Monday, July 20, 2015

Camping: The Trip Where Everything Went Wrong, But It Was Still Alright

Oh-em-gee! Last week we made our way to Harney County, where I grew up and my parents still live. Brady dropped us off on his way to Idaho, which is where he was headed to judge the Miss Rodeo Idaho Pageant. At first, we thought we would all go with him, but it soon became apparent that he would be much too busy to spend any time with us. So while he was doing his service work, the kids and I decided we would hang out with Grandma and Papa. Our first order of business was something the kiddos absolutely love and look forward to every year - camping! I'm not much of a camper, myself, but I decided to throw caution to the wind, and of course I had a wonderful time. However, our trip to the forest wasn't without a bit of peril. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did, which mainly included the weather. But it didn't affect our good time one bit - we "made hay while the sun was shining" and we had a really, really good time! If you are wondering why I put these pictures of sheep on here, it is because that was the start of our troubles. Not only did we have rain showers to contend with, our first choice of a camping spot was already taken. By sheep! And the sheep herder. This actually turned out to be a blessing, though, because the road to this particular campsite was super rough, and we found a much better place closer to the lake. This was, however, the first time I have ever run across sheep in the forest.
"Looks like we made it!" "Cheers!"
We had to bring along my pug, Rozzy Girl, who is old, nearly blind and very hard of hearing (not to mention stubborn). I was a bit worried about having her with us in the forest, because I didn't want to lose her. My parents brought a spare harness they had , but it turns out she didn't really need it. She had more fun than anyone! And she made sure to stay very close to us. She and my dad are pretty close - Papa is her favorite person in the world, next to me. He spoils her! And he was very happy to see Rosin having such a good time. She was a perfect girl!
This is how our sky looked several times throughout the days. But there was sunshine, too! And torrential downpours. Thank goodness for a camper to hang out in! 
Happy Camper, Rosin.
Britt got a hold of the camera, again. Here I be!
Brailey found a patch of willows on our first hike, and she fell in love with them. She is crazy for willows! She likes to peel the skin off them. She spent a good share of her time in search of willows to peel. 
GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE! Lovely picture my dad took of my mom, Britt and I. Nothing like an early morning camping picture!
We enjoyed a delicious breakfast, complete with bacon, BBQ'd by my dad. And then, the BBQer stopped working, which was another little mishap and put a damper on plans for s'mores, since we couldn't have a fire. Oh well! We also enjoyed the best pancakes in the world made by my mom. Brailey and my mom's dog, another pug named Bucky, enjoyed a quick snuggle before we made our way outside. We were thrilled to see the sun shining!
We went for another quick, exploratory hike. We found this amazing stump that had pulled rocks up when it fell over, and they were all still in tact, wrapped in the roots. It almost looked like someone had put them there. And then, another little trial - my camera died. So the rest of the camping pictures are from my mom's camera, because I forgot to bring my camera charger. But not to worry - we did just fine with one camera! 

A good picture my mom took of her baby, Buckaroo.  Bucky for short.
The first day, upon our arrival at the lake, we encountered another, SURPRISE, rain storm, which turned into a hail storm, complete with thunder and lightening. So we waited it out, and then... Laaaaaaaaaa! Sunshine! Perfect fishing weather. Except we didn't catch a single fish, darn it. They were jumping right and left, right next to our hooks, but they didn't take the bait. We were using worms. What fish doesn't like a good worm? Oh well - we still had fun! 
An adorable family of ducks tried to join our fishing and crossed over our lines several times. It was a mama and eight little duckies. They were darling!
Just for clarification purposes, my dad doesn't smoke. He chews on cigars.
We spied a big old cloud rolling in, and so we headed back to camp, and no sooner did we get there, than the heavens opened again, dumping bucket loads of weather on us. Rain. Hail. More rain. So we had lunch, played a super fun card game, Triple Series, and when the bad weather stopped, we made the most of it by going on another fun hike.
The next day dawned sunny and beautiful, and so we tried our hand at fishing again, in a different spot. The folks next to us had several fish, and after we still didn't catch anything, Papa mosied on down to them to see what they were using, and it turns out they had "power bait," not worms. The kids still had a great time, though, trying their best to get a bite. And they got really good at casting! This was their first time fishing on a lake.
My mom and I finally got to visit for a spell. We usually don't get to talk as long as we would like to. This stump was the perfect spot to watch the fishers and to sit and visit. 
On our way back, we stopped and went on another hike. We found this really cool dead tree that had been burned and then fell into this shape. 
Britt found a fantastic old juniper tree to climb. Two of them, actually. So he climbed them both!
And then a quick lunch before packing up and heading "home." And just in the nick of time! No sooner had we pulled onto the road and the rain started again.
Another little mishap were these amazing and very old walkie talkies my dad has. They are from the seventies, or maybe even before then! They have super long attenaes, and they worked perfectly on previous camping trips. However, on this trip, they wouldn't work, for some reason. Britt and Papa tested them over and over to see how far they would reach, but it just wasn't very far. Have you ever seen such big walkie talkies in your life? These are usually extremely entertaining.
This is a cool stump that I would dearly LOVE to have in my yard. It even has a perfect "O" in it for Oregon, naturally formed by the roots. Wouldn't it be a cool yard ornament?
This is a massive beehive in the "Quakie Tree Reserve." You can see it in both of these pictures. You can also see the clouds that were rolling in just as we left.
On our way down the mountain, we stopped off for one more little hike. I finally did find a cool piece of wood for my yard, which we took to my parents' place, but we didn't have room to bring it home to Eugene, so it will have to remain in Harney County for a little while. The sun was shining, and the weather was perfect for our little walk!
There is nothing my dad loves more than the forest and camping (except for his family, of course). He was a hoot the entire time! And despite the less than stellar conditions and little obstacles we encountered (believe it or not, I'm leaving a fair amount of them out!), we all remained in good spirits and had a fantastic time. Which just goes to show, attitude really is everything! I am so glad I went camping, and I truly enjoyed myself. I loved every second of it, but I was happy to be home, as well. We came home to discover the entire county had been blasted with torrential downpours, as well, which even flooded downtown Burns and caused all the hay farmers hell with their hay crops. Stay tuned for another blog post on the rest of our visit - camping was just the tip of the iceberg!

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