Dutchman Arch, San Rafael SwellWe arrived at our campsite down in the Swell Wednesday evening expecting at least a couple of people to be there already, but we ended up being alone until Thursday afternoon. I woke up Thursday morning with a headache that lasted all day, so we didn’t do any geocaching until late afternoon, and we only found one cache that was fairly close to camp. The couple who showed up Thursday stayed holed up in their trailer all evening, even when I started a fire and we roasted some marshmallows, so we might as well have been alone.
Friday, we woke up to rain. It rained all day, but it did finally clear up after dark. Despite the weather, we had to do some geocaching since we’d missed doing it Thursday. I’d already found all the easy geocaches in the area earlier in the year, and it took a lot of driving to find four that day. The first three were a relatively short distance off the main road, but the last one was at the Lucky Strike Mine. The drive to the mine was about five miles in the bottom of a wash, and the going was slow. It seemed like an excruciatingly long drive, but in reality it only took about 40 minutes. I think it seemed so bad because we were worried about flash flooding with all the rain that was coming down, but I never once saw any running water. The area around the mine was interesting, but we didn’t stick around to explore. The scenery along the way was just amazing, but the gloomy lighting didn’t make for great pictures.
Our little excursion lasted most of the day, long enough that we had to stop and eat lunch along the way. By the time we returned to camp, there were a lot of people there. We were especially happy to see that somebody else had brought their kids, so our kids had somebody to occupy their time, rather than fighting with each other all weekend. That night, standing around the campfire in the rain, was great (especially listening to the coyotes howling and yipping). I made some new friends, and got to know some acquaintances a little better.
The Wickiup, San Rafael SwellBy Saturday morning, the storm clouds were gone, but there was a heavy blanket of fog on the ground. As the fog burned away after sunrise, the Wickiup poked out of it and made for some good pictures. We had a potluck breakfast, consisting of sourdough pancakes, and my favorite, eggs and fresh salsa. After eating, we drove around and visited Dutchman Arch and an area filled with petrified trees, then found two more caches. We made it back in time for lunch, and a few more people had showed up by then. We just sat around camp for the rest of the day and visited with everybody. Dinner was potluck as well, and there were some excellent dutch oven cooks there.
By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, we didn’t want to leave. If it wasn’t for Halloween we would have stayed, but we needed time to get the truck and trailer unloaded so we could carve pumpkins, go trick-or-treating, and all that stuff you do when you have kids.
I’d never camped for so long at once, and in such cold and wet weather, but it was the best time I’ve ever had camping. There’s already talk of another geocaching event next year in the Fishlake area southwest of here, and I know I won’t have any problems talking Traci into staying there for a long time. She didn’t think this weekend was going to be any fun, but the people were so great that she felt right at home.
I’m glad that I have today to recover, because I’ve got a lot of projects waiting for me at work and I didn’t really want to dive in after such a busy weekend. I’ve also got a few things around the house to take care of, like raking leaves and winterizing the camp trailer, so I’ll be busy most of the week. Since I’m sure we won’t go camping again this year, I probably won’t be driving the truck much for awhile. I need to replace the truck’s serpentine belt soon because it’s frayed along one edge. I bought a new one already (fifty freaking bucks!) just in case we had a problem on our camping trip, but now that the truck will be parked for a long time, I can replace it when I have time.

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