Sunday, August 06, 2006

We're back... early

as alluded in my previous post... Darly, Lilly & I went camping this weekend. We were supposed to return home today...but we ended up coming home last night instead...more on that later.

We went to a beautiful spot Guanella Pass. Our spot was right next to the first photo...and I suppose that's what it looks like when the sun is out.

When we first arrived it was overcast but not too cold or humid. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt which were comfortable. After looking at all the available tent sites, I chose site 13. I picked this because it was close to the bathrooms and close to most of the rest of us. And all the other dogs were back in sites 10-12 far enough away from us that I could have some peace from Lilly's "anti-social with other dog behaviors."

I was able to get our tent set up and our air mattresses filled before it started to rain. I had Darly set up the beds with Lilly in the tent keep her out of the way. I hadn't intended on using the cheapo sun shade, it was in the car...just in case. But after opening the tent to have all the water on the door flap land inside I wanted to set it up to have some place dry to step out into.

So my friend and camping neighbor helped me to get the sun shade set's not an one person operation. We got it upright in fairly short took some rigging with duct tape. And I then realized that there was a gap between the sun shade & the tent. I wracked my brain on how to fix this...trying my neat sheet at first, but then realizing that I could just move the tent. My tent is a small 4 man (yeah, as if you could really get 4 men who are straight in that thing!) so all I had to do was pull up the stakes and drag it over...yeah, the tent polls left gouges in the dirt, but those were easily filled in....mind you, it's sprinkling the entire time. There! All set up and beautiful! I moved our camping chairs into the sun shade along with a few other items and we were all watch it rain and rain and rain.

We went camping up there with some friends and we had almost the entire side of the campground reserved...we didn't get in there early enough to get site 17 too. And we ended up selling site 16 to a very nice couple in an RV who were gone most of the time hiking. Unfortunately some of our group were not able to come and even though we had reserved the spots and paid for them...the camp host told us that we needed to set up a tent on the open spots or he would have to sell them...we could get our money back on them though. We seriously considered letting the spots go, but after seeing some of the folks who wanted the spots come threw (we hadn't told the host to sell them yet) we decided to set up tents. One guy had two dogs and when he came to look at the spots he allowed his dogs to run off leash...which would have driven our dogs nuts.

The rain finally let up and I was able to get a fire going to cook our dinner. Darly had a hotdog and some leftover candied yams. I had a hamburger patty with potatoes, zuchinni, onion, tomatoe, mushrooms & green beans - all cooked in a foil packet. (I find this a really yummy dinner that doesn't take too long to prepare & cook.) While I was waiting on dinner to cook, I went to the pump to get some water for washing the dishes. After I figured out how to use the directions and it's a two person operation if you don't want to be there forever, I had my water that I put on the fire after dinner. We had barely gotten our dinner eaten when our camping friends invited us to come over to camp #9 for a bon fire and byo smore roast. So I sent Darly over while I finished eating and cleaned up a little.

The bon fire was good but Lilly wasn't. She has very poor social skills with other dogs. If I could have taken her off-leash and just allowed her to meet the other dogs it probably would have gone better...but the other owner didn't trust her (and who can blame them when my dog is barking like crazy and nipping at her dog!) So instead I stood on Lilly's leash and had to keep telling her "no" the entire time. Darly & I decided to retire early. She got two smores and I had just one.

When we returned to our campsite the dishwashing water was nice and warm so I did the dishes. I have NEVER been so happy to wash dishes in my entire life! The water helped to warm me up...I even had Darly put her hands around our dishpan to warm up.

We each had on a t-shirt, long sleeved shirt, sweat shirt and our fleece coats; a hat, sweat pants and two pair of socks. Darly's bed had two fleece blankets and her sleeping bag; my bed had two fleece blankets, a quilt and the sleeping bag. Lilly's bed had a quilt on the floor and a towel on her back...Lilly really wanted to sleep on an air mattress too.

I didn't sleep well that night... It took me forever to get my legs warm. I awoke to the sun shining, but I wanted to sleep some by the time I got up the sun was behind the clouds.

I started a fire and got our pancakes going. I put too much water in the mix so they were too thin, but they tasted okay. I had made my coffee at home, but was planning on iced coffee...which given the weather...was not a good plan. But it at least tasted good.

