We awoke to find our feet still very much alive and attached to our legs, to our amazement and wonder. At some point in the night, sleeping under two layers of flannel and a space blanket tarp thing I had tucked my head in as far as I could and wrapped the whole thing around my head. The tarp/silver space blanket (spblanket?) had trapped all the condensation from my breath and it was the dripping of my own mouth juices (mmm... mouth juices...) on my face that ripped me from the warm, heavy, pillowy, bosom of sleep. They should market that- an alarm clock that splashes you with your own spit. That's my Free Patent Idea for the Year. Go forth, make millions. My gift to you.
After stuffing our faces with Power Bars we set out for a hike to the "Citadel", a formation of rock at the top of a cliff that overlooks the canyon below. As I walked in the now 80° sun (in stark contrast to the previous night) I told myself to remember the dogwood petals on the ground, Esther's smile, the way the sunlight made patterns through the overhanging leaves above the trail... ah, nature...
What only sounded like a wild boar falling from the top of a tree (you know, all perched up there like a ninja waiting to shiv me with its tusks) was in reality a rather large turkey vulture falling over like a fifteen-year-old boy trying to walk and, well do anything. I know, because I heard this same noise later in the day as Jake came out of his tent. Naturally Esther and I ventured closer and found a great view from the scenic overlook that appears well before the actual top of the "Citadel".
There was also a geocache at the top of the climb, but out of respect for my fellow geocachers, and no small amount of fear for my own life, I shall not speak of further to avoid spoiling the surprise for any future seekers. I will however embed a link SOMEWHERE inconspicuous to all but the well trained eye. If you don't know what geocaching is, then you either found this blog trying to hunt me down because I broke your daughter's heart twenty years ago or you just don't actually read my Facebook status updates.
On the way down the trail and back to camp there was much taking of pictures of flowers whose names I will never remember (because I married somebody that will) and also talk about if we would risk our very toes to another possible battle royal with frostbite.
To show the weather that we meant business and were not going to give into its terrorist demands, most of us took off large portions of our clothes and at least partially submerged our bodies into the scrotum-shrinking waters next to our campsite. By "most of us" I mean those of us that are part monkey...
...or all mop-headed Jack-weasel and in search of yummy leaves to catch and kill.
The creek was full of salamanders! Just standing in one spot I saw more salamanders than have appeared in all of the last ten years of Disney-Pixar films combined, including the ones that nobody liked!
There was more discussion about the weather. It was supposed to be ten whole degrees warmer on Sunday night than it had been on Saturday night. Ten entire degrees! That's the difference between your refrigerator at home and the refrigerator at the Wavaho where they keep the chicken salad! If deadly bacteria could grow and thrive in those precious extra ten degrees then, by heck, so might we!
Then everybody else ganged up on me and made me swear to tell everybody that, and I quote, "it was decided that in the best interest of the health and happiness of our young children we called it a learning experience and gathered up our things to hike up and out of the canyon."
Along the way there was some lazing about at Linden Meadows where the Lacefields, the owners, have set up a sort of mid-point reprieve to fill up your water bottles before making the climb up the trail and back to your car. Melted chocolate was consumed and we all sort of noticed at the same time that Jake's backpack looked somehow both larger yet lighter than all the other backpacks. Jake denies any such re-distribution of accouterments and outright refuses to acknowledge the strange shortage of bungee cords that was discovered during the grand absquatulation earlier in the day.
There's only one way to properly sum up and tally the quality of a good camping trip. Here's the score:
Me - 7 ticks
Jake - between 14 and 20 ticks (he did sleep with the dog, after all...)
Chan - 6 ticks
Ben - 5 ticks
Esther - 0 ticks (she attributes this to a complete lack of body heat and good clean living)
All the pictures from day two of our hike can be viewed here.