Friday, June 28, 2013

The Rest of the Girls Camping Trip: Much More Like the Plan!

Wednesday began in a much different way than Monday and Tuesday in terms of weather.  In fact, by the time we'd reached the outskirts of Redding to a little country store for snacks, it was downright hot.  That changed in a hurry, though, as we climbed elevation in Lassen National Park to reach Bumpass Pass at 8500 feet.  Shrouded in cloud cover, it was downright frigid - evident by the patches of snow we were required to hike through to take the three mile roundtrip tour to Bumpass Hell.



I'd seen it before in 2007 when we did a stop by here on the way back from Lake Tahoe, but it still takes your breath away when you see the valley scene and how other-worldly it looks.  (And, how much it smells like sulfur!)

The kids were troopers getting past the snow berms, through the cloud cover, and withstanding the cliffsides and high elevation.  Ellie had to be woken up from Dramamine slumber and she was not a happy camper to consider hiking.  Proud of her for plowing through on our behalf.


The pictures and cloud cover don't do justice to just how beautiful the colors are. 

Lots of snow - in fact, I took a tumble (as did all of us at one point or another).  In my pocket I had our one pair of car keys, my prescription sunglasses, and my cell phone.  If I had to pick one to lose, I guess I'd choose the sunglasses, though they were very expensive when purchased a couple of years ago.  That's what I lost.  I had to take comfort that it wasn't the car a pickle we'd have been in.  I think it might have taken a while for AAA to make it there to rescue us!

We saw a few deer before exiting from Lassen Park and stopped at a very nostalgic country store with basic cabins to rent within the park.   I can't say it would be my first pick as to where to vacation, but it is a very cool place to visit.

Next stop - Subway Cave.

I will just leave it at this - after all of the caves we explored the previous year, this one was kind of overrated.  Glad we stopped by to see it, but we were in and out in no time.

Finally, by 6pm, we arrived at our happy Fowler's Campground.  We were shocked to discover only 2 spots still left open.  Yikes...major note to self...arrive before 3pm.  Fortunately, one of the two spots was ideal, in fact, in hindsight, one of the first we'd pick again if given the opportunity.  Apparently, the next morning, this guy liked it a lot too.  There ended up being "two guys" - Herbie and Harvey that were eager to eat any of the leftover Monster Cookies that were beyond their "days of goodness" for us humans.  They seemed to prefer the green M&M's from the cookies the best.

The next day, we opted to take a back roads adventure with the girls.  We didn't pick as well this year as we did the year before.  Yes, the scenery was gorgeous, but the roads felt a bit unsafe, a bit too high in the mountains - and way too long of a rough road stretch before we got to civilization.  Poor Mikayla ended up throwing up.  Yeah, kind of a thumbs down with that choice. 
Eventually, we made it back into McCloud - after suckering into a turn-off into what we expected to be a cute little town.  Instead, it's one of many abandoned "used-to-be-towns" that are all over that area left over from the heydays of logging.  I'm surprised they still keep the signs up. 

We made a quick stop at the Lower Falls to snap some pics and prove we'd visited.  =)

Eventually, we were back at the campsite, posing for the picture we'd expected to be able to take by at least Tuesday.  Better late than never!  =)

We all had our dinner favorites that night, and, of course, ended the evening with s'mores.

A few snapshots of what "camp as we know it" looks like:

Before we went to bed, we set up a little incentive with the girls.  We promised them that if we could get the campsite packed up "super fast", (requiring them to wake up early), we'd bypass making our own breakfast and take them instead to "Black Bear Diner" - a place they loved from the February adventure to California.  It worked.  They were super helpful and we were all very efficient.

I wish I could say the same for the efficiency of Black Bear Diner.  I'm pretty sure it took us less time to pack up our camp than it did for them to take our order and return with our food (much less return with a check or show up at the counter for me to pay for it).  It's not like I was on a deadline or anything - like maybe leaving the next morning at 5am for a nine day, eight state roadtrip.....

It didn't take long for this to happen.  They woke up for us to grab some Dairy Queen in Roseburg.  Shockingly, we made it home right around 3pm - just in time to meet up with Mom for her to do some body work on me to ensure a successful pain free upcoming trip (I guess ensure is a strong word...perhaps encourage when it comes to the stubbornness of my body!). 

On the way home we discussed ideas on things we'll do different and what we'll make sure we do again for next year.  I love these "Girls Trips"....and already, I can't wait for the next time.