Remember how, in my last post, we spotted that awesome campsite from House Rock trail the weekend before? I had my heart set on it for Mother’s Day camping with my kid. Camping has turned out to be an annual Mother’s Day plan for us, which suits me well, despite the fact that May is almost guaranteed to rain on you.
Well, rain it did.
Showers are ok, and that drizzly “liquid sunshine” we love in Portland is ok, but this weekend we got a good, solid, unceasing rain. The river was high, so the lovely beach had shrunk. The campsite was filled with puddles. Rather than spread our stuff out around the campsite for easy access, we left our gear and food either in the car or the tent, to keep it dry.
It took a long time to get a fire going, too. Finally the heat of the small flames dried out the fire pit and we were able to keep it burning till it was time to go.
We shared the campground with a group of people Friday night. They came by around noon on Saturday and stated, “We had been planning to stay, but it’s too wet.” And for the remainder of the weekend we were alone except for a work group of young people setting posts in a different part of the campground.
Saturday afternoon the rain fell less insistently, and we decided to hike across the footbridge to House Rock. On the way we marveled at several beautiful campsites along the river. Coming from the campground side, we saw steps built of stone, leading up to the bridge, that I had not seen the previous weekend. It’s the kind of thing one finds in old places in Oregon – stone walls built by hand, or stone benches and steps. I marvel that people of an earlier time felt that it was important to build quality features like this, putting effort into making things as beautiful as they are useful.
We explored House Rock again, even wetter underneath than I recalled, because of the increased rainfall. We wandered up the trail and spotted our camp from across the river. Then went back to camp and cooked dinner over the fire. By the time the food was ready, the clouds actually broke up and allowed a little sun to shine. Tara pulled out a deck of cards and taught me a game to play. We got in many hands of cards before raindrops appeared once more, and we went into the tent to watch a movie. I had downloaded “the Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” before we left, and we watched it snug as bugs in the tent.
Sunday morning rain let up right about sunrise, which was handy for packing up camp. Usually, when packing camp, I spend much of the morning spreading gear over bushes and snags, letting the morning warmth dry it out. That would have been a farce this time. I rolled everything up, sopping wet, and stuffed it into the trunk of the Dragon Wagon. (Luckily the following day in Portland was sunny and warm all day, so I was able to scrub the mud off everything and dry it out well before re-packing it for storage.)