I love the idea of camping more than I actually enjoy the process itself. As a kid, it was completely awesome because my parents did all the work; I just played in the river and ran around in the woods. Now that I’m an adult, I have come to see that there’s a whooole lot of preparation involved to get to the place where you can just relax and enjoy it. The day before the trip, I was totally stressed out.
I got there early and secured our favorite campsite not far from the Vail valley. I pitched my tent, settled the dogs and cut the firewood. I was just sitting down to rest when the others began to arrive. Friday evening, we had a great fire complete with wine, steaks and grilled vegetables. The stars were out and it was just beautiful.
Saturday morning, most of us went for a hike I’ve always wanted to do: Hanging Lake. We came back to camp around 1:00, and pulled our chairs down to the shady river’s edge. We had a great time relaxing as we dipped our toes in the icy water and sipped wine. After a couple of hours, someone suggested another short hike. I really wanted to stay at camp and do absolutely nothing, but felt weirdly guilt about not going. I jumped in the truck with the others.
By the time we arrived at the trail head, we could see the gray clouds beginning to form in the west. In Colorado, storms can move quickly, but after driving 20 minutes up the steep and winding road, we were committed. Half an hour into our hike, the clouds were black. We turned back, and had just gotten in the car when it began to pour. It was then that I realized that David had driven into town and only Stacey had been left at camp. We’d left her alone to deal with battening down the hatches before the downpour.
Stacey is incredibly competent and responsible. I had no doubt that she would be able to handle it, but I felt terrible for leaving it all to her. Fortunately, David hadn’t gone to town after all and he’d been able to help out. They’d done a great job, so we grabbed some goodies and headed for shelter.
We had the best happy hour in my tent there beside the river, in the pouring rain.
It was crowded and smelled like wet dogs, but we had a great time swapping stories and laughing about our dysfunctional childhoods.
It didn’t stop raining until 8:00, and we didn’t eat until 10:00. That was a drag and I will definitely plan better in the future. Cleaning up in the muddy, pitch black night was definitely the low point of the trip. It rained all night and was still lightly misting when we woke the next morning. Stacey taught me how to get a fire started in the rain and we warmed ourselves for a while before packing up for home.
One of the things I like about my girlfriends is that we all bring different qualities and experiences to the party. I always learn something. This time I definitely learned that less stuff is more fun. I also learned that more planning is less stress. Next time, I’m going to coordinate the food better so there’s not so much redundancy and we can team up for cooking, cleaning and fire duties. I’ve decided to adopt a new rule: whoever is cooking dinner can’t leave for a hike after 2:00 in the afternoon. I think that will give my hyperactive brain an adequate excuse to lay by the river and do absolutely nothing all afternoon. Who wants to join me?
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