rensong: (sleepy kitty)
Facebook is stealing what I would otherwise spam on LJ.

So - in brief - an update

* Friday, Nov 11 - spent a good chunk of the day driving around with Dad. He had a meeting with a guy who hit it rather big in the Ethanol sales in the early-to-mid 2000s... and then he got Too Big, and government types (not just senators and the like, we're talking DNR and Forestry Department, even the DOT) did everything they possibly could to bury him. Depressing to hear, but informative and now hopefully we can learn from his mistakes and wiggle around some of the confinements on Ethanol production. We're also never going to "go big", which is hopeful because everyone pretty much left him along until he started making too much money.

* Saturday, Nov 12 - while playing with the dog, Buddy managed to jab a stick into my right eye. It was red and gunky and irritating the rest of the weekend, which pretty much killed my motivation to do anything else. On the bright side, it was almost totally better by Monday, and generally back to normal yesterday, so hurray for the healing power of the ocular orbs!

* This coming weekend, Nov 18-21 - fair to middling chance I'll be heading up nort' to do some camping with a friend of mine. Bright side - his family owns a rustic cabin in Nicolet National Forest, complete with wood stoves and bunk-beds. Down side - no electric or running water, so my hair is going to be driving me nuts. I predict lots of braided pigtails and hats in my future.

On camping

Jun. 17th, 2011 10:20 pm
rensong: (not so far away)
My friend Emma just took her three girls on their first camping trip, and that got me trying to remember if I ever went camping as a kid.

I don't really remember, honestly, but I do recall at some point in my adolescent and/or teenage years hearing my mother say something like how they tried to take my brothers and I camping when we were little, but we were all so naughty that they vowed to never take us camping again until we grew up a bit. That might actually be true, because the first real 'camping' trip I remember going on with my parents, I think I was at least 12 or 13 at the youngest. I had done the week long summer camp thing starting around age 8 or 9, where we went to camp Lucerne (Christian campgrounds owned by the United Methodist Church) for Sports Camp and lived in a cabin for a week playing various sports and reading the Bible, but all my parents did for that was sign us up, pay the fee to get us enrolled, and then drop us off when the week arrived. Then there was our 7th grade "initiation" for I-Zum Youth Group (through Zion United Methodist, the larger Marshfield counterpart to our itty bitty church here at home), where Stan - our church's actual pastor, and Zion UMC's Youth Pastor - quite literally kidnapped me (and I believe 3? other youth from Zion who were also going into 7th grade) on a Saturday Morning after school finished for the year. Then the whole youth group went camping at Pine Lake for a weekend. Again, parents had nothing to do with that beyond I assume signing some sort of permission that allowed me to be grabbed and sent into the woods for a day or two.

The first time I recall going to an *actual* camp ground and living in a trailer for a few days, it was at Archeology Days at Silver Mound. Dad was flint knapping and doing the atlatal demonstration (nifty spear thrower used by the Natives to hunt mastodons and the like during the Ice Age), and I had invited my friend Beth to join us for the weekend. That was when we first met Toby, too, at the giant bonfire the first night we were there. Mom, Dad, Beth and myself were in the camper my great grampa built to fit on back of his 1952 Chevy pickup - basically, two rug-covered platforms enclosed by plywood, but it kept the rain off. Toby and her then girlfriend Sashey were in their itty bitty trailer that actually had a bed and a table and stuff in it, and we all had a grand old time. Beth and I tried and failed to start a fire for an hour or so, Toby stacked it up and had it lit in five minutes or less, and we hung around talking and wandering the mound all weekend. Not sure it really qualifies as *traditional* camping, though, as the camp grounds we were staying at had free coffee in the morning, heated indoor bathrooms *and* showers at our disposal, and a gift shop.

There might've been an earlier attempt at tent camping in my Grandparents Meyer's back yard for some reunion or the like when the whole family was there visiting and all of the extra rooms Gramma keeps up were filled with other relatives. I don't know if this involved actual sleeping in a tent or not, though - all I can remember was dashing around their back yard at night with my quilt flying out behind me, doing my impression of... something that flies. A bat maybe? And my brothers and I taking what might've been mildly sadistic pleasure watching bugs get drawn into and zapped by my Grampa's giant purple bug zapper attached to the garage.

So, yeah, not a lot of camping as a child. Not saying I don't enjoy it - I really had a lot of fun when we went camping for my Sedimentology class in college, and at Mt. Rainier last Labor Day weekend when I was out in Washington. Just saying I think I'd rather have indoor plumbing given the choice.
rensong: (sleepy kitty)
Went camping up near Mt. Rainier this weekend. Nice camp grounds - very green and foresty, with a medium creek/tiny river flowing through the campground.

