Monday, September 8, 2014

Car Camping at Buckhorn State Park

Rainbow at sunset.
Greeted by a rainbow at sunset, our car camping weekend began gloriously. My daughter and I stopped setting up the tent to look at a rainbow as the sun set, causing us to need headlamps to finish the job of blowing up mats. Yes, our trip involved yet another last minute decision, and a rush to the park at the end of a long work week. We opted for car camping at Buckhorn State Park. The better (backpacking & walk-in) sites had already been booked in advance by early planners.

Nestled into camp between the party-all-nighters and the group campsite occupied by a religious group, we heard it all. The religious group made as much noise as the drinkers. They pulled out their guitars to sing the Lord's praises at the oddest hours, including nearly 2:00 a.m. But in car camping, there's a site for every kind of camper. You just gotta smile and love it.

Saturday I rose at 4:30 a.m. When the party all night guys say my headlamp moving towards the loo, they started making fake bird calls at me. Still completely dark, I didn't know if I should be worried about running into one of them on the way back. Most likely they were just playing. Still, I decided turn off my headlamp for the walk back, treading lightly just to be sure. They did the same fake bird calls again the next morning. I guess it's just their thing.

As I rummaged through our food looking for oatmeal, I realized I had forgotten to pack the dehydrated chili and the dehydrated fajita meat. Despite my list-making, seems like my bad habit of forgetting something important continues. Confessing to my family later when they woke, I felt relieved they seemed okay with it. Good thing I usually toss in my spare Mountain House meal in case of "emergencies" such as staying longer than planned due to weather or just plain having too much fun.

                       Planned menu:                            Actual Menu:
Dinner:          Fast food in the car                   Fast food in the car
Breakfast:     Bacon, eggs, toast, oatmeal     Bacon, eggs, toast, oatmeal
Lunch:           Steak fajitas                                Cheese quesadilla, grilled ham & cheese
Dinner:          Chili                                             Pudgy pies, Mountain House meal
Breakfast:      Oatmeal, bacon                         Oatmeal, bacon
Lunch:            Grilled ham & cheese              Buckhorn Cafe on the way home

My daughter had a big win first thing Saturday morning, successfully tying both shoes first try. For her, a sign a wonderful weekend awaited. Perfect weather Saturday and Sunday made for great fishing, paddling, and hiking conditions.

Great day for a paddle.

Feeding the fish came first. The fish enjoyed nibbling nearly two dozen worms without being hooked. The turtles, birds, butterflies, and bees played all around us. It felt great to see so many bees given the sad reports about dwindling honeybee populations. But most were bumblebees, not honeybees.

Paddling around Castle Lake, we decided to go explore the day use island finding it surrounded by parked boats and two circling jet skis. Rather that push our way through the beer drinkers standing in the water enjoying their party, we decided to circle the island wide and explore the cove for birds and lily pads.

Gorgeous mushroom.

Sunday morning after breakfast, with our food supply dwindling and the day bright and sunny, we broke camp and decided to go hiking around the loops near the backpacking sites. Mushrooms were in their full glory.We saw many species and saw several groups of pickers. We walked about 3.6 miles when our daughter started reminding us she wanted to get home for a friends birthday party, so off we went.

At our lunch stop, my daughter actually admitted to having fun (wow), and we all agreed time goes way to fast in camp. As for the Buckhorn Cafe, I enjoyed my "small" Buckhorn burger (1/2 lb) and had half for dinner at home, and my daughter's leftovers in my lunch Monday. Someone else bought the last apple pie (our favorite), so my husband tried the cheesecake and my daughter enjoyed her first ever slice of banana cream pie. A sweet ending to a beautiful weekend.

Photographed butterflies while my family fished.
Ribbit! Saw five on the trail.

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