Thursday, June 20, 2019

101 To Snow, Camping with someone else’s kids

What a way to celebrate a 65th Birthday, camping with twin five and a half year old Granddaughters and my wife of 39 years. I had wanted to go back to the Three Forks of the Owyhee River and sit in some hot springs there, we've done it before and had a great time. Off we went with the usual pre-trail checklist, all signals were go...

I'd also like to mention a new word added to my senior vocabulary, Medicare. Yes, I'll add that to my other words like senior citizen, AARP, arthritis, meds, hip and knee replacements, sagy skin, drooping eyelids, incontinence. Wait, what? Well I ain't there yet and I'm sure more senior words are coming my way, butt not in a good way. I just thought it would take longer, any extra amount of time would have worked for me. 65 ain't no jive, ah life.

Bailey the Boss Dog enjoyed a little love during the drive,

and Zoe enjoyed the view. While slow driving the dirt roads we sometimes let the girls out of the car seats, their first taste of freedom. Personally I miss the days of running dirt roads while hanging in the bed of the pickup.

There were a whole lot of cows out and about. With such a wet spring and all the grass, of course ranchers make the best of it. Most of them run off the road when we drive by yet one lil feller wanted to challenge us...

Then we saw the old Man. He looked a bit out of sorts, I wanted to ask if he'd just filed for Medicare but I didn't dare.

Sure, I thought as we drove by, see you at McDonalds for lunch.

The roads were endless but we finally started seeing canyon country,

The girls were happy to be out of the truck for a few minutes. Or were they telling me they want a hamburger...on the hoof.

The Owyhee River is the thin brown line at canyon bottom.

A bit further we came to the downhill at Three Forks, almost there. The road going to the left of the far hill 4-wheels around to the hot springs, and it is 4-wheel.

Crossing the wooden bridge over the North Fork of the Owyhee, then almost getting stuck in the high water sandy bottom of a creek, we drove on over to the hot springs area. Having camped there before it was a dryer year then. Now, everything was overgrown and muddy from this years ultra wet spring. I got out of the truck briefly and walked but a few feet and in less than a country minute had 3 very fast crawling ticks on me. That alone was a deal breaker so back over that pass we drove to another place we've camped before. Only now it was waist deep grass. I did a slow walk through the grass in my shorts to collect tick samples. Wallah, no ticks there, kinda strange but I was not ticked. We stayed, it was 101º, ugh, and humid from the grass. Lucky for us there was that nice creek a short walk away.

The girls played while we set up camp. And yes, tick checks happened. We give the dogs an oral tick repellant that lasts about 3 months and we did find a few dead ticks in their hair. Now why doesn't that work on us humans? Stay tuned as Dave tries tick meds for dogs. Well, they're meds right? Part of my vocabulary nowadays.

After setting up camp we felt the need to be in water, specifically a creek. A walk was taken...

We use hiking sticks when creek walking, something about rocks in the creek bed and fast water tend to keep you off balance, or is it the old age thing. Don't answer that please, it was a rhetorical question.

Hah, a lefty in the making?!

The walk back
"You won't let a little mud puddle stop you will you Baba? Or is it your new old age?" Cheese and rice, shoulda seen me charge that mud puddle. Ok I walked around it, there it is. I'll get into the mud later...

You can't see it but the North Fork of the Owyhee River is just the other side of the camper, it would sing us to sleep that night.

"Ok" says Parker, "what now?"

How bout a run through the grass?

A nature walk with GrandMa?

A nature walk without GrandMa?

One likes ponytails, the other pigtails. Funny how that works.

Duke says "Whateverthehell you want!"

Somebody named Parker had a pout going on, it's never happened before. A little dog named Bailey went into attitude rescue.

Something about her, Bailey, she just knows how to connect with people. Get that girl a job in psychology.

She knows how to make everybody happy

Evening was another hohum gorgeous affair, are we that used to them?

Look close to see rock switchbacks on the other side of the canyon.

