Washington Camping Adventure: Day 6

I woke up early this morning and after walking to use the “facilities”, I came back to camp and guess who was waiting for me? L.B.! I chased him around the table a couple of times and he shot off of a tree. I’m not sure what he’s after because we cleaned all the food up before we went to bed last night. Perhaps he was just checking to make sure. I want to kill him and have him stuffed and mounted on my wall at home.

We declared today “shower day”. Swimming in the lake does a pretty good job of keeping the stink down, but we really felt the need to start fresh. The nearby Lake Quinault Lodge provides a shower for a small fee. This gives us a key card that will last for one day. It was so nice to feel the hot water! I no longer smell like a campfire! I’m sure I will by tomorrow, but I still feel great at the moment.

We had to spend some time at the lodge to use their Wi-Fi signal. Megan is having a situation with her dog, Hobbit. Her dad is taking care of him, but he needs to be out of town soon. She finally found a place for Hobbit and had to make all kinds of arrangements. We were getting hungry for lunch and so we ate at the lodge restaurant. I had my first Monte Christo sandwich (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled though). What a funky combination of flavors! Megan had a salad.

We were getting hungry for lunch and so we ate at the lodge restaurant. I had my first Monte Christo sandwich (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled). What a funky combination of flavors! Megan had a salad.

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It was laundry day! About a mile down the road we found a laundromat and spent about an hour washing and drying our clothes. While we waited for our clothes, we sat in some grass on the edge of the lake, chatted and listen to some music.

It was time to check out Forks! This happens to be one of the items on my bucket list! Now before you judge me: I wanted to see forks since I serve a mission here. This is because one of the missionaries who served here told me that to live in Forks, you have to have either a lazy eye or finger missing. This was back in 1994 and if you do the math, that was way before the Twilight Saga came out. But on the subject of Twilight, GO TEAM EDWARD!

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We got to the town, we could see that EVERYBODY was trying to capitalize off of the Twilight frenzy. Megan even pointed out a sign that read “Twilight Firewood”. It made us both laugh!

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Next we went to visit the first beach that La Push (Remember the scene where the friends all went surfing and Jacob hinted to Bella about the vampires?). Such a beautiful beach!

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We found some clam chowder at a restaurant called The River’s Edge where we both had the clam chowder. I ordered a delicious seafood Alfredo, and Megan not only fell off the HCG wagon, but she seems to have lit the damn thing on fire!

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On our ride back to camp, Megan came up with a brilliant plan! It was about an hour before sunset and so she suggested that we go find a beach nearby and watch the sunset. I took way too many pictures, but I feel like they turned out really great! Here are some of my favorites.

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Today’s quote: “It was like a movie, only we had our clothes on.”

Washington Camping Adventure: Day 5

Back when I was a Boy Scout, we would go to Camp Geronimo every summer, somewhere in northern Arizona. Each year I was there, I would join the polar bear club. This is when you would wake up way before the dawn and head down to the pool. Before you realize how incredibly stupid this is, you jump into the water. For doing this, you get a patch with the polar bear on it. The reason this is doable is because the water is actually warmer than the pool and the breeze hits you.

When I first woke up this morning, the sun wasn’t quite out yet. I thought I’d recreate the whole polar bear club experience. I put on my swimming trunks and climbed down the steep hill to the lake below. I slowly put in one foot, then the other. It really wasn’t that bad. Well, now worse than it had been when we had jumped in the lake yesterday. I ease my way into the water, ever so slowly, like some kind of cruel self-torture. I got in as deep as my upper chest and then decided that was enough. I turned around and made my way back to the shore. As cold as it was, it was extremely peaceful. None of the other campers were awake and I felt as if the entire lake was mine at that moment.

When I’d climbed back up to the camp, Megan was finally up and stirring. I started a fire and put the kettle near the coals to give us some hot water. I had 2 cups of hot chocolate and she had some tea. We felt that today would be a great day for hiking!

We found the trail that led us up to Gaton Creek Falls. All in all, we think we hike somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 miles. The trails here seem to be very well-made and maintained.

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We finished our hike and even though we had eaten plenty of wild raspberries and huckleberries along the way, We both felt like it was a perfect time to find some lunch. Up to this point, we hadn’t run across Edward, Bella or any of the other Cullen family on our adventures. This is the real reason we are up here if I’m honest. I have a crush on Alice and would like to be available for her rebound if she ever breaks up with Jasper.

