Friday afternoon I headed up the New Castle-Buford road headed toward Meadow Lake for the mostly annual church camping trip. Linda has decided she is NOT going camping with me again so I had taken her and the dog, Lacey, to Fruita to spend time with her family while I was gone. The weather Friday was beautiful, the sun bright, the sky Colorado blue with just a hint of pure white clouds and the forest resplendent in greens. The road was in good condition and there was almost no traffic so it was an idealic drive up the mountain.
I had a general idea where we were to camp so headed that way only to find that I was the first there. No worries, I just waited at the fork of the road where I knew someone would come along. I was tired so took a short nap, one I think I deserved, but I think that much more often these days. It was pleasant in the fresh, uncivilized, unpolluted air with a beautiful view and quiet like only the forest can give you. As expected my friends, Matt and Kendra Ward arrived and we headed toward the campsite. We were the only ones who showed up unfortunately. It seems society is too busy these days and most families have a hard time slowing down.
Because I had given almost all my camping equipment away when we sold out four years ago I did not bring a large tent but instead brought a canopy, like the ones you find street vendors under, except I had walls for mine. It is much easier to set up and take down than a tent, is ten feet to a side and has more than enough headroom to stand comfortable anywhere within. A tarp for a floor and I was all set. Well. Almost. Did I tell you the reason Linda does not want to camp anymore? See, she thinks, and the kids all agree, that every time we go camping it rains. That is not true but the stories they remember and love retelling are the times we camped and it flooded, biblical proportions, according to them. Of course it rained a couple of time when we camped but not every time. But I digress.
Just as I started attaching the sidewalls to the canopy it began to rain a little. by the time I finished it was raining a lot. Not to worry, I have shelter, I am dry, well mostly. The extra wide cot Linda had given me for Christmas several years ago, along with the foam pad and a couple of chairs made my little home comfortable. Until, that is, the rain started finding holes in the canopy and the runoff started running through, making a small creek along one side of the shelter. It rained heavy for three or four hours. I had planned a steak supper but the stove was outside in the rain and I did not want to cook inside and get grease on the shelter. Kendra saved me. She had a pot pie already prepared and heated it and brought me a plate full. It was wonderful! Finally, before dark the rain abated. A tarp spread over the canopy took care of the roof and moving the shelter a couple of feet got rid of the creek running through. Next was getting a fire started. I had stopped on the way up and gathered up some firewood because I knew it would be scarce at the campground. It was dry when I unloaded it. Not now. Matt and I struggled for half an hour before we finally got a small fire going. The next morning we had the same challenge getting the fire going but by now had honed our technique and soon had a fire of wet wood burning.
That afternoon we found out that another couple had been in the area since Thursday but had camped in a different campground and more people came up for the afternoon so it ended up being a nice get together after all. I left mid-afternoon so I could get things cleaned up and put away before dark. In spite of a little rain it was a nice trip and I enjoyed getting to know Matt, Kendra and their daughter Jill better.
Sunday, after church and lunch with friends I went to New Castle where two young girls were being baptized. It is always exciting to see people turn their lives to God. The river is up a little and quite muddy from all the rains but that did not deter anyone. I remember crossing the bridge at Palisade during the summer and seeing people lined up in the river below in white robes waiting their turn to be baptized. Mother told me many years later that she had been baptized there as a girl.
Sunday afternoon I went to Fruita to pick up Linda and the dog. After being up on the mountain it felt hot and muggy. Still I was glad to be bringing them home. They too were glad to be home although I know they had a good time while there.
As I sit here and write this another thunderstorm is going overhead. Another last night. The ground is so wet Edie and I decided we did not need the irrigation water so we turned it back last week. In a year of heavy drought it seems strange to not need the water. According to the weather service the monsoons will start to wind down at weeks end for a while. We will be sorry to see them go. The river is the lowest I have ever seen it. The main channel at the Rifle bridge has no water at all in it, only the side channel and it is quite low. Many of the springs in the high country that always have a good flow are dry this year. Hay in this area normally goes for $100/ton will sell for $400/ton this year. In Texas, with a three year drought, most ranchers had to sell their entire herds because they either had no feed or could not afford to buy feed. The same thing may happen here if the drought lasts too long. Strange. Winter before last had record levels of snow and water. This year record lows.
Sorry this is so long but I wanted to bring you up to date on our adventures. Live well.