Built as a wagon road the 3 Forks was at one time a stagecoach stop. I can't say I'd enjoy that road from inside a stagecoach. If you fell out I guess you'd know what it feels like to hit rock bottom.

With the heat and humidity Lynn and I were a bit, ok a lot, grouchy. Not feeling it, few pictures were taken of a great fire and cookout. Ok only one picture, with no people, what was I thinking?

The next day I, in my old age, had a great idea, lets head up to the Owyhee Mountains and camp next to another creek and enjoy cooler temps! The committee agreed so off we went, passing that old livery stable

Beautiful country

It was a great drive out, Zoe and I goofed a bit

Parker wanted in too, I call this the birthday shot and it'll go on a wall somewhere. It's the only selfie I've ever liked, for two good reasons.

Several quick stops were made for wildlife, namely snakes.

Zoe touched it trepidatiously, Parker had been a bit more enthralled with it.

And cows

What's Baba doing now?

Another snake, small one. I stopped 4 times for snakes but only caught two. I can't catch the Racers like I used to. I've caught and raised many snakes when I was a kid, Racers, Whip Snakes, and Bull snakes...I was quicker then and able to catch them.

We drove on, slowly, with precious cargo.

There I was feeling two tired again. Two...tired...ok excuse me, jokes are hard to come by at my age.

I had found a road using Google Earth that looked promising, like they all do, leading up into the mountains. It was a beautiful area with everything nice and green. So nice, and all private property. You can't get that using Google Earth, so we were frustrated not being able to camp next to the creek I had found.

In retrospect I should not have taken that barely used two-track road following a small stream bed. I barely made it through one very short section...MUD. After turning around and driving out I decided to go around the six foot long stretch of mud and stay on the lava rocks to one side of the road. How wrong can a guy be? All those nice traction rocks sank the minute I rolled over them.

It didn't look bad at first, but with a few tries my diff and axles were buried in muck. My hands were so covered from mucking no pictures were taken, my new 65 year old face in a  scowl.

It took 3 hours to muck out. I threw everything but the sink at that mud hole. Bushes, MaxTracks and many lava rocks. All disappeared in the bottomless pit that was my birthday present of mud. Oy, the mud pits of life. Having seen a rancher fixing fences a couple of miles back, Lynn and the girls set out to find him for help, I was defeated. They had been gone well over an hour when I finally threw in some astro turf carpet and firewood to get out of that very small section of mud, it was only about six feet long.

Those worthless MaxTracks are still there, a good two feet under the mud. They had already broken in the first try, not engineered for a truck and camper. I'll not get another set.

Back on the road, the girls had not found that rancher, but I found 3 beautiful hitchhikers. It was a good day after all, they had walked roughly 4 miles.

My steering wheel, door handles and everything I touched all those times of getting in and making it a few inches, getting out and mucking, were covered in mud. I had to wrap the steering wheel with wet rags when we got home to reconstitute that mud and clean it off, darn stuff is like cement. My boots were tossed in the garbage having been wasted.

After dealing with the mud, I was four times as tired.

We left that beautiful section of the Owyhee Mountains and drove back over to the road that takes you to Silver City from Jordan Valley. I still had some tricks up my sleeve, or at least a secret creekside place to camp. In the meantime the Mormon Crickets were out in the gazillions. This seemed to be Parker's coming out camp trip as a budding naturalist and she was the only one willing to pick up a cricket, you go girl. I showed her how to pick them up by their back legs as you do with grasshoppers and katydids too.

When we got to our creekside destination it was cold enough to put on coats, were we prepared or what?

It was a real nice camp spot yet the creek, like all the others in Idaho this late spring, was running high and fast. Definitely not conducive to wading and splashing around like we had hoped. And oh yeah, storm clouds popped up.

Another evening without meaningful pictures, I'm losing my trip report mojo. Or was I just wore out from Dave's 3 hour mud mania?
However, when morning rolled around and my eyes were just opening I heard Lynn mention a surprising word, snow. What the holy heck? It was 101º just the other day. Ah, if I'm lyin I'm dyin but the proof is in the pictures...

