Monday, May 27, 2013

Roasted Chairs

The kids and I came up with a new way to have fun camping. A tried, tested and true method that you need to know for the next time you camp... Read on for more details...

We discovered this novelty this weekend while camping over the Memorial Day holiday.  We had made our way out to the east side of Priest Lake to go camping for the weekend.  The road ahead of us looked promising, and the skies blue with the sun shining brightly. 



But the closer we got to Priest Lake, the more the cloud mass had piled up.  A massive storm was brewing, and we arrived in time to get our camp site set up.  We walked down to the beach to view Priest Lake, and this was the sight that greeted us.



 A few drops of water spattered on us as we stood gazing out over the lake.  We headed back to our campsite to begin cooking dinner.  We had no sooner reached our campsite, then the heavens just seemed to open just above us.  The rain began to pour down, and we scrambled inside our camper to wait the storm out.  I cooked dinner inside the camper tonight.  Luckily my plans for dinner were perfect for riding out the storm... Cowboy Soup.  I cooked some elk hamburger meat, and then added in a can each of homemade canned tomatoes and corn, cream chicken soup, Rotel, Velveeta, Ranch syle beans and diced potatoes.  Along with some taco spice seasoning, and before long, I had the camper steamed up and smelling deliciously like a Mexican restaurant. We dined on the Cowboy Soup that warmed our stomachs as well as our tongues!  It was a little spicy, but perfect for the cool rainy evening.


Later, after the storm had passed, we walked back down to the beach, and the lake was clear as glass, and the air cool and clear.  The clouds and the sun created an amazing array of colors that refelected onto the lake in hues of purple, blue, and pink.





We walked out on the fishing dock with the dogs.  Annie wasn't too sure about the dock as it swayed in the water as we walked.  She liked it better when we stood still and just gazed out on the beauty spread out before us.






We took a hike after walking down to the beach.  It was a short 1 mile nature trail around the park, alongside the rushing Indian Creek full of mountain run-off.   



You could see stumps where huge trees that probably had stood for hundreds of years that had fallen prey to a violent wind storm that had come through the area a few years ago.  Many of the trees were still lying where they had fallen. In the background of this picture you can see the smoke from all the campfires in the campground, as people were building their camp fires for the night.


Below is a picture of a huge tree stump on its end.  It had been a while since the stomr had hit, as moss was covering the entire tree stump, but it gives you a good idea of how wild this storm must have been to uproot trees this size!

 
When we got back to the campsite, it was about 9 p.m. or so, and still the sun was shining through the clouds.  Unfortunately as we built a fire, we realized that the chairs we had brought were not waterproof.  They were soaking wet.  So we were just standing around the campfire when the kids had a bright idea.

It was called Roast Your Lawn Chair....


And so, that's what we did.  The heat from the fire dried the chairs in about 20 minutes.  You could see the steam rising from the chairs as the heat turned the water in the chairs to steam.  It wasn't long, and we had chairs that were completely dry from the nice hot fire we had going.  I've never roasted lawn chairs before... but it's a new trick we can add to our book of camping tricks and tips!

 

The next morning dawned bright and beautiful.  After breakfast, we headed out to hike some trails surrounding the campground. We chose to hike the Lookout Trail first.  There were several other trails we could have taken, but feeling adventurous, we chose the trail labed "moderate" and off we went.  I packed plenty of water for all of us, along with my trusty can of bear spray (having learned my lesson before, that it is better to be safe... than sorry!)


The hike was not a long one, but because of all the spring flooding still going on, we had to take a detour, and so the hike ended up being a little bit longer for us.   The trail led up, up, up.... gradually through the forest, around huge granite outcroppings, but ever and always upwards. 


We finally reached the top of the trail, called Viewpoint Vista, and what a vista it was!  Unfolded before our eyes on such a clear beautiful day, you could see 20 miles away to the other side of Priest Lake. 

Priest Lake is a huge natural lake that was formed by the glaciers that came through during the Ice Age.  The sandy beaches were apparently formed by the glaciers passing through.  There are 80 miles of sandy shoreline with incredible views of the mountains in every direction you look. It was amazing to hike to this view point on such an incredibly beautiful day.


There were wildflowers blooming in every crook and crevice of the rocks. 


We let Annie off her leash while we relazed on the granite outcroppings.  She never ventured farther than a few feet from us, and after she had "secured" the area, she came back and found a place to lie in the shade.





We made our way back down the trail quite a bit more quickly than we had gone up!  It is much easier going down than it is going up!  We headed back to our campsite for a quick lunch.  While we were eating our lunch, a handsome Stellar Jay decided to join us...




He was quite proud of himself, and showed off his fine blue feathers for us several times.  Annie kept a close eye on him, because he was after her dog food, and she wasn't happy about that.  At one point, Mr. Jay Bird swept down to some dog food that had spilled on the ground, and in a side swipe motion, he grabbed a piece of the dog food, and away he went, and there was nothing Annie could do about it.  But she watched him ever so closely.  Mr. Jay Bird finally got tired of the intense surveillance, and flew away cackling loudly as he flew.  I'm sure he was saying "I'll be back... just you wait and see!... "

After lunch we walked around the campsite some more.  We stopped to watch a pair of ground hogs chirp and chatter at us.  I was able to zoom in and get a pretty good picture of this little fellow.  He chirped loudly at me and the dogs.  Every so often, he would run down into his hole, and then pop back out again like a jumping jack, and continue chirping at us... I suppose he might have been saying... "Come and catch me if you can.... for I'm the gingerbread man..."  And then he'd run and hide, and pop back out, and challenge us again.  Annie was up for the chase, but we decided to continue on our hike, and Annie had to bark at him and tell him... she'd be back... if she could!


This is a picture of our pickup and camper.  We have never camped before in a pickup camper. We've always had RVs.  But, since living up here in Idaho, it makes a lot of sense to have your camper right on your pickup, makes getting into tight spots much easier.  This little camper is the perfect size for our family, and even though it is quite close quarters inside, the camper is in excellent condition for a 1991 model. We had just purchased the camper earlier in the week just in time to go camping, and this was our first time camping in it.  Usually when you camp with a used RV there are little bugs, and things that go wrong on the first night. 

And of course, that was true for us.  My husband and I had decided to take the bed above the cab.  Unfortunately though, to let the dogs out in the middle of the night for a potty break, this meant jumping down over the kids to let the dogs out. 

So, the next night, we fixed that little bug by sleeping on the table that made into a bed, and letting the kids sleeping in their sleeping bags above the cab.  This worked out very well, and we all slept like little "bugs in a rug" the second night. 


I'll leave you with one last picture of the beautiful crown jewel of Idaho, Priest Lake.  It is a place that you love to come and visit, and hate to leave.  We enjoyed our stay immensely, and are already planning for the next weekend that we'll be able to come back out here, and camp some more. 

It was a wonderful place to spend Memorial Day weekend, enjoying the freedom and liberty that we have here in America, fought for by the veterans of this country.  We are very blessed indeed to have the blessings that surround us each and every day, and Memorial Day is a great time to reflect, and be thankful for those who have fought to make this country great, and to allow us to have the freedom, and the liberty that we enjoy.  God Bless America!

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