Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7-21-11 Camp Arrival

The few miles between Wit's End and the campground had me a little concerned. We were basically driving through a neighborhood of vacation homes. But once we got to the end of the road, it got a lot more rustic and secluded.

Even the squirrels had their own picnic area! That must be where they like to stay, as we didn't see one the entire trip. I'm thinking the chipmunks feel a little slighted.

When we checked in with the camp host, she mentioned we had the most coveted spot of the campground, Bear Loop 12. I didn't mention to my bear-phobic daughter that we were staying in Bear Loop. Sure enough, throughout our stay we were approached by hikers and campers asking about our prime spot and when it might next be available. Read the sign people.

June met us up front, and Gene found us on his cart at B-12. They make the rounds several times a day, chucking out squatters who try to pitch on reserved sites, getting campers squared away with their parking passes, restocking the toilet paper. Their RV plates were Louisiana, so it appears the Salters have found the good life escaping LA for Colorado each summer to host at Vallecito. I need to sign up for that.

A shot of our campsite before the big unload. I counted 186 rings on the fallen tree, putting it as a sapling somewhere around 1825, when only Indians and mountain men might have trod the same ground.

Directly behind our site was the river, roaring with its wonderful sound. Bob asked me, "Does this  mean we don't have to listen to that waterfall noise on the phone all night?" Absolutely it does. No white noise machine needed on this trip.

Bob surveys the afternoon river from the rock that became a favorite siting spot.

And George the butterfly played along the banks with us for a good while before it was time to start unloading.

Sammi and I make a wish on a giant dandelion.

And then? Work.

Video below has a few highlights of the tent raising, fire starting, etc.

Having only set this particular tent up once before, it took a committee of five to work out what was going on. I took one look at the directions and walked away to look at the picture on the box.


Then it was Old Blue's turn. This would be her very last set-up, after serving us so well for 37 years, since our first camping trip in 1974 to New Mexico. She cost a whopping $200 in 1974 from Foleys and was made of heavy duty canvas, 8x10 feet with windows all around. She's weathered all manner of storms and adventures. And she has a smell all her own.

Meanwhile, down at the river . . . 

Ta-da #2!

While Dad worked on setting up for supper, we unpacked in the tent. Sammi was especially appreciative of the air horn and bear pepper spray.

Ta-da #3!

More work to do around camp: toting water and getting firewood. We also gathered kindling from around the trees.

the bigger stuff, however, we bought from our hosts. Paul Bunyans we are not.

Dinner time! 


And for dessert, hot off the campfire s'mores.

Step 1: Get your marshmallows going as tiny embers.

Step 2: Stack with graham cracker and hershey bar (I prefer Special Dark). I also choose my s'mores open faced. A second graham cracker is superfluous.

Step #3: Enjoy! (Sammi illustrates the correct tongue action for getting all that marshmallow off your lips.

And she still misses some . . . 

Post s'mores, we tote the garbage to the bear-proof dumpsters near the hosts' site. June has set up hummingbird feeders nearby and their sounds punctuate the dusk.

After watching night fall fireside and staring at the stars, we pack it in for the night.

Until tomorrow!


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