Aug 18, 2008

Camping: Marten Creek 2008

Ahhh..... got out of work on Friday night and hustled over to G-rod's place to pick him up and head out for another weekend of campin'!

This time was up north and a little east of Granite Falls at a place our group has come to love called Marten Creek.

Last time we were there it rained, but this time we had beautiful, hot, sunny weather.

We set up our tents right after we got there, and then commenced to drinking and eating!

Friday evening was hot so we passed on making a fire but we sat around and drank mojitos while the sun set.

Then one by one, members of the group shuffled off to their respective tents for the night.

The next morning, started out beautifully. I ususally get up early when I'm camping, but this time I slept until almost 8:00 a.m.
I made some scrambled eggs and G-rod and I slapped the eggs bewteen a couple of sliced bagels (along with some bacon and cheese) and then toasted it by the campfire for breakfast.

We stood around discussing our various plans for the day.
A couple of people went for a hike to a lake nearby while the rest of us decided to try and make it to the Big Four Ice Caves.

We had to go back to the ranger station in Verlot to pick up a NW Forest Pass and while we were there we found out that the bridge (that washed out during winter storms a couple of years ago) was still out, but that the river was low enough to cross and the rest of the trail was accessible.

So we piled everyone (5 adults and 3 kids) into two cars and off to the ice caves we went.
The parking lot wasn't full which was nice, and the trail to the bridge was uncrowded.

Once we got to where the bridge was damaged we climbded down and walked the river bank to the water so we could cross it.

It was low enough to cross, just like the ranger said. What she failed to mention, however, was that the water was still FREEZING cold! I didn't have a thermometer with me, but it had to be about 40 degrees in the water.

G-rod and I made it across but the other adults decided it was better not to risk crossing with the little ones, so they stayed behind.
The water came up to just above our knees and by the time we got to the other side of the river, my feet had gone numb. A few seconds out of the water, though, and the feeling came back and we started back on the trail.

On a side note: The Big Four Ice Caves are totally worth going to if you have kids or not.
The trail is easy to hike, and although the bridge is out at the river it looks like they are going to rebuild it soon. Hopefully this trail will be fully accessible next year.
I highly recommend going, but be sure to pick up a NW Forest Pass if you do. It's required at the trailhead.
The snow was still plentiful when we got there and the caves are beautiful.
As we exited the woods we could already feel the temperature of the air drop quite a bit just from the amount of ice and snow that was there.

The closer we got to the caves, the colder it became.

Here are some pics of the caves:

We didn't stay too long since the rest of the group didn't make it and we didn't want to keep them waiting too long, so G & I headed back and across the freezing cold river to meet them at the car.

Once back, it was time for a late lunch and then frolicking in the river next to camp. (And by 'frolicking', I mean sticking my feet in the water)

Followed by more sitting around drinking (this time it was Rum & Coke).

The afternoon wore on and we basically just enjoyed each other's company and waited for dinner and the setting sun.

As it grew darker, we could see the light if the moon beginning to poke out from behind the mountains across from camp, so we watched it rise and tried to scare off the mice that kept sneaking into camp to steal food before everyone headed for bed.

I stayed up a bit longer talking to one of the other campers. When suddenly I felt a mouse jump onto my shoulder. I screamed like a girl (yes, I did) and said "Okay, that's it. I'm going to bed now!"
I put in earplugs, shimmied out of my clothes and layed on top of my sleeping bag in my tent.

Sometime during the night (I'm guessing about 2 a.m.) some idiots stopped just outside the gate of our camp and whooped and hollered for about 5 minutes. I jolted awake and put my clothes on, as I didn't want to have to run out of the tent in my underwear.

They took off after a few minutes to points unknown, but I wasn't able to relax and get back to sleep. I kept waking to every little noise I heard thinking they might come back and decide to be more brazen and disruptive.

Then I noticed what seemed to be a flashlight. I opened my eyes but nothing was there.
So I laid there a little longer and it happened again.
It turned out not to be a flashlight but rather lightening.... which was later followed by thunder.
I got out and immediately put the rainfly on my tent, then went around checking with the other campers to make sure their tents were also covered.

I couldn't get back into my tent, as now that the rainfly was on I couldn't see anything outside if somebody decided to come into camp.
So I got in my car and tried to sleep until the sun came up. But that didn't work.

Finally, the sun came up and people started getting around. G & I packed up our tents and gear into the car, then headed over to get some breakfast with the others.

The weather was nice but overcast. We decided we'd head home early, especially since I hadn't gotten much sleep, so we finished the last of our packing and came back home.

Overall the trip was fun, and we got to make new friends, since one of the families that camped with us had never joined us before.
We had a great time, despite freezing river water and stupid idiots that yell in the night.

There's another camping trip planned for Sept. and I think that's our last one for the year, but we'll see.

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