Monday, July 15, 2013

Camping Stories of Fishing and Fire and Broken Toilets. Oh My.

You know what I love about camping?

I love sitting by the campfire, staring into the flames and thinking about everything and nothing.

I love listening to my itunes classic country playlist (with a little classic rock thrown in there too).

I love being with my family, unplugged and away from work, the bills, traffic, housework, laundry...etc.

I love fishing even when I don't catch anything.

I love drinking my coffee while listening to the birds and watching the morning sun shine through the trees.

I just love it all.

This year we went to Panguitch Lake, Utah. Did I tell you guys that in a prior post? I can't remember what I told you and what I didn't, because I know I've been talking about this trip for a month now. Anyhoo, it was beautiful. I shared a couple pictures in my Friday Frag post, but here's a few more:

Campground at Panguitch Lake
Do you smell the pine? Or maybe that's the bathroom not far away. I tell you the truth, I would be ok with an outhouse, if I had this view out the peephole everyday.

View from a scenic outlook of Cedar Breaks
This is Cedar Breaks, which is right near Panguitch.

View from an outlook point of Cedar Breaks
It's gorgeous, no?

Beautiful pine trees with the suns rays streaming through
The morning sun through the trees.

Me and my sissy. I'm on the left. I'm so not photogenic.

So, I'm sure you're all on the edge of your computer chairs, wondering how the fishing went. After all, we did have a fishing lesson and everything. Well, in the words of NASA as they described the Apollo 13 mission, it was a Successful Failure.

Oh, we spit on the marshmallows, and rigged our poles (well, actually, my uncle rigged them before we got up there), and tried the neon green bait, but them fish just weren't 'a bitin. Not to mention, the darn marshallows would not stay on the hooks. And they made a sticky gooey mess, which I proceeded to get all over my reel.

The best way to tell you exactly what happened is to *ahem* comic-fy it, of course!

So the chick with the weird looking blue hat on (in the comic) is me. It's supposed to me my "adventure hat" which I wear whenever I camp. It's the one I'm wearing above, in my picture with my sister. 

I used to have a cool adventure hat, like the one my sister is wearing (which we both bought in Zion), but I lost mine in the Virgin river when I dove off my inner tube and into the water to pull my little cousin out who had slipped off her inner tube. It sounds quite heroic when I say it like that, but it really wasn't a big deal - there were like, 4 of us with her and we all dove in after her, so she was fine.

The only casualty was my great hat. I had bought it a couple years prior, so when I went back to the same store to get it, they didn't have it anymore.

But, I digress. Back to my comic. I'm the one in the dorky blue hat and my sister is in the baseball cap. It was the closest thing to her adventure hat they had. In comic world. So here's my comic story of our fishing escapade:

(Click on the little 4 arrow thingy in the lower right corner of the comic to make it bigger)

Yup, that's pretty much how it went. I say it was a Successful Failure because we failed at catching any fish, but succeeded at relaxing by the water and enjoying the scenery. And that was just fine too.

I have to say, the campsites where we were (North campground at Panguitch Lake) were very nicely kept up. The camp hosts drove around in their little cart quite often to make sure everything was going smoothly for everybody.

The only negative is that the electricity went out in several nearby towns, which affected the pump that makes the toilets flush. (Oh yeah, at this campground they had flush toilets which I thought was real nice...except when the pump goes out and you can't use them).

So all the campsites - 30 or 40 - had to use one bathroom for one night. We stood in line for about 30 minutes and let me tell you, if there was ever a time I wished I were a guy, it was then. I could have just peed on a tree and been done with it.

But on the upside, we learned a little jingle while we were waiting in line. It goes like this:
"If it's yellow, let it mellow, but if it's brown, flush it down."

Catchy, ain't it? It's a helpful little ditty to remember when you have to conserve flushes.

Fortunately, the bathroom incident only lasted one night for a couple hours and all was well. Of course, to my sister, it didn't matter because she kept a coffee can in her tent which she used in the middle of the night.