I built another fire to roast some hotdogs and Megan had some shrimp salad. We then decided that it was time to take a nap. I’m not sure how long we slept, but I felt like it was at least a good hour. When I woke, I noticed that there was a hole in the bottom of my hotdog buns bag. Some critter had climbed up onto our picnic table while we snoozed and had chewed a hole in the bottom of the bag. I noticed that it had also eaten about a quarter of our hot dog buns. I sat near the fire, waiting to see if this thief would show up again.

Sure enough! From out of the forest came a little squirrel. Megan wanted to name him Felix (because nobody would expect that) but I chose to call him the little bastard, or “L.B.” for short. That is what I call the person/animal/creature that eats my food while I’m napping. After we scared him off, L.B. returned a third, fourth, and even fifth time. I decided to throw rocks at him and even though I did hit him once, I thought I could hear him laughing at me as he turned his hind quarters in my direction and scampered off. I’m going to kill him.

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This afternoon, we went swimming again. This time I ease myself into the water up to my stomach and decided to “cowboy up” and just make the plunge. So cold, but so refreshing! I turned around to talk to Megan who hadn’t yet plunged in. “Cowgirl up!” I called to her. She did. Like me, she squealed as she came up from a slow, chilled death.

Our second attempt at TFDs was an even greater success. This time, instead of putting in onion soup mix, all I put in was salt. I hollowed out the middle of the meat pack and put in some sharp cheddar cheese. The onion soup mix was good the previous night but masked the taste of the buffalo. This time I cooked it less. Instead of 15 minutes on either side, I did about 11 minutes on either side. I could really taste the gamey buffalo.

Today’s quoted:

  1. “Don’t fall! I haven’t seen your pictures yet!”
  2. “Nature is beautiful, unless you’re a cephalopod.”

Washington Camping Adventure: Day 4

I woke up at about 06:00 this morning- I got such a good night’s sleep! As I lay there thinking, deciding if I want to get up or try to fall back asleep, I heard a noise in the trees behind my tent. I think it was a deer (or some other animal) relieving itself. I could tell that it was an animal that was a bit taller because I could hear it’s stream hitting the forest floor. It was gone by the time I unzipped my tent flap and stepped out.

The morning was so peaceful and calm! I ate some cereal while looking out over the lake. It was perfect! The thick clouds on the water made it impossible to see the opposite shore. Very peaceful- further proof that God loves us!

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When Megan woke up we decided that we need to head into town to get some more groceries and supplies. Also, she is doing an online Master’s program and she needed to find a strong Internet connection to be able to stream some required videos for her class. Before we left camp, I decided to shave. I haven’t been clean shaven since April of last year.

We drove into Hoquiam first and a flood of memories and emotions came back. This was one of the areas where I served as a missionary back in 1994. I told her about the convert who ended up cheating on his wife, the car salesman who was truly converted, the less-active woman who had about 26 cats, a member who was a postal carrier named Cliff (Remember Cheers? Seriously!) and the ward bishop who day-jobbed as an O.B.G.Y.N. I showed her one of the apartments that I once lived in.

We stopped to use the wifi at Starbucks, and since was feeling nostalgic, I looked up one of the men who I helped teach the gospel to when I lived up here. The closest match on the white pages.com was a family in Yakima, Washington. I dialed the number and his wife answer the phone. She recognized my name on her collar ID immediately and wondered if it was actually me. We chatted for about 10 minutes and I tried to hold back tears she told me about how good that most of the members of her family were doing.

After we finished up at Starbucks, it was time to head over to the Walmart and get some food. I grab some buffalo meat, some onion soup mix, and some cheese so that I could make a tinfoil dinner (or TFD as Megan taught me today). I never actually made my own before, but ever since the time I was a young Boy Scout, I’ve eaten the ones my mom had made for me. They’re delicious! I ask myself- how hard can it be?

I wanted Megan to see the Pacific ocean on our way back (this would mean that she has seen both oceans in this calendar year) so we drove to Ocean Shores, another area where I had once served. When we reached the coast, it was a cold, overcast and windy day. Not really beach weather, but it was nice to behold the majestic power of the… blah blah blah… hand of God… blah blah blah… mother nature… blah blah blah… sasquatch!

We drove north on the coastal highway until we reached the tiny town of Pacific Beach. We managed to drive right off the road, and onto the actual beach, as Ryan Butterfield and I had done, so many years ago- I wanted to show her how we used to drive the mission car down the beach (nobody tell my mission president, please) but we got a little deeper than I’d expected. I had my driver-side window down and I got splashed a little bit. This, my friends, is reason #489 of why you shouldn’t let me rent a car from your company.

