Sunday, March 29, 2009

You Could Call Me Nuts: except the squirrels stole them

Out of a somewhat misplaced desire to spend some *quality* time with my older sis, we decided to go camping at one of her favorite horsey-triany spots. The word "horse" alone should have popped warning flags up in my mind about the viability of the trails, but hey! I was in decent shape right? I bike know.....

So the date was set, and my personal journey began with a train ride to Turlock. I will gloss over this rather gloomy portion, except to comment on Stockton. The bus was driving to the train station, and as we began to pass over the bulk of the city, I began giving up hope of finding a coffee shop near bye to wait at. As we passed over even more of the city, and took our exit, I gave up hope of going ANYwhere but the station. And as we pulled up? I was willing--nay anxious to stay on the bus. Stockton is scary folks.

We stopped by Costco to grab some campy food on the way over to Livermoore Del Valle State Park. Jumping at the chance for nuts in bulk, I got baggies of hazelnuts and Brazil nuts. (remember this...this is important) We set up our humble tent-shack amidst the opulent moterhomes and one tent trailer that housed a rather unfortunate looking adolescent who really shouldn't have been sleeping that late in the day.

It was so hard. My calves were aching, my arches sore. The trail started up ahead, and we were forced to leave the parking lot behind. There were happy flowers, happy deer, and lots of shiny happy poison ivy. I took pictures of it all. That was probably all during the first .3 miles. Then....things got...a little dicey. I'm not really sure what the grade was, but I came up a name for it. Too Steep. I mean really really painfully steep. Like nose in front of the path and if you sniff too hard dirt clots hit your brain kind of steep.

Its bad enough to be forced to personally evaluate your fitness level under such circumstances (evaluation: paaaaaain), but an entirely different story to have marathon sister on the slope above yelling "come on you wimp!! it only gets worse!!!" Me: tries to catch breath while shooting murderous looks, but they are tired too and roll back down the hill without accomplishing anything.

After the first couple miles, any awareness of where I was kind of faded, and the only reason I took pictures anymore was to make my stopping to gaze over the valley more plausible and therefore have a chance to catch my breath. She bought it, anyway. But hey, I have pictures! I can prove it!

The best thing about the hike down, aside from the returning part, was thinking about what delights I was going to eat back at camp. I was going to have a banana and a handful of nuts. Yum! Until I heard these words: "Bethany, did you leave your nuts out?" Me: "noooo......" Melinda: holds out what appear to be two empty bags with holes gnawed in them. The dirty rotten scheming little ground squirrels had drug them from my food bag and eaten them. My immediate plan was to gut the 4 fattest ones I could find. Even if the nuts stayed gone, there would be immense satisfaction obtained. But, considering I couldn't walk after our "little" hike, that didn't happen.

Modern campgrounds. There is something wrong with them after spending years Civil War Reenacting when all you have is straw, wool blankets, and a porta potty if you're lucky. Even if permanent bathrooms are present, your light is what you bring with you and if the toilet has a seat, that means God is smiling on you. But these? THESE? Not only were there doors, seats, LIGHT, but there was hot water in the sinks. And I found a girl curling her hair with her iron plugged into the convenient outlet at the rustic outdoor sink counter. Add this to Mr. CampSpot 63 playing his radio into the night to serenade us all away, I was ready to pack up into the bush.

Shun!! Shun!!

Oh, and one thing, Melinda. When someone is sleeping, and you wake them up by asking "What was that noise!!??", they probably didn't hear it. Because they were SLEEPING when it was made. Just something to keep in mind.