The "Domesticated" Wilderness

Sunday, 5 July 2009
My friend Natasha had a great idea a few weeks ago. "The 4th of July is coming up, we should go camping!" Several of us decided to heed the call of the wild and I booked #5 at Packard Creek Campground. We went with Lindsay and Karl and later, Annie and Jamie met us there. This is what the site looks like:

It is near the small city of Oakridge, Oregon (pop 3,380) and approximately 48 miles from Eugene. Less than an hour's drive from where I live but it seemed very much like we were away from the grind of life because none of us had cell phone service.

Even though we were only venturing away from home for one night, we packed like we were going for a week. The back of Natasha's ride was full and we all held bags and pillows on our laps.

One of the most "outdoorsy" moments for me was learning to put up the tent. Lindsay has the same tent I've been considering buying for me and Kings. It's the Ozark Trail 9x8 dome tent which supposedly sleeps 4. Cheap, but easy to put up and certainly does the job. Even though Oregon is stoking my sense of adventure, I do not plan to ever sleep outdoors 1.) for more than 2 nights in a row 2.) if the weather is going to be below 45F.

Here's what I learned about putting up a tent: lay it out straight, put the poles together, carefully slide the poles through the slots, wait to hook the poles to the bottom of the tent until the main poles are in place. Voila!

It only took us 20 minutes to set up camp and then it was time to check out the best part - Hills Creek Lake. Less than a 4 minute walk from our campsite was a lovely "beach" and swimming area.

Annie and her husband, Jamie arrived and we laid out in the sun, listened to music, talked and dared one another to swim out to the tiny dock in the swimming area. Once most of the children were out of the water, all 6 of us swam out to the dock. We sat in the sun and generally felt good about ourselves for being in our 20s/30s and still able to play like kids on the 4th of July.

After swimming until the sun was dipping behind the trees we ventured back to the campground to get the fire going and see about cooking up a tasty feast.

Karl and Jamie got the fire going and Jamie added hot dogs, burgers and chicken to the grill. Yum. Our first course was hot dogs and buns.

Then later, we all tried Natasha's yummy chicken with the potato salad, fresh red onion and juicy tomato provided by Annie. I made Rice Krispie treats and we had tons of chow left over.

The weather was gorgeous: 80s and sunny with a slight breeze coming off of the water. We talked about the different native trees surrounding our campground and later, around a cozy fire we discussed our hobbies: music, writing, basketball and art. We also used the fire to roast marshmallows which were a hit!

At the end of the night, no makeup, no shower after swimming in the lake, I snapped one last shot just so I could prove that yes, we were going to sleep in a tent (pink sleeping bag and all) under the protection of Oregon's Douglas Firs.


Anonymous said...

OK, I have your new blog attached to my favorites. I have a location for my valuable links called "links" -- so does the Favorite Button - now that I have that worked out, I have found a number of links that seemed to have been lost in the great wherever. Love you Daddio.

Chris F. said...

I will have to pay that place a visit someday. Looks like you are getting into the 'Great Outdoors' experience.

Denae said...

Daddio!! My biggest fan, glad you found the new blog. I would hate to lose you as a reader and PLEASE keep the comments coming.

Chris F - also glad to have you still with me. I think you are the most faithful commenter of all time and for that, I thank you. Hope you are well.