Thursday, September 13, 2012

Impromptu Camping

"Do you think my parents would want to take Zoey for the night?"

"Why? What do you want to do?"

"Go camping, just you and I; pack up all the liquor and beer and just sit in the woods and get blotto."

And that was how our clusterfuck impromptu camping Saturday began.

Jacob's parents were more than thrilled to have Zoey for the night, and once we propositioned the idea to Zoey, she couldn't stop talking about how she was going to Grandma and Grandpa's house. We finished breakfast and managed to finally leave the house at 11:30am. We drove Zoey to Columbus and figured we'd find a place to camp nearby so we could easily collect her the next day. But, of course, we needed nine-million things we forgot at home, or needed to pick up something in town, so it was back to Billings we went.

We got what we needed, picked up a few forgotten-and-decided-much-needed things from the house, concluded we weren't going anywhere remote without chips and chocolate, and we were back on the road around 3:30pm; to Taco Bell, about a mile from the house.

As we waited in the drive-thru line that was not moving, we joked at our pathetic selves, ideas of camping swimming in our heads, on the road for 4 hours and the most we made it was a few blocks from our house. To add insult to insult, we still hadn't determined where we were even going to camp yet. Since we had to go back to Billings, we thought we'd go South, East, or North - anywhere but West since that was where we had just come from. But with my limited knowledge of Montana - 3 years here and I still get frustratingly lost in Billings, but that is more a testament to my direction ability - it was up to Jacob to find us a home in the wilderness and he could only think of one place - in Red Lodge. We hemmed and hawed but ultimately decided to drive up there even though we wouldn't get there until after 5pm.

 Shortly after entering the camping area.

And get there after 5pm we did. Naturally, we opted for the campground arguably furthest from other people, 8 miles away, but it came at a bit of a price.

 This road; this wide; up the side of a mountain.

 With these-sized rocks both on the sides of the road, as well as in the road. (We're no scientists, but we're pretty sure they got there by glaciers.)

 Happy Jacob, finally getting to take the Trail Rated Jeep on something other than pavement and the dirt road to his parents' house. From what I know of cars, it did great.

 The road; just the beginning.

 Edge of the world.

 Scared out of my mind, but can't argue with the view!

 I gripped my seat belt, eyes bugged out, and hyperventilated as we drove through what I dubbed Rock Village. It looked like this straight up the side, across the road, and down the steep other side. It was definitely my least favorite part of the entire experience.

 It was shortly after Rock Village, though, that things evened out a bit. It was getting late, though, and the road would only get worse and more steep, so we soon decided to turn back.

This drive was/is my reoccurring nightmare. I have a few and most of them involve me on very high places. Coincidentally, this road happens to match one in which I'm driving on a small, barely-fits-my-car, one-lane road around a mountain. I keep waiting to have the nightmare, but it hasn't happened yet. I wonder if this experience has cured me of it.

On the way up, I was on the hill side. On the way down, I was to be on the drop-off side and there was no way I was going to handle that well at all. So my gallant husband offered to move everything around so I could sit in the back seat on the hill side. I still held on to everything I came in contact with like a life preserver, and, well, I guess you know we made it. We wondered if that was in fact the right road to the campsite and ultimately concluded that it must not have been. I learned later that I was wrong (I know, right; who saw that coming?!); the Glacier Lake Trail head is up there, easiest to get to by backpacking. That explains all the people we passed who were walking.

 Around 7pm (that's right; remember, people, we left the house at 11:30am) we finally found a suitable camping spot. It was actually quite perfect.

 Our site. No fire, of course, but we could pretend. We ended up getting so drunk, we didn't even realize it was cold.

 Yay for impromptu camping!

 The bar is open!

 Jacob, making a cup for me to drink out of. Yes, we planned that well.

 Thank you, Trailer Park Boys!

 Thanks for the sweater, Mom! I guess it did come in handy!

 Night time by Rock Creek.

 The candle lantern we borrowed from Jacob's dad. Although, in a fit of buzzed paranoia at a car headed in our direction, Jacob clamped his hand down over the top to put it out and scorched the doozy out of the palm of his hand. It hurt so much, he decided to drink more to ease the pain. It didn't work.

It goes without saying, we were up with the sun the next morning. We put our futon mattress in the back of the car with blankets, and while as comfortable as it was going to get in the car, it was pretty bloody uncomfortable. And friggin' freezing!

It also goes without saying, we weren't feeling so hot when we woke up the next morning, so going home was the only thing we really felt like doing. I had wanted to commune a little more with nature (by which I mean sitting in a chair, reading by the creek), but we just weren't feeling up to it. And you'd be surprised at how little time goes by before you miss your toilet.

 The morning sun coming through the mountains Sunday morning.

We got home around 9:30am. We cleaned, cleaned ourselves, made some food, was lazy, then headed to Jacob's parents' house to collect Zoey. There was no jubilant greeting, she was passed out cold on the living room floor. Spending the night with her cousins, Layne and Libby, and her aunt and grandparents, she was zonked and had absolutely zero interest in doing anything besides going to bed. She had a super-fun time, and Layne enjoyed that she's bigger now, pulling her this way and that saying, "Come play!"

There were some funny moments of our impromptu camping excursion that could have been not-so-funny, but we decided those are how you know you're with the right person; if you can laugh at the circumstances instead of fighting or blaming over them. After all of our joking, we're glad we didn't decide to just bag it and go home. Despite the hiccups, we had a great time and it was a lot of fun. Next time we'll plan a bit better, and maybe we won't wait until the season is just about over.