Back in the BackWoods
Camping in the US Forest Service area is a whole different ball game then going into some nice laid out, running water, real toilets, garbage service, populated campgrounds.
We armed ourselves with a tent, two sleeping bags, a rifle, and a couple cans of spam.
We should’ve known what we were getting into when ducked off the paved road and continued forward down the road marked “Primitive Road: No warning Signs”. Only 16 miles to our planned destination site, this shouldn’t take too long…
This road is not for the faint of heart. On one side: a sharp drop-off with remnants of burnt trees from past forest fires to break your fall. On the other side: sheer rock cliffs.
There’s nowhere to turn around even if you wanted to, and meeting another car head on would result in some pretty precise reverse maneuvers. The narrow road is unpaved and lined with fallen rocks and burnt trunks. The smell of regurgitated dog food fills the inside of the truck cab due to the bumpy ride and elevation change. One and a half hours later, and a few stops to move the obstacles out of our way we reached as far as we could go.
We were stopped one mile short by a snow-covered road. Apparently 6,300 feet was as far as we were getting. Bummed we couldn’t continue any further we stopped for a brisk snowball fight and an amazing few of North Lake. Stehikin seems even more appealing now that we’ve glanced even further up lake.
Luckily the road widened a bit and after a 7 point turn around, and we were headed the opposite direction again. Winding down through the fire destroyed forest.
We pulled in at 4,300 feet and a brisk 52 degree Fahrenheit and set up camp with an excellent view of the Lake.
With the tent up and a fire started we boiled some water to sit down for a cup of noodles. Sure out here you could have your traditional hot dog and hamburger campground feast, with the baked beans, and potato salad. If you want to share with the bears while you’re snoring away safe inside your nylon tent.
The sun started to set and the wind kicked up. Sure a nice brisk breeze is welcomed while you sit around a campfire and roast marshmallows. But there was nothing nice or brisk about it. It was the bone chilling, blow anything that isn’t buckled down type of wind. Tarps were rigged up to block some wind just in time for the wind to switch directions and come in from the other side. After moving the tent three times, and figuring out we should use the truck as our wind shield since it was much easier to move with the indecisive wind situation we had going on.
Tummies warmed, dirty faces wiped, book read and the fire dying down and we headed off to sleep for the night.
Sleep is a relative term when you know what lurks around in the darkness. The boys slipped into a single sleeping bag and after a few moments of giggles they were oblivious to everything around them.
Ranger and i slipped a little more snugly into our other single sleeping bag and closed our eyes.
It had been so peaceful.
No other people around for miles. No cars buzzing by. It was so quiet. But once night hits the noises come out. The wind howls and roars like the crashing of ocean waves. The trees creak and wine as they bend with each blow of the wind. The tent flaps whip up and down acting as if they will fly away at any moment. And with every slight brushing noise you jerk awake waiting for a’roar’ to follow. Sleep is a relative term.
Morning comes early in nature. The wind dies down. The little squirrels think it’s their duty to sing as the sun rises. Sitting on the tree. Right outside the tent. Cute little constant squeaks. Never ending squeaks. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.
They aren’t so cute at 5:30am.
But whether your ready or not the sun rises.
A simple “How did you sleep last night?”. Is followed with “Awful. I was too close to you. I couldn’t get away.”
The feeling was mutual as we both laughed. *Must buy at least one additional sleeping bag.
Breakfast and a hike came after coffee. Up there it’s chilly till afternoon hits so find ways to keep moving. And when a little boy comes to you saying “mom i have to poop” you know it’s going to be an interesting next few moments.
Fried Spam and peanut butter were on the menu. Not because it’s what we choose to have, but it’s all we had. If you think it sounds repulsive you are not alone. But when you’re alone, in a forest everything seems to taste a whole lot better.
We didn’t do too bad for our first real backwoods camping trip. We were about half prepared i guess you could say. It was worth it though. We didn’t see a human soul the entire time we were out there and that is what we were wanting.
It was a nice break. We were free.
As we rolled into the Park friday night cars were lined up to camp, fires were blazing, people were screaming, and we longed to be back in the wind changing, bear infested mountain we had just left.