Saturday we spent driving around Mt. Rainier National Park. Wasn't sure we were going to actually see the mountain itself because of clouds, but we got lucky and the peak blew clear right as we were driving past one of the many view points.

Mt. Saint Helen's was Sunday's road trip. Alas, this time the clouds did not part for us, so we didn't see the summit. It was only the very tip that was hidden behind the clouds, though, so we got to see most of it, and honestly, it's just amazing to see some of the damage done *and* how much the place has recovered after only 30 years. We could still see the bleached white bones of the trees that were knocked over like so many toothpicks, but there was a lot of new growth, and even the fallen trees that made for such a dramatic picture back in the aftermath of the 1980 eruption are a lot fewer than they used to be. The snow pack up there is so thick and heavy during the winter (one of the broschures claims around 680 inches on average, but we pretty much agreed it had to be a typo - 680 in = 56.6 feet = 17.3 meters, give or take. I suppose we could be wrong, though, not being from the mountains ourselves) that a lot of them got squished into the ground, which upped decomposition and pretty much hid them from sight. There are plenty still visible, mind (and yes, there will be pictures later), but the forest has recovered pretty darned well. The trees they replanted once the dust settled are already at least 20 feet tall, and there's all sorts of cool stuff to see all over the place.

Seriously, if you all ever get to Washington, check out Mount Saint Helen's National Park, because it is *amazing* and awesome no matter how cold and windy it is! Which it was. Very windy, if not technically 'cold' - temps were in the 40s, but the winds were *harsh*. As myself and Beth commented as we were climbing up to "Windy Point" view point (about an 8th of a mile and 420 stairs straight up. My calves are not at all happy with me today), thank *god* for hoodies!

There was also this *huge* flee market/swap meet in a little town called Packwood about a 10 minutes drive from where we were camped. It happens twice a year on Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend, and the thing is *massive*. Picture a tiny little town/village of maybe 1500 people during the off season, and twice as many during the summer - big enough to have it's own tiny convenience and/or grocery store, but not big enough to have it's own school or even an "Unincorporated" sign on the edge of town (not that I saw, at least).

Now, picture every little road and side-street in that tiny little town packed with almost wall to wall tents selling *everything* you can possibly think of - log furniture, antiques, All Things Artsy, shoes, t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, luggage, pretty little knickknacks made of crystal and glass, leather work, and any kind of food you can think of - if you can sell it, it was being sold at that swap meet. We were there for two hours on Sunday morning and an additional hour and a half Sunday afternoon, and we saw *maybe* a quarter of all the booths. Apparently it's the biggest flee market in Washington State, and it definitely lives up to the name. I bought a poncho with a hood, Beth a found a few of those pretty laser-carved crystals to give out as Christmas presents, and Walt was only along because he was in the car and out voted when we drove through. The dogs had a blast, though, and I rather enjoyed it myself.

One minor downside of the weekend - last night our camp stove gave up on us, so no hot water for coffee/hot chocolate, and no cooking of the breakfast we brought along with us for this morning. Also? Last night it raaaaaained, a slow, steady rain that lasted almost an hour and a half and soaked everything we left outside - including the chairs. And though it didn't seem to get super cold last night (I think we were hovering around the lower-to-mid 40s over night for both nights at the campground), the additional of Wet And Not Warm made me really rather regret that we had no hot beverages to look forward to when we got up. It did stop raining before we got up, though, so hurrah for not having to tear down camp in the rain.

Another annoyance was that the campground we were in also didn't seem to have any showers, so by day three we were all feeling rather grubby, but it was still fun.

I also totally drained my camera battery dead with all the pictures I was taking. Not sure what the final count ended up as (probably around 150, but I can't check until I charge my battery and/or transfer the pictures to my computer), but there are a lot of them and I shall post all of the good ones in Facebook and some of the highlights in LJ as soon as I find the motivation to actually do anything.
rensong: (sleepy kitty)
Back from field trip. We drove around the Wisconsin Dells (location-wise, not the actual city itself... so, central southern Wisconsin?) looking at exposed rock faces for my Sedimentology class. Saw lots of cool rocks, picked up no few cool rocks (some of them big rock samples that likely weighed in around 20 or 30 pounds, if not more), got rained on a bit, and camped over night at Mirror Lake.

