Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gone Camping: Volume 2

As promised, here is the second half of my recent camping trip. (For volume 1, check out this post.)

Saturday Evening: 

After we returned to the campsite from our midday hike, Shannan and I decided to freshen up by taking showers (despite knowing that they would be with cold water), while the boys seemed perfectly content to play cards and stay dirty. The shower only let out a little bit of water at a time, so I had to keep pushing the button in between washing. It wasn't as cold as it could have been, but every so often, I could hear Shannan squeal, and I'm pretty sure she could also hear my sporadic squawking. After that amusing experience, we came back, squeaky clean, to our red-dirt campsite and promptly did nothing for a little while to recuperate from our tiring hike. I pulled out my guitar and started tinkering around, determined to get everyone in the mood for campfire songs later. We also got to see a little bit of the modest Ben W.'s guitar playing skills, as he played us a few finger-picking-heavy tunes.

Our hike had not only left us tired, but it also left us starving. So we started dinner a little early, making Campfire Burritos, a recipe I found on Pinterest that involves cooking and freezing taco meat in advance and then using it on the second day of camping, after it has thawed. It was a pretty genius idea.  It saved space by doubling as ice AND it was a super easy, so it's perfect for camping. While our assembled masterpieces sat on charcoal, the boys snuck behind the tent and discreetly poured glasses of wine for everyone, breaking the campsite's outrageous no-alcohol rule.

We finished our burritos, and needed to find a way to use the extra meat, beans and cheese that we had leftover. Since we had some chips, we decided made campfire nachos, a somewhat difficult dish to transfer to and from the fire pit, but worth the extra effort. At one point, I remember Shannan mentioning that one of the fun things about campfire cooking is the constant improvisation, and I couldn't agree more; when you need to find a way to get rid of food, it definitely inspires you to be creative.

Anyways, by the end of our semi-spontaneous feast, we were stuffed and tired. We retreated to the tent for a game of uno and some campfire singing to unwind after all our hard work for the day. But before calling it a night, we had just enough energy to go check out the dramatic sunset and to stuff ourselves even more with s'mores. Exhausted and ready for sleep, we headed to bed early to rest up after our activity-filled day.

Sunday Morning: 

We woke up still pretty tired from our hike and running out of energy, so we decided to pack up and end our lovely weekend of outdoor activities. But before we did, I made Ben––who had been making our charcoal fires the whole trip––teach me how to do it. Now, some of you may know this already but it turns out that you have to use a device called a charcoal chimney to get the fire started if you don't want your food to taste like lighter fluid. For those of you who don't know how it's done, the first step is to roll up some newspaper and put it in the bottom of the chimney as kindling. Then, you turn the chimney over and pour the charcoal into it and light the newspaper. Then it's just a waiting game; when the charcoals turn a grayish-white color, it's ready. This might sound silly to you all, but I was surprised at how easy it was to make fire and I was pretty proud that I had had my first "Ron Swanson moment", even if it was at the very end of the trip.

For breakfast, we improvised once again and made grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches, and also ate as much food as we could before packing up the car. This meant, of course, one more round of s'mores before the weekend was over. After filling our bellies, and before we knew it, we had packed up our things and were on our way home. The trip ended up being a wonderful adventure filled with new things to try. It also reminded me of how much I love being in nature (even when nature comes with raccoons), and I hope to be able to share another escape into the wilderness soon!

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