adventures of cranky cheb
Determined to get outside and go camping over Presidents' Day weekend even with a 90% chance of rain, we decided to play it safe and book a yurt. Discouraged by the consecutive days of rain leading up to our trip, our group of eight people dwindled down to three humans and two dogs. Loading up the car under reasonably aggressive rain showers, we threw the two dogs in the back and embarked on a stormy, grey adventure with the windshield wipers on high. There is nothing like the excitement of getting away for the weekend, heading to a new place (Grass Valley, CA), with new sleeping accommodations (first time yurt-ers), and a perfected food menu - all while adventuring with some folks as crazy as you are.
After hours of Spotify, podcasts, traffic, and a productive trip to Costco, we got there and it was pitch black and about 43 degrees. Almost on auto-pilot, we busted out the headlamps and the down jackets, and started unloading the car. Piling up everything right on the other side of the yurt door, we emptied out the trunk so that we could open up the tailgate, crack open some beers and throw some steaks on the stove.
There is nothing like cooking steaks and mashed potatoes in the back of the car against the dark canvas of the woods, listening to the sound of the rain tapping against the car metal. The smell of steak and melted butter, contrasted with the smell of fresh rain and the woods. It's like when you bring part of home, outside.
I always find camping and backpacking really empowering, reminding me that everything I need to exist or survive (for the next few days) is in my backpack. Or in this case... in the entire trunk of this large car. Apparently all I needed to survive this time was two coolers, a pack of maybe 30 cookies, four steaks, and 12 chicken breasts, 20 eggs, tons of beer, 16 servings of Chinese chicken salad, and maybe 4 lbs of tortillas. We decided to play it save and still buy food for nine people.
Since it was raining and cold outside, we picnicked inside - taking full advantage of the glamping lifestyle of Yurt living (with electricity and heat). During our stay, our bathroom was the great outdoors, and since it was so dark and rainy - you could literally pee anywhere and no one would know. In the nearby shed, there was a compost toilet available for our use with some sawdust next to it. I'll admit that I was banking on my stubborn bowl movements, which usually kicks in while I'm traveling / camping.
We fell asleep to the pitter pattering of the rain and the wind shaking the canvas, and woke up to the dogs responding to *coyotes* howling. Still not 100% sure what animals they were... terrifying, yes, but we decided that maybe it was time to get moving anyway.
We had a full breakfast planned of Green Chile Breakfast Burritos (directions below), and then decided to add our own twist. Tons of bacon. By the time the bacon was the perfect crispiness, the dogs were ready, and we were ready.
Carbo and bacon loaded, we were off and ready to go to 1. Find me some coffee and 2. Find us a non-compost toilet and 3. Go hiking.
I had found this dog friendly park that had listed a moderate 3 mile hike to a "Hidden Fall" - at the Hidden Falls Regional Park. It rained the entire 30 min drive from the coffee shop, and right before we hopped out of the car, it stopped. Planning on doing the 3 mile hike, we ended up exploring a bit more, and finished a rough 7 mile loop around the park.
It didn't rain the entire time we were there.
Exhausted when we got back, we decided to make some steak fajitas with our leftovers. A happily stuffed, dry, warm, and full of cookies evening - ended up taking a sharp turn when we took out the Scrabble board. We ended the night with being decimated at Scrabble by a not-so-secret-anymore Words with Friends semi-pro, who repetitively killed me with his deathly two letter combo moves. Cursed by my constant hands of having 90% vowels, I accepted my defeat to the (by now) drunk Scrabble master. I can only handle so many rounds of losing, especially when the winner was falling asleep between turns, so we called it a night.
It was one of those trips where it had a 95% chance of being a disaster. One of those situations when you see how you and the people around you react when things just aren't exactly how you want them to be. Do you stick it out and see what happens, or do you bail early and change course. In this instance, we went in embracing the adversity with a positive attitude, and it ended up being great.
So when life gives you rain, take a good look at who is in the kayak next to you.