It was cooooooooooold, but me and three other girls slept in the van so it wasn't as bad. Played a campfire memory game where every person added on another thing for the next person to recite and remember. Went around the circle two and a half times. Our end result was something like "I went on a Geology field trip and I brought my... Rock hammer, five foot black dildo (not me, I swear), copper penny, Jamison's Whiskey, compass, notebook, warm sleeping bag, vibrator (was me - someone later added extra batteries to that one, too), Foxy Hat, screwdrivers, a Tea and Cucumber Sandwich, a chainsaw, a fuzzy white bunny, a ribbed sensation (this was actually one of the professors, believe it or not), a shepherds crook/hook/whatever, a bag of leaves, a field eye magnifier (me again - one of those little magnifying glasses used to get better detail on the crystals in different rock types), a French Tickler... and thats all I remember (there were only two or three more after that, so over all I think I did pretty good). Then I got to wake everyone up this morning using my choice of methods - a task that gave me all the more sadistic pleasure because at least half of the group was up until 2:00ish this morning drinking. Ha, I am so evil.

Today we hit three more sites, one of which was an exposed rock face right on a very, *very* busy highway - around a curve no less. So picture 20-something geologists ranging in age from 22-60 crawling around on the side of a cliff with 50+ mph traffic going by no more than 20 feet away. We got honked at a bit, but no one plunged to their death or had an unfortunate run-in with an automobile, so that was good. Another site was around a *blind* curve along a highway, but there wasn't near as much traffic so I wasn't as worried. It was still an interesting experience, however.

Anyway, I can't remember all where we went, but we saw lots of really cool rocks and - aside from the cold-and-sleep-deprived thing - had a really good time. Also took around 150 pictures, but whose counting?

Now, however, I am going to go shower cause I am still wearing the same clothes I was yesterday, and my hair hasn't been brushed in two days cause I forgot my hairbrush, so it feels rather nasty.
rensong: (Default)
Went to Silver Mound for Archeological Days yesterday. Nine came along for the ride. It was her first camping trip ever, and she was a very good girl. Didn't bark or anything! She was also rather happy with all the attention she's gotten since last night, considering we were camping with four other people and two more came down today just for the day. Plus, hey, she had all these admirers who would just wander by the cabin we had rented (aka, nice little log shed that was about 20x15 feet that had two rooms - one with a regular sized full? bed and one with four bunk beds) and say "Oh! What a pretty dog! Can I pet her?" In fact, the people in the cabin next to ours had a really pretty black dog that could've been her twin except for a few white paws and had a bit narrower face. There was even a moment when they were driving their dog up where me, my dad, *and* Jim - one of the people camping with us - did a double take as we thought "why is our dog in the back of your truck?" Anyhoo, they (or at least their kids, and they had three of them) were "Ooo"ing and "aaaah"ing over her pretty much the entire time we were there. Of course, as soon as they brought their dog up, I was oooing and aaahing over him, too, so it was all good. :)

So, yes, Nine got an over dose of lovies. ;) I think she enjoyed it, though. She was sniffing up a storm and would jump up ready to go every time I even picked up the leash cause there was all this cool stuff to see and sniff and slobber on! And, thankfully, after such an exciting evening, she slept through the night in the cabin with nary a peep. She did get up and change positions a few times, but hey, we toss and turn while we sleep, I suppose dogs do too. I didn't sleep, but then again, I rarely ever sleep when it's not my own bed I'm sleeping in (at least not the first night or two).

Aside from Nine's little adventure, mom and dad also had invited a few friends of theirs along that I was able to meet, so it was cool for me, too, as we were all talking around the campfire last night. Also, there was beef jerky, beef sticks, venison jerky, and venison sticks galloor. The majority of the friends dad had invited were deer hunters and made their own, and it was very nummy. That's pretty much all I ate from 7:30 last night when I got there to 4:00 this afternoon when I headed home. Bob and Mary Jo showed up, too, so it was nice seeing them again, if only for a bit.

Mom and Dad are staying another night, but Nine and I came home. Me because I have a shit-load of homework to do (tomorrow will be entirely devoted to it as I am way too tired for the whole upper brain function thing at the moment. Being awake for 36 hours straight can do that to you, doncha know. ;) ), and Nine because she was pretty pooped and I wasn't sure if she would behave as well a second night there. Despite all the cool new stuff and people she got to smell and slobber on, she was pretty anxious to come home. But, it's nice to know that we can take her places overnight without having to worry about her being *too* much of a pest. :D (though it also helped that Silver Mound is a *very* dog-friendly camping site. They even had a little "dog run", complete with old fire hydrants and a pen for them to run around in.)

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February 2012

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