the campfire smoke in the damp sea air always permeated every fiber and pore. The feeling of being sticky and smelly with smoke made swimming and showering off a must. Pillows, sleeping bags and every thing that went to beach camp had to be washed several times to remove the smoke odor.
I was very surprised that here the smoke didn't "stick" and my clothes and hair still smelled fresh the next day.
After years of avoiding campfires, this was a most welcome realization: things are different here up in the dry mountain air.

We drove 124 miles one way to this area, if anyone is interested in finding it on a map.

I had never heard of this problem before. It sounds just dreadful, doesn't it?

On the drive home I said to Bernie I'd be happy to camp at that campsite again any time.

He pointed out that there were so many mountains ranges and rivers and places in Utah, that life was too short to keep going back to the same campsite over and over again.

He is right of course. And now that we have car camping down pat, and a list made of "things we didn't realize we would need but thankfully didn't need this time" I think we will visiting as many camping places as we can.

After all, as newlywed campers, take two, we've got a lot of camping fun to look forward to.

I like primitive camping.

I'll bet you are surprised!


Lovella ♥ said...

Jill, what a gorgeous spot to camp. Can not so primitive camping work there too? How long will it take to drive from my house to your house do you think? (we'll talk) .. .
My mind is racing with the idea of planning summer camping with you in your woods. . .it is so gorgeous. . T and B can fly fish to their hearts content while you and I butterfly hunt. .and read .. .and chat around the fire.

I loved this post. . oh .. and by the way. . .you look amazing in that green suit.

I do agree that we should see more than one place and maybe we'll have to plan to get out and do that.

Laura said...

What a refreshing post! Your photography skills are doing your daughter proud, and we will just have to "perfect" your swimmer pose, although you quite nearly nailed it. You look just radiant.
Glad you two had such a wonderful time, you both deserve it!
And whirling disease....hmmm...wonder if that is what turns garden/forest fairies into the stream and pond mermaids. Smiles!

Vicki said...

Wow...the scenery is breathtaking! You did an awesome job with the photography and with choosing your subjects. I'm not a camper (I prefer electricity and running water and a/c and sleeping where my back won't bother me for weeks afterward...), but I could almost jump in there and go camping with you! (You look great, that color on you!)

Sara said...

Your photos are a real treat...especially the second one with the red chair, and all those amazing blue flowers...some of those flower photos are pure artistry! And that close up of the butterfly with the polka dot eye....

Oh how I would love to see the stars like that....!