On Friday I wrote a pre-camping post titled “In Case I Get Eaten by Bears.” The title was obviously a joke, because I had no expectation of being consumed by mammals. Insects, yes. Mammals, not so much.
Mere moments after I posted, my friend Esther had this to say on Facebook:
“Jenny, did you see that Payson Lakes is closed today because of bear issues? I know your husband is going to hurt me for telling you, but I don’t want you getting eaten by bears. Check KSL for the story.”
I immediately went to the KSL website (I admit, a small part of me wondered if I’d found an out and wouldn’t have to go camping) and found this ever-so-comforting information:
“A curious bear caused quite a commotion at Payson Lake Campground Thursday evening. …Early Thursday, campers were told to be cautious, but later in the evening, they were told to get out of the campground. …Payson Lakes Campground will remain closed until rangers are confident that the two bears are no longer in the area and no longer a threat to the public.”
Umm…okay. I called the ranger station just to confirm, because I know Car, and I knew he wouldn’t throw in the towel based on one silly news story. Bad move on my part—the lower campground (where the bears were sighted) had been shut down, but the upper campground (where our reservation was located) remained open.
So we packed up our car and our kids, and with no small amount of trepidation on my part (Car: “You’re not really nervous, are you?” Dude, bears. BEARS.) we headed into the mountains.
Oh, and I took a notebook. You’re welcome.
Camping, Day 1
July 22, 2011
It’s 4:00 pm and we’re finally on our way to the bear-infested campground. Big G is beside himself—not just because we’re going camping, but because there are two flies in the car who are hitching a ride. “My friends are going camping with us!”
This is going to be a long trip.
4:05 pm Big G made up a song for the flies: “We’re going to go camping and you’re coming too!” He’s telling them how cool it’ll be to see all the stars in the sky. We’re like the fly version of the Starship Enterprise, and they’re boldly going where no flies have gone before. I kind of want to kill one of the flies just to see Big G’s reaction.
I have issues.
4:15 pm Big G: “It’s taking a long time to get there, mom.” Dude.
4:20 pm Big G: “Mom, there’s a butterfly out there! In real nature!” We need to get out more. Speaking of real nature, two little deer just ran across the road in front of our car. Wait…Bambi? Where am I?
4:25 pm Just passed a truck being towed out of the canyon. I’m guessing the owner was mauled by a bear.
4:30 pm Should I be worried that tons of cars are headed out of the canyon but our is the only one going in?
4:35 pm Big G: “Fly, do you like it? I bet you like it. Mom, both of them like the car.”
4:40 pm Other vehicles spotted head up the canyon. at least we won’t be the only entrée on the menu. Related: my husband drives like an old lady and now there are three pickup trucks pulling trailers stacked up behind us.
4:45 pm The eagle has landed! Big G just tried to come out my door and I told him to use his own. Big G: “But it’s plant-y out there!” Me: “Yeah, that’s kind of the point.”
5:00 pm I already have three mosquito bites. Nature totally hates me.
5:30 pm Car informs me the initial surge of the electric air pump is too much for the inverter to handle. Translation: no pump, no air mattress. I will be sleeping on the ground. What the hell?
6:00 pm Car borrowed an air compressor from the recreation services employee who lives at the campsite across from us. With some ingenuity and duct tape, I’ll be sleeping on an air mattress. Huzzah!
6:20 pm Sent the menfolk to check out the toilet situation. I consider this a very important scouting expedition. Perhaps should have sent someone with higher standards than “a hole in which to pee.”
6:35 pm I’ve broken five nails so far. Nature sucks.
6:40 pm Nature has a lot of squirrels.
6:45 pm Ventured off to the bathrooms. Really not so bad, except for the pair of Disney panties on the floor that I’ve decided not to question.
6:50 pm Heard a noise in the bushes across the road. Looked over and saw a deer headed toward our campsite. Nature is kind of awesome.
7:00 pm Air mattress still blowing up. It is, perhaps, the world’s wussiest air compressor. We may have a fully inflated mattress around midnight.
7:30 pm Few things are more exciting to a 5-year-old boy than tossing twigs onto a fire. I did not know this.
7:45 pm The air mattress is mostly inflated. Car decides it would be faster to finish it himself.
8:35 pm Air mattress and sundry bedding are finally in the tent. Big G has decided to throw weeds on the fire, but for some reason words it like so: “Mom, should we throw some weed on the fire?”
8:40 pm I’m still giggling, because I’m apparently 13.
8:45 pm Menfolk go in search of water and leave me alone with 12 bars of chocolate. This seems like poor planning on their part.
8:50 pm I hear a voice in the distance yelling, “No! No! NO!” It’s Car. I don’t want to know.
9:15 pm Mmmm…s’mores.
10:30 pm We hear a loud crashing noise in the woods and take refuge in the car while Car investigates.
11:10 pm As we climb into the tent, Little G asks mournfully, “Are we done camping, mom?”
Stay tuned for Camping, Day 2!