Again as we were just about finished, the kids came by and said that beading was going on at camp #9. So I sent Darly with the kids and cleaned up. I set the water on the fire to get heated and went over to camp #9 to check out the beading. Darly had made me a nice bracelet.

We did mostly just talking and beading for quite a long time and then a bunch of the group decided that they wanted to go fishing. The non-fishers just hung around and talked. Darly played in various tents with her bestest buddy.

I made us some sandwiches for lunch and soon after lunch it begain to rain. Darly was in the tent with her friend and I was at another campsite talking while it rained for a pretty long time. I think I went to the tent to lay down at about 4pm. After laying there until almost 6, my friend comes over to let me know that her tent is taking on water and they've decided to head on home. She came over later to return the wood she had bought from me (I brought extra because it's $3 in town and $7 from the camp host.) So I hopped out of the tent to return her money (which she wouldn't take) to see how much water was pooling up around my tent!

My sun shade instead of diverting water off the door was now pouring water on both sides of the door and that water was then going under my tent. There was also some slight leaking at the top of the tent. Probably a combination of the non-stop rain and all the extra water coming off the sun shade. I decided that we would leave too. I first went to talk with our other friends who were all questioning whether they should be staying too. Bestest friend's family decided to pack it in as well as they were standing in water and were the closest to the creek. I had lots of offers to help me tear things down, but I refused thinking that I got most of it up myself...down should be pretty easy. I planned to pack the soaking wet tent & sunshade in trash bags instead of their normal bags.

I got all torn down and packed into the car (not all that neatly) in about an hour. It probably would have gone faster if I had the girls actually listening to my instructions...instead of packing up the duffle bag, rolling up the blankets, rolling up the sleeping bags and then letting the air out of the mattresses...they decided to do the air mattresses first by jumping on them instead of slowly rolling the mattresses AND holding the valves open...great! So I ended up packing most of the inside of the tent myself as well. Lilly went happily into her crate in the nice warm car during the tear down time.

As I was rolling up the soaking wet tent the rain had subsided...but that's also when I noticed that our ground cover was entirely soaked with water. For you non-campers...this is a VERY BAD THING! Everyone agreed that it was a very good that we decided to pack it in. I knew that even if the sun had come out (which wasn't going to happen in a valley at 7:15pm) I would never get everything warm and dry enough for us to be able to sleep that night.

So we headed for home and I decided that we should stop to get something to eat on the way...because dinner at 9pm wasn't a good idea. It took me forever to find a McDonalds but we were soon on our way again. Lilly was a trooper and never complained...Darly was very good too.

We got home at 9:30 and DH was still up (abnormal as he usually goes to bed at 9). So after getting the most important items in the house...I stripped off all my wet clothes in the laundry room (which is right beside the garage door) and went directly to take a hot shower...ahhhh so much better. DH suggested that since I had so much wet stuff in the car that it would be a good idea for me to open the windows. I decided to do that and unpack the car. All the wet stuff is in the garage...right now. I'll get to it when I get dressed.

Lessons learned from this trip...
Don't make camping reservations in May for an August camping trip.
10,900 feet above sea level is wayyyyyyyyy to high to be camping.
Bring more tarps.
And check the weather reports...if it's supposed to rain, skip the trip.

I'll be looking for campgrounds that are much closer to sea level for our next trip...and I might just have to get a bigger tent. Maybe one that comes with a front porch kinda thing.


  1. Ha! The paparazzi were everywhere! I think you're tired cuz you went camping. :) I don't camp unless there's a 4 star hotel nearby. ha ha.

  2. I have never been camping, but it sounds like it could be a very interesting experience. I bet I would have to bring plenty of flea and tick spray with me! I'm glad you had so much fun on your camping trip, even if it did rain.

  3. I think putting up the tent in the rain is enough to keep me inside!Although, I'm an indoor cat anyway and not allowed outside.

    From what I hear, it's very common for dogs to be anti-social. Ugh...canines!

    Great story! I was exhausted after reading it...I can't imagine how tired you were living it!

  4. It looks like a lovely place from the pictures on the website.

    I think it's great you take Darly camping. Makes me want to go out and buy up a bunch of camping gear.