Sunday, June 25, 2017

​Wendy and I decided to take the kayaks again from Alcova to Casper. We've had an ongoing problem with our sleeping mats separating in the night as we cuddled together. In the past we've tried clamps meant for tarps, and even made holes in the sides and used nuts and bolts to hold them together. Nothing worked. So Friday night I had yet another bright idea and thought maybe I could make a sleeve out of fabric to keep them from separating. So we picked up some fabric from Wal-Mart. I hemmed the sides and sewed it into a tube.

Not being in any particular hurry we gathered all of our stuff, made yet another trip to Wal-Mart and headed out to Alcova. We dropped off Wendy's Acadia at Robertson road and went
​  to the Chalk Bluffs campground where we planned on spending the night. Our plan was to just stash some wood to make a fire but there was so many people there that Wendy suggested that we pitch our tent to claim our spot. I was down with that and seeing as we were leaving our tent we thought we might as well leave all our clothing and whatnot. We paid for our spot and left our stuff. As a side note when I grabbed an envelope to leave our money somebody else has unwisely left their money filled envelope right there where you grab them as opposed to the secure spot where you leave them. Well we laughed and put their money where it was supposed to go, along with ours. So off to Alcova we went.
We left the Accord at Gray Reef and launched with little drama (for once). Both kayaks held air like a champ. This first trek would take 6 hours according to this pdf. We managed it in 4. We sang many songs on the way to entertain ourselves.

Back at Chalk Bluffs for the night we made a camp fire and I think we were both counting the minutes until dusk, super tired from the day. Dusk fell and so did we. We like a little candle lantern of ours. It provides a little light, a little heat and frankly makes the tent seem homey. Come sunrise the candle lantern was out and wax was everywhere. It leaked in the night. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for my hand made 750 fill power down custom made quilt. So many hours went into making that thing. But as I said to Wendy at the time it's much like a hard hat in a construction site. If your cap looks brand new it just makes you look green. A few war wounds are a good thing. And the super lightweight fabric I used to make the quilt shed that wax like nobody's business. So we packed everything up and left the tent again to pick up later. The sleeve holding our mats together worked great.

Their was a nest in the top of the pavilion we camped under. The nesting pair was none too impressed with our presence.

The nest

Our unimpressed feathered friends.

She returns in spite of us.

We trekked on down the river. We stopped at Bessemer Bend for some lunch. As we were leaving some gals in floats asked if we had a pump. Their electric one had failed. We let them borrow our hand pump. One of them got over enthusiastic and broke it. They tried to fix it on the sly but it just wasn't working right. I came over and opened it up, there was a gasket that got out of whack. We put it back in place and it worked again. Yet another time they got over enthusiastic and broke it again. They knew we were waiting on them. Again I opened it up and this time the main stem came loose but I got it working again. There were multiple times where Wendy or I was trying to tell them to mellow out a little. But eventually all their floaties were aired up and we carried on our way.

When we landed at Robertson road we were deflating and loading up when there were another group of even younger girls and a guy with floaties and the type of pump you'd use to fill up a bicycle tire. I offered our pump to them as well and they gratefully accepted. Their floaties were beyond repair and could not be inflated. Eventually they asked if I wanted the pump back. Only kids that young could think returning the pump was optional.

All in all the second day took 6 hours as opposed to the pdf referenced above that said 8. I won't lie, by the end of it my arms were just plain dead. But we made it. And I'm sure we'll do it again.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Car camping... literally

Wendy mentioned earlier in the week that she was hoping to go camping this weekend. I am, of course, always down for camping. But with the rainy weather we didn't think it would happen. Well while we were grabbing a bite Friday I suggested that maybe we could camp out and sleep in her Acadia. The weather was terrible so she wasn't too impressed with the idea and I completely agreed.

So we're headed out of town on 220 to go camping. We actually got pulled over for having a head light out. He let us off with a warning but the funny part was when he asked where we were going. We said quite truthfully "camping". Snow was quite literally falling and I'll be damned if he didn't raise one eyebrow. Apparently camping in the snow is pretty low on the list of bizarre destinations that the police hear.

Wendy maintains these BLM  campsites with her (developmentally handicapped) participants at NOWCAP. Well she knew of a campsite that had some wood somebody left behind that they would have to carry off next week. So we stopped by and picked it up on our way to where we were camping. We also brought some nice dry wood from the gas station and after some difficulty with everything being wet we got a nice fire going.

We inflated an air mattress in the back of Wendy's Acadia and piled on many, many blankets and after the fire died down went to bed.

The sun woke us up at an ungodly 6:00 in the morning. We remained quite snug in all our blankets for a while but eventually we built another fire and cooked pudgy pie cinnamon rolls. The best breakfast ever. We went for a walk and our campsite was right near the river. As we passed a boat ramp I mentioned that I was pretty sure I needed to get in. Snow was still around us and we could see our breath. Wendy, naturally, flat refused to let me get in the river.

So I grab may favorite Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois towel and head back to the boat ramp. I don't have a swimming suit but no one is around so I strip down to my altogether. As my feet enter the water there is no other way to explain it other than pure pain. Like little knives stabbing into my skin. I wade out to about my knees, turn around, give Wendy a smile as she shakes her head. And plunge full body and head into the icy water.

I emerge and panicking hustle toward the shore. Half way there I stop, gather myself, take a deep breath, and walk the rest of the way more stoic. I dry off with the help of the angel Wendy. My poor toes as this point, the first in and that last out, are completely numb. After getting dressed my first few steps were pretty wobbly just from having no sensation in the little piggys.

We doused the fire and packed up camp which was pretty easy considering we slept in the car. The drive back was uneventful and eventually my toes regained feeling.

It's a sickness. I have to get in.