Monday, August 04, 2008

My day in the hills has come to an end: part 1.

[NB: I'm deploying these posts after the fact. Turns out camp wifi was but a dream, which was just as well, since spending the whole week unplugged was definitely in order.]

Picturesque parking lot.

I'm now blogging at you from our destination, which is right on a semi-harrowing unpaved road much better suited to a 4 X 4 than to my low-slung floating sofa of a vehicle. The drive is a little bit white-knuckley, and when it's not white-knuckley it's still slow and jarring. My sister and brother in law wound up with a flat tire, but fortunately not until their minivan had reached our destination and sat overnight in the aftermath of being cruelly punctured. We discovered it today, which is preferable to discovering it on the day you want to leave.

Let me get one thing straight: it's beautiful here and no one really cares what you do while you're in camp. You can hike, fish, or do nothing, and all will be appreciated equally if you tell someone else about your day's activities. However, this is not really where you come to vacation if you're not interested in talking to strangers, eating communally, or being somewhat flexible about sleeping arrangements. I remember thinking, when I came here with my family two years ago, WHAT did I get myself into? I, who once showed up in Aspen for the summer with no place to live, who lived in a retirement community with a 75 year old globetrotting butcher's daughter in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a few weeks, who slept in a dilapidated old house atop a former cemetery in a Colorado mining town for 3 months, who once camped alone on the shore of Lake Superior--even I was sort of overwhelmed by the old-home-dayness of this place. I mean, it's someone else's family reunion, after all. Some of these people have been coming here for close to 50 years.

Anyway, it's a camp. Did you ever go to camp? If so, your memories of the layout and sleeping quarters are probably pretty accurate. The first place we were assigned to sleep (along with my parents) looked, as the Brit said, like the set of a horror movie: dripping water, chewed foam mattresses, decrepit bunks, spooky paint. We were properly horrified. The second place, where we slept last night, was much cleaner and better maintained, but oh man. Have you ever tried to sleep while people walk in and out of an open-plan, uninsulated wooden structure? Everything is amplified, even someone rolling over in his sleeping bag in the next room. It's impossible. This circumstance led to urgent whispered consultations in the night, complete with threats of leaving the next day.

This morning, however, I got some help in scouting out new sleeping quarters, made possible by the last minute shuffle of other people. Thank you, other people. You have spared us further conflict and/or exhaustion, I hope. We're in a wee cabin, very LHOTP, with electric lights but no water, plus a woodburning stove, and actual beds with firm mattresses (in that way unlike LHOTP). Next door, my sister and her family are cramming into roughly the same amount of space, except they have the random toilet right in the single room, across from Willa's Pack & Play. I think their cabin has been designated a "no dumping" station, if you know what I mean.

Home away from home.

A few yards away from our front stoop, a streamlet meanders down to the Boulder River. We spent a good half an hour with Jude earlier today sailing rubber duckies down the stream and racing to catch them in frog nets. This is really good fun, maybe even better than using the nets for their intended purpose. The duckies get caught in the pipes beneath the walkways, and then get pushed out and rush on down toward the road. We also played Wellie Tossing, which apparently those wacky Brits do over in the old country (or the alt country, as I like to call it). Jude liked his boots better in the air than on his feet.

Wellie tossing.
(That is a wellie in the air, and the Brit, having hurled it.)

We were thinking about doing a hike today, but after racing around with Henry and Jude it became evident that we're not acclimated to the altitude yet. No big deal. I bet we'll eat our brown-bag lunch as an evening snack, and we'll spend the day loafing around, and get our hike on tomorrow. Critter count so far is 2 rockchucks and one snowshoe hare. Fortunately none of them were in our cabin.

I see the wifi signal but can't connect to the internets yet. That I am blogging at you at all is evidence of my total confidence that I will eventually get online.


  1. I love the Wellie picture! That is totally fantastic. As are the updates.

  2. The photos are so beautiful!

    I've never seen a snowshoe hare before!