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Forty-five minutes later, we made it back to camp. It was 78° and so I talked Megan into jumping into the lake with me. Now when I say “jumping in”,  what I actually mean is very, very slowly, easily, making my way into the ice-cold mountain lake. Body part after body part (you know the ones I’m referring to) going numb. Finally, after 20 minutes or so of screeching like a couple of babies, we made it up to our necks and were even able to swim out for a few minutes. We took turns snapping pictures of our “manliness” or “womanliness” if you will.

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Our buffalo TFDs were a hit! Even though I accidentally cut into Megan’s foil a wee bit, I’m pretty sure that fire ash in your meat is actually healthy for you. It gives you fibre or something like that.

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Today’s quotes:

  1. “Yeah, right! They’d freeze their freakin’ nards off!”
  2. “That’s HCG approved!” (referring to the nasty beach foam)
  3. “There’s a big difference between testicles and Shakespeare!”
  4. “You didn’t sparkle and you’re not craving blood!”
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And this is how we camp. Please make note of the Macbook Pro, iPad, iPhones, etc.

 

 

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Leaving our motel this morning, we saw this sign. Now that’s what I call one-stop shopping!

This morning I woke up at about 05:10. I tried so hard to fall back to sleep but ended up just laying there. I finally rolled out of bed at about 06:45 when Megan finally woke up. We were slowly getting ready, and it dawned on me that Megan really needs a blog. Most of what she says makes sense, and she usually makes me laugh. I figure the world needs to listen to her rants. FYI you can read her version of these events by going to http://roxiemegs.tumblr.com. Note: If her report of the events that transpire aren’t the same as my report, she’s the liar, not me.

We had just over three hours to drive this morning, and we made it to the beautiful Lake Quinault Lodge in Quinault, Washington. We walked around the grounds for a few minutes because Megan saw one of her favorite flowers, so we had to take some pictures of them.

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We asked the front desk about campsites, and they gave us a map. We first checked out Falls Creek. This is the campsite where they told me I needed to stay because it was “the best.” When we found it, I asked the camp host about staying nearby, and she told me that we were out of luck because they had just closed Falls Creek for the season. We continued down the road and found another campground.

The spot was very nice because it had a little beach, right on the lake. We met a lovely couple from British Columbia who were considering staying there too. Out of the goodness of our heart, we gave them first pick of spots, and we were ready to select a site nearby. We thought we’d first need to check out the third campground, Willaby Creek.

Willaby Creek is also on the water, but it’s higher up, so you have to actually hike down a steep bank to get to the lake. The camping spot with no neighboring campers (at the time) that would easily fit both of our tents. We decided that this would be the best place for us to camp. As we stood there, admiring the location, the camp-leader-guy (I don’t know his official title, so I gave him that one) came up and asked us if we were interested in camping here.

He asked us where we were from and when we told him Kentucky and Utah, he quickly launched into his pro-Romney, anti-Obama speech about how he hoped that our next President was going to be Mitt Romney. We laughed and joined in the conversation and pretty much agreed with everything he had to say. He went as far as telling us that he and his wife had even prayed about it and knew that they were supposed to support Mitt Romney.

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This afternoon, we went on our first hike. We did about 2 ½ miles. It was a nice and slow walk, especially in the first half. This is because we were rather camera-happy. I told Megan that the challenge is to take at least 20 steps before taking another picture. We failed that challenge miserably. I thought that the 60 photos that I took were a little excessive, but then Megan told me that she had taken 141. Geez, girl!

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Washington Camping Adventure: Day 1

Last night when I arrived in Salt Lake City, my cousin Megan was there to give me a ride to my folks’ house. We were both hungry, so we stopped in Layton at a really great sushi restaurant called Osaka (something-or-rather). This was both our first time eating here, as one of Megan’s friends told her to try it out. I must say this sushi was incredible!

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On the drive, I asked Megan if she wanted to go camping with me. To my surprise and delight, she said yes! When I go on these adventures, it’s not that I want to necessarily go alone, it’s just that I’m so used to hearing friends and family tell me that they can’t or don’t want to go. Rather than wait and plan a trip around somebody else’s schedule, I tend to just go ahead and have a great time without anybody. When I get to a new place I’m pretty good at chatting up strangers and making new friends- that sort of thing, so I’m really not alone for very long. Up until right before I had asked her to join me, the idea hadn’t really dawned on me. This trip alone will now turn into some family bonding time.

When I get to a new place I’m pretty good at chatting up strangers and making new friends- that sort of thing, so I’m really not alone for very long. Up until right before I had asked her to join me, the idea hadn’t really dawned on me. This trip alone will now turn into some family bonding time.