We did not encounter a bear on our hike. This is a really good thing, considering that B and C had decided that they could totally handle the bear: they would throw a rock at his head, which would either hit him in the eye, damage his brain, and kill him instantly, or would miss his eye but still hit his head and knock him unconscious so we could make our great escape.
When we arrived back at our campsite, we were in high spirits, but soaked. The rain had lasted long enough to drench the knee-length grass we were walking through, so our socks, shoes, and pants were saturated. When I walked over to the clothesline, though, I was relieved to find that the towels and sheets hanging there were barely damp, and would probably be completely dry in an hour or so.
We stripped off our soggy shoes and socks and draped them over the cement edges of our fire pit to dry. The fire pit was basically shaped like a C, with one side open so that you could add wood without lifting up the grill grate on top. When we had a good fire going, we settled in around the picnic table, which was no longer shoved under a sagging tarp, and played Apples to Apples Junior while we ate snacks. As Kathy was required to continue to slam her her hand on the top of her beer to open it, we realized we hadn't bought a can opener while we were in town (although we did pick up milk and sugar!). When it was time to cook the dinner, we pulled out two cans of beans we could not open.
We settled on a group of bikers to ask for a can opener. I walked down the hill to their site with a can of beans in each hand, while Kathy added another log to the fire. After a while, kind of out of nowhere, a log rolled out of the open side of the fire pit and headed toward our picnic table. PANIC! Kathy tried to use a stick to pick up the flaming log and shove it back into the fire, while I stomped on smoldering bits of ash that were scattered around the ground. At least it was wet. When Kathy had the log almost back in, A screamed, "Your pants are on fire!" Although we had been diligently moving our stuff away from the fire as it dried so that it would not catch on fire, we were distracted by the flaming log rolling toward us, and didn't notice when the bottom hem of one of my favorite pairs of pants went up in flames. I used a shoe to smack the flames on the smoldering hem of my pants, then noticed that A's shoes (canvas converse high tops) had also caught on fire. Also, a sock.
(fire damage, after being washed. I am thinking they would make cute shorts?)
When all of our clothing was extinguished, we ate an otherwise uneventful dinner, then fell asleep too exhausted to make the s'mores, for the second day in a row.
Our third day of camping was the day where (FINALLY!) nothing went wrong. We put C down for an hour nap before heading off on our hike, which was about the same length as the day before, but in the sunshine, and with healthy children. We closed up our tent and put away our towels before we left, although it did not rain. We brought food and gear and vowed not to split up. The ranger gave the kids booklets of things to find on our hike, and Junior Naturalist patches. After our hike, we stripped down to our underwear and swam in a waterfall, which was probably the highlight of the day. It was, all together, fun, relaxing, and tiring. We stayed awake long enough to actually make the s'mores, and finally figured out a way that everyone could sleep without getting cold.
I was the last one out of bed on Thursday morning, so by the time I stumbled out of the tent, there was coffee waiting for me and bacon cooking in a pan over the fire. We decided that our plan for the day was going to be to head into town and call the house-sitting friends to check in, then either spend the day at the Delaware County Fair, or head home, depending on the state of our house. The weather was supposed to be hot and sunny on Thursday, but rainy and dreary for the rest of the weekend (thanks Kathy) so we thought we would try to maximize the time we could have fun in the sunshine, rather than spending the day driving.
We struck our campsite and got ready to go. I should mention at this point that our windshield wipers had been doing something kind of crazy for a few months. Every now and again, the sprayer would go off and the wipers would wipe like crazy, for a really long time. This was bad when there was actually windshield washer fluid in the car, because you couldn't see where you were going while that was happening. Once we ran through all of it though, it was just annoying. I also imagine it's not that good for the motor on the sprayer unit or the wiper blades to be scraping along a dry windshield all the time. I had the genius idea of pulling the fuse for the windshield wipers for the drive home. That way, at least the wipers would not be going like crazy -- although then they could not be used at all. I studied the owners manual, found the right fuse, pulled it out and tossed it in the cup holder. We were ready to go.
TO BE CONTINUED...