I know.

I just hold it in the middle of the night cause in the cold and dark I ain't walking to the bathroom. Not my sister, she just pees in her can. Her husband thought it was such a good idea that he instructed their 8 year old son to do the same thing when he had to pee in the middle of the night.

This is your typical 8 year old boy, mind you, that can't even manage to make it into a toilet, let alone a 5-inch coffee can. Need I say more? They had to wash just about everything in the tent the next morning. Not fun.

On my list for next year is a porta-potty with a privacy tent thingy. Just in case of any more bathroom kerfuffles. (I always thought this was pronounced ca-fauff-el. I just googled the spelling and it looks like ker-fuffle. Huh. I've been saying it wrong this whole time. What a kerfuffle!)

This would work just fine with a poop bucket inside. It's on my wish list! Right underneath one of those baseball hats with the two beer holders and long straws. Please don't go - I'm just kidding! No really, I want one of these. 

Oh yeah, I forgot to show you our tent! This is the easy-up tent we got from Wal-Mart. I loved it! it was roomy enough inside for the two of us, and tall enough for my 6' 3" hubby to stand up inside. It rained on and off the whole time and not a drop got in the tent:

Isn't that the perfect spot between those two trees? It was nice and shady for hubby to nap.
Oh, so yeah, the weather. It did rain on and off, but I really didn't mind because we had an awning which we put over the picnic table. So whenever it rained, we all just gathered under it and played cards or whatever. This is the first year we bought an awning and I should have done it soooo much sooner. It was a lifesaver.

Matter of fact, one late afternoon, it started to sprinkle and was very cloudy and we knew it would not be "sittin around the fire weather". So we pulled the awning so it half covered the table, and half covered the firepit and we were able to sit by the fire out of the rain. 

And there's a story that goes along with that.

You see, my sister had a fire already going at her campsite next to us. We were going to sit around her fire, because her campsite had more room around the firepit than mine did. But the rain kind of changed that plan. Only she didn't have an awning and we didn't want to move ours all the way over to her campsite.

So my uncle had this idea that we could move her fire over to our firepit by carrying it. In a cardboard box. 

I know. 

He and my sister put the hot logs into a cardboard box and my sister starts carrying it over to our campground. Then my uncle tells her she better hurry. So she begins to run. Which fans the logs. 

Do you see where this is going?

Halfway to our campsite, which thankfully, was right next to hers, flames begin shooting out of the box. She begins to run faster and drops the whole mess into our firepit.

Now, I'm just sitting by our firepit thinking how calm and nice the campground is, when I look up and see my sister running towards me with a box on fire. A tad unnerving.

But all was well, and we ended up with a nice roaring fire (no doubt due to the nice cardboard kindling) and we were dry.

You didn't think I'd tell this story without a comic to illustrate it now, did you?

Yup, that's pretty much how it went.

Oh, and speaking of fires, remember my sister's fire starters which she made out of lint, egg cartons, and wax? Well, by golly if they didn't work great! Who knew? I hate admitting when she's right.

Oh, and also speaking of fires, the forest fire I mentioned in my last post, which is in nearby Mt. Charleston, is now 70% contained! Such good news!

Yes, I get the irony of us almost burning down the woods at Panguitch Lake and me being relieved the fire at Charleston is almost out.

So I'll end this post now, but just wanted to tell you one more thing we did on our trip.

Several years ago, we spread some of my dad's ashes at a nearby camping area, a place he used to take us often. We've camped there several times since then and always went to the place and said hello. But we haven't been back there in about 3 years. So since we were nearby, my sister, my uncle (my dad's youngest brother AKA Roger in the cartoon), and I went by to see dad.

We had heard they changed the campground quite a bit and moved spots and we weren't sure if we could find the spot where he was, or if we could still access it. We were relieved that we could.

