Monday, April 28, 2008

Camping weekend

This past weekend I was invited to join a group of my friends and go camping in the Mystery Caves State Park down in Preston, MN. Naturally the weather had to be "interesting". It was cold and blustery all Friday evening and into Saturday afternoon. I did not sleep well Friday night since I was convinced that the tents were going to collapse and the shade fly would fly away, but everything was sound as a pound come morning. (Wish I could say the same thing for the 2 modern tents that the neighboring Boy Scouts carted to the dumpster Sunday morning. Maybe I should have given them my card....)

The set up had started off a bit rocky as the early arrivals had set up in the wrong campsite. Everything had to come down and move to the campsite we were supposed to have, about 100 yards away. That sucked, but we all worked together and it went fast. The group camp site had some authentic "flavor" that we were not expecting. According to the ranger a herd of cows from a neighboring farm had broke through the fence and wandered through the campground. There were hoof tracks and cow splats everywhere. As we were fond of saying "You can't buy authenticity like this!!". We were assured that the fence had been mended so we would not be receiving 4 legged visitors in camp.

It got down to the 30's overnight and it did not warm up much during the day. We woke to a sprinkling of ice on our tents and small flakes in the air Saturday morning. After breakfast of scones, porridge, fruit and fish (and coffee) we spent much of the morning in David and Maighred's wall tent keeping out of the wind. We worked on some projects, but mostly sat around and gabbed and drank mead, beer and whiskey. I made a short mead that was well received and I definitely want to try it again.

Lunch was snacks of sliced meat, cheese, carrots, and flat bread. We decided to walk through the trails after lunch to view the river and the bridge. A lot of spring blossoms were out (a hill covered in Dutchman's breeches) and the green moss and new grass was just brilliant. The river was very high and there were signs of the cows along the banks. The fisherman were catching some nice looking trout and I'm certain they were a bit bewildered to see our group walk by on the other side of the river. I'll let them think we were a mirage.

After the walk I decided to take a nap to gain back some of the sleep that I lost Friday night. I must have slept for over an hour and I needed it. I woke and helped to start dinner. I had brought 2 beef briskets that we were going to spit and grill, but considering the wind we decided to place them in a pot with onions, turnips, parsnips, salt, spices and water and boil them up. When the meat was done we took it out of the pot and sliced it up and then ate the broth with the vegetables. Ingelief made a peas porridge and Maighred made bannock. Everything was wonderful! We ate everything, cleaned up the dishes and settled down for an evening around the fire.

I think it was colder Saturday night, but I had mastered the layering just right so I was nice and toasty in my tent. The cold clear air made stargazing just brilliant! The sky was so full of stars it was hard to find the constellations that one was used to. It was just breathtaking!
I slept soundly until morning when I was woken with a bright blue sky and clear air. We had the camp packed up and loaded into our vehicles by 9 am and we headed home. We stopped at a greasy spoon for a hot breakfast and I will admit, it wasn't the best food, but it was cheap, hot and plentiful. We got home around 12:30 and I was unloaded and everything was put away by 1:30 or so.

Mother nature was kind enough to remind me of the temps from the night before. There was a good inch of ice on the dish pan.

I was really proud of myself for braving the cold, and for bringing the right clothing items for the weekend. I had so much fun!!! It was such a great way to spend a weekend and I hope I get to do it again next year.


caillie said...

Congrats on surviving the weekend!! Great job!!

Merouda said...

Looks like the sort of thing I'd love to do if I had my way in the SCA.

Sounds like the beginning of a musical number, doesn't it?

If I had my waaaaayy
In the Essss Seeee Ayyyyy,
There'd be food over fires
And wedges with wires
And deportment so very nice!
There'd be ladies in plaids
And stories in spades
And we'd wash up in water that's iced!

I be bardin'. Word.

Liz said...

You are awesome!!!

Gretchen said...

Liz: Help? I am trying to make your market bag! My knitting skills are not amazing like yours and I am now stuck. I am ready to do the handles and you do "cable knit". Uh oh. I don't know what that is. Can you clarify it for me or make up another way I can do the same idea? Thanks!

Liz said...

I added a link to a site that has a video that demonstrates the "cable cast on" technique. That should help.

Debra said...

Hey Liz,

I think you & your friends are absolutely nuts for camping this early into the season. :)

Your email addr. is elusive, so I thought I'd give a thanks shout-out here--- the afterthought heel is a *great* idea, and is exactly what I have decided to do! (per your suggestion, of course.)

Many thanks for your assistance-
Knit (and camp) on!