First, Tbear’s birthday came and went without much fan fare. He got all the accoutrements for black powder shooting, so he’ll be ready for his own rifle. (He hopes to earn money through 4H and work this summer to have a good budget for the gun shows this fall.) Otherwise, we had a lazy weekend, and caught up on the Marvel superhero movies, before finishing with Avengers: Infinity Wars in the theater.
The month of may is always precarious in Wallowa County. You’ll get enough sun and warmth to feel like spring… with a chance of snow. Memorial Day weekend is hit-and-miss, as many forest roads could be blocked by snow, or lush with wild flowers. (It all varies from year to year.) This makes it impossible to plan on camping, unless you’re going somewhere else. This year, we had enough thawing to open the forests for us, so we took the whole crew camping.
I had reports to stay on the roads, as everything else was a muddy swamp. We were expecting rain the first (friday) night, but fair weather thereafter. Knowing this, I setup in a hurry, and gathered and processes a bunch of wood. (I had brought the few rounds of dry stuff I had laying about, but knew it would be needed to dry out a whole lot more.) It wasn’t worth starting a fire that night, and we had burgers off the grill.
Saturday didn’t disappoint, raining on us most of the time. We didn’t mind too much, playing (or down-right sitting) in puddles, hunting for morel mushrooms, and playing a game or two. By lunchtime we were soaked, and I took advantage of a break in the weather to start our fire. I had planned to let the kids learn fire skills on this trip, but decided that would have to wait. I gave instruction as I went, but skill was going to be required this day. Once the fire was going, a constant cycle of logs surrounded it to dry before use. We roasted sausage dogs, with leftovers going into the baked beans that night.
Sunday was the nice day, and we took no time after breakfast, driving from Dougherty Campground down to the Buckhorn Overlook. We enjoyed the magnificent view (as usual) before heading to Honeymoon Pond to fish. (The two ponds out here had recently been stocked for the season.) Tbear caught one, and I lost a TON of bait without snagging any.
Birdy and the kids enjoyed finding toads, and observing the beetles that malted into dragonflies! (I learned something that day.) After that, we came back to camp for lunch, where I realized that I had gotten burnt, sitting in the sun. We all applied sunscreen, but for me it was too late, and I’d be paying and peeling for weeks to come.
That afternoon, we went fishing at Tee Pee pond nearby. It was more popular, and had many folks camping (dispersed) all around it. Apparently, it was bear season, so many four wheelers were running about with hunters on them. TBear caught another fish. I too, hooked a few, but many broke the line or spat the hook. (I fish barb-less, and release whenever possible anyway.)
On our return, we restored the fire without much difficulty, and enjoyed hobo-style foiled dinners. TBear even roasted up his catch of the day! Throughout the trip, we enjoyed many walks, finding flowers, mushrooms, and relics of the past.
Monday morning, we packed camp so quickly, we had time to spare! With this new-found surprise, we could afford a stop by Red Hill Lookout Tower. After getting home, I unhooked, parked, and switched vehicles to return TBear, making for a long, well-spent holiday weekend.
Until next time, enjoy the photo gallery!