Monday, August 26, 2013

Fire Camp

R was out of town for a few days for the funeral, so I took time off to watch the kids. I figured this would be a good opportunity to go out camping again, so I planned an overnighter back to Fisher Creek -- the site of our ill-fated 4x4 expedition in July. The kids were pretty excited about it all.

Along the way, we took a side trip to stop at Elbow Falls to survey the flood damage Although 2 whole months had passed, the wounds looked very fresh. Half of a bridge was washed out. Most of the Elbow Falls picnic area was gone. Washed away. There were pathways that ended abruptly at a moonscape of gravel. Massive amount of debris had collected on picnic tables and benches. It was kind of creepy. And kind of awesome.

Since it was a Monday, we were the only campers in that area that afternoon. Scott was fixated on finding the little bridge that he and Hayden had built while the truck was stuck. We were surprised to find that road had been blocked off with a boulder barricade, because they had torn it all up, leaving dirt and roots and branches everywhere.

It was really hard to walk through it, and I tried my best to convince him that his bridge likely did not survive this sylvan apocalypse. He would not be deterred, so I carried Katie above the morass and amassed an enviable collection of scrapes on my uncovered shins until we reached the spot.

The bridge was gone. We built another one. A bigger one.

Walking back, we stayed in the trees, rather than taking the road. It was nearly as bad. Maybe worse. So much deadfall. But we did see some mushrooms, which was a plus.

I showed Scott how to build a fire using the tried-and-true "log cabin" method. He caught on pretty quickly and we had ourselves a fire in no time. Since there weren't any other kids to play with this time, we spent most of our time sitting around that fire, where Scott & Katie both always had a stick burning. I warned them MANY times that once a stick has been in the fire it needs to stay in the fire. In other words, don't wave burning sticks around in the air or near people.

Both kids got burned. It was inevitable.

Katie somehow bumped her stick lightly against her lip. It wasn't too bad, though. She was just fine. Later on, there was a bit of stick tangle and Scott's finger got burned. This one was much worse. He cried a lot and I got him some ice, but it even blistered a little bit. After that, stick-handling was officially verboten. I asked Scott if he was okay to stay, and he said he was.

Just before dusk we retired to the tent. The kids weren't too sleepy, so we ended up watching some shows on the DVD player. Scott continued to ice his burn. When we shut it down sometime just before 10:00 pm, he winced as he tried to take off his ice pack. I asked him if he needed to go home. He nodded.

Less than 10 minutes later I had jammed everything into the truck and we were out of there. The kids fell asleep immediately in their carseats and woke up the next morning in their beds. In a way, we got all the benefits of camping in the woods, but without the lumpy bed and that awkward feeling you get when you wake up too early with a "pressing need" but it's still way to chilly to actually get up and go.

I'm impressed that I managed to come home with the full set of tent stakes; however, I'm still not sure where the stuff-bag went for my sleeping bag. Maybe the flood dragged it away somehow.

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