It looked and felt like January all over again. Was this a truck camper time machine and we'd gone back to winter hah?

Sorry little gals, no playing in the stream today.

Duke didn't care,

Cozy in the camper we didn't care either. The girls had plenty of goodies to keep themselves busy.

Do I have to tell you that they kept us entertained as well?

They learned to make fog faces with their breath

And eat breakfast using a fork. (Ok, you come up with a deeply meaningful caption.)

It warmed up a bit and most of the snow melted. It had been snowing so hard it was difficult to believe it was gone. We went outside briefly and went back in when it started to hail, then snow again. I bet it did that combination at least 5 or 6 times that day not giving us time to do any one thing. So much for T-ball and badminton, what the hail?

I've taught the girls to play Chinese Checkers and they love it. I felt a little guilty though, have I culturally appropriated a game? Is it ok to play? Are the PC Police hiding in the bushes? Bloody hell I say, who shives a git.

Having lived in Japan as a kid I wanted to buy the twins two gorgeous Kimonos, I have always thought them beautiful. I didn't, afraid some child in an adult's body would get after them and or my daughter. Again, what the bloody hell has happened to my 65 year old world? I want it back. So the makers of the Kimonos have lost a sale of two items, thank you PC world said the really ticked 65 year old GrandPa.

After a full day of being in a camper the size of a very small walk-in closet, how do you define stir crazy? Is there a word or is it a look?

Ok let's talk about the benefit of having an oven in the handle GrandMa's pizza.

Sorry Bailey, no leftovers that night. Nothing but love.

Oh to be a kid in a camper

A couple of cute little bedheads scarfing pancakes and sausage.

Ah but they ARE little angels...

Then outside for a last minute walk-around

We'll go back someday when it's not winter hah. Lynn and me were there a few summers ago and it was great to goof around in the water with the dogs, the girls would have enjoyed that too.

Driving down the east side of the Owyhee Mountains we could see the Treasure Valley that we call home. Ok well it's an iPhone picture, you need to zoom in a bit.

We stopped for lunch in the desert and looked back at the mountains that had been snow-free two days ago. Hey it's the Northwest and when we lived in Bend Oregon it had snowed one 4th of July. If you're broke and need money, just wait, there'll be some change in the weather.

The girls are definitely chip-off-the-old-blocks of their mother Jennifer, our oldest daughter, when it comes to camping and nature stuff. We're so completely blessed to be able to enjoy the outdoors with two more little girls. That was a joke by the way. I know, it was over my head too. How bout, the girls were feeling chipper? Ok I'll say it, uncle.

We all had a lot of fun, mud aside. Even that was just another adventure and we've been stuck plenty of times over the years with our own two girls, adding to campfire stories. In case you were wondering about me taking the dogs tick meds, I'd have to say it works for humans too! Get yours now before you get ticks...
Thanks for reading, old Dave, Lynn, Parker and Zoe

PS. Well so far there aren't many words in my new vocabulary that really thrill me, mostly they're negative. The one and only good word for me/us is "grandkids." And next year, if I make it, will be another golden word to make the others fall off like a dead tick...Social Security

Bonus pics, ok just old pictures...

Painting a house in Fountain Hills Arizona, I was moving pretty quickly and kept stepping over this stick. Until I looked down between my feet and noticed it wasn't a stick. I had a second to grab the little rattler behind the head, it was stretched out and not coiled, I took it out into a wash and let it go. The people did not sleep with their door wide open after that, I caught two rattlers in their backyard.

Again painting a house out in the desert I caught the only Gila Monster I've ever seen after all my years hiking and camping in the desert Southwest. I hear they taste like chicken, or was that the rattler? It had the most incredible toenails I've ever seen on an reptile.

Even my youngest daughter catches snakes, having grown up doing that too. She found a big bull snake in their yard and while her husband went inside to look for something to catch it with, Jess, on the left, caught it with her hands. Her neighbor had never touched a snake and wanted some snake time too it seems...

Jess got used to critters at an early age, holding a tarantula I picked up on a Jeep drive. The dude was crossing the road so we saved it.