It was good to say hi. It's such a familiar, happy place for us all. We wished dad could have been there with us on all the camping trips my sister, brother, and I have taken since he's been gone. But we knew he was there with us, really. No camping trip is complete without us telling a story or two about my dad while we're sitting around the fire. I'm sure he was listening. Probably correcting us when we got the details wrong.

My uncle told us that dad had taken us to Panguitch Lake a couple times too. I never knew that. I began to think about the fact that campsites have been around for decades, and have seen lots of families come and go. I wish I'd known which spots we had camped in because I wondered if I stood in those spots long enough, would I hear or see ripples of our past time there? Would I see dad for just a minute?

Probably not, because someone would be honking, yelling at the crazy lady to get out of their campsite.

Anyway, it was a great trip and I'm ready to camp again. I'm thinking of taking a girl's camping trip with just my sister and my cousin in September. We'll see if we can swing it.

Thanks for indulging me and reading this post and I'll talk to y'all later. And sorry for the constant redneck English. Camping brings it out in me.

Campy Me,


Fred J said...

1. VERY little classic rock.

2. So the marshmallows stuck to everything but the hook? Perhaps you were using them wrong. Did you read the instructions?

3. My favorite thing about camping is playing Bad Piggies on my phone or reading something I've already read on my Kindle or scouting for the nearest general-store-ish establishment that sells ice cream sandwiches.

4. b o N N N i e ! Joker to my Batman! Israel to my Palestine! Oompa to my Loompa! Dingon to my Vulcan! Smurfette to my Gargamel! Itchy to my Scratchy! Aunt to my Aardvark! Trunk to my Monkey! I think you get the idea - I love her... but I also shoot her with Air-Soft battery-powered fully-automatic plastic pellet machine guns. I don't like doing it... but it's often necessary.

5. The name Panguitch Lake is nothing if not misleading - I was so looking forward to seeing the cute little panguitches frollicking on the shoreline in their little tuxedos... I saw zero. Not one @#$% panguitch! You go to 'Panguitch Lake', you kinda expect to see a panguitch or two. What, have they been hunted to extinction?? MALFEASANCE! Obviously the work of carpetbaggers, grifters, and usurpers! Pleh!

6. I don't have a Six. I poured my heart and soul into Five above, and have nothing left for Six. I am sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

Suburban Correspondent said...

At first, I thought you were crazy. Love camping? And then I realized that you aren't camping with kids. I might find camping relaxing, too, if I weren't traipsing back and forth to the bathrooms with the girls all the time and settling fights over who sits where around the fire and who sleeps where in the camper. As it is, I grit my teeth and deal with it and dream of home.

Those are gorgeous pictures, though. Now I want to haul the trailer out West.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Oh, I just read your "About Me" page. You do have grown kids - did you enjoy camping with them when they were young? What's the secret? Tell me!

Terra Heck said...

Beautiful scenery! Sounds like it was a fun camping trip. The comics cracked me up. I go camping every weekend. Or, more like, go camping in a camper every weekend. We have a permanent site at a local campground but have all the amenities so it's not really roughin' it. I love to tent camp and our family did for several years. It's more peaceful and more in tune with nature. The biggest downside, though, was taking everything and the kitchen sink with us when we went. (We have a large family). That, and EVERY TIME it rained, our tent would fail and everything would be drenched.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a gorgeous place! You are so lucky! I never catch anything fishing and end up giving up after about an hour or so. I'm usually happy to sit in the boat or on the shoreline and just take in the scenery though.

The portapotty could be a lifesafer. Flush toilets are a luxury!

Glad you got to reminisce about your Dad and share some memories while making some new ones. Loved your comics too.

Doreen McGettigan said...

The pictures are breathtaking. I had no idea Utah is that beautiful. I am so not a camper but I may have to give it another shot:)
Which Zion are you referring to, where is it? I used to live in Zion, Illinois ...
My husband spread the ashes of his 17-year-old son on the beach our family 80+ of us visits for a week every June. It is comforting to be able to say hello and feel his presence.
What was your sister thinking with that fire??? It was hysterical but wow it really could have been bad.