Something that is very important to my positive camping experience is the food. I don’t know why, but food always seems to taste better to me when I am camping. Maybe because it takes longer and it is more effort to cook things? Who knows. But we had good food on this camping trip.
Evan borrowed a pretty sweet camp stove from his friend Ian.
Coleman it is not, and it does not take propane. You feed small pieces of wood into it, light it, turn it on (it runs a fan), and you have this little fire that you can cook on. Magical. Also, that green light is a USB charger, so once it’s heated up you can charge all your devices. I had no signal on my iPhone, but I was using it to read my book and listen to music so it was very handy to be able to charge it.
We used the little stove to brown ground beef for tacos.
And it worked out a lot better than I expected!
Evan was in charge of the food, and usually for things like this I like to take on that important role so I know I will be eating well and in abundance, but he actually might be a bigger food lover than I am. And he’s certainly a better cook. And he’s more organized. So I trusted him. We had also planned all our meals in advance so I had a good idea of what he would be bringing. I was not expecting him to bust out containers of pre-chopped lettuce and tomato so our tacos would be less of a hassle to make, but again with the good common sense. He exceeded my expectations in the food department (and he brought the best snacks also!).
We did forget a cheese grater though, so we had to finely slice the cheese with a butter knife.
But it worked out.
The tacos were amazing. I had three of them, and Evan was just starting on his fourth when all hell broke loose.
Up until this point it was only raining lightly, so we were fine under our tarp. It started raining quite a lot harder while we were eating our tacos, and the water was not properly draining off the tarp above us so it was collecting in a pocket directly above where Evan was sitting eating his taco. We noticed it and were going to take care of it when we finished eating, but then it just started downpouring and the tarp filled with water and suddenly collapsed directly on top of Evan’s head, gushing water everywhere and ruining his taco. I was beside him but half the tarp just dropped, completely missed me, and created kind of a wall between us. When I pushed the tarp aside and saw Evan’s expression I just died. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone look so disappointed. I started hysterical silent scream laughing and I could not stop. Every so often for the rest of the evening I would picture wet Evan with the broken tarp all around him and start laughing again. Sporadically for the rest of the weekend I would just start laughing really hard for no apparent reason and Evan would be like “What? What happened? What’s funny?” and I would manage to get out “Still you and the tarp!” Seriously funniest thing I have seen in a long time. I still laugh when I think about it. It will probably be a cartoon post at some point.
So we fixed the tarp and tried to sit underneath it, with our ponchos on for extra protection.
Still relatively happy campers, but it was around this time that a serious storm rolled in and sheets of rain started coming down. It was honestly raining sideways. It was all fine and dandy when it was raining lightly in the daytime, but as soon darkness came it got really nasty outside. There was no way we could have prepared for an intense rainstorm, and our tarp was useless.
If the rain wasn’t bad enough, the wind was worse. It blew everything everywhere. It was absolute chaos.
Batten down the hatches!
I think this next picture really shows how much Evan was impressed with the situation.
If I could have chosen anyone to be in this wet experience with me, it would have been Evan. We really tried to stop everything from getting wet (including ourselves), but it was just in vain. Everything aside from what was in our tent was soaked. Eventually I just resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be wet and dirty for a prolonged period of time and I got in my bathing suit and poncho and helped Evan protect our gear. I even went swimming that night because I figured I was already as wet as I would be if I was swimming anyway.
I headed straight to our tent afterwards to dry off (with paper towels because our towels were wet) while Evan went and tied our food in a tree. He was all “Be right back!” and then he was gone for a long time and I couldn’t hear anything except the wind and the rain, and I couldn’t see anything except darkness when I looked outside, so I was afraid he had gotten eaten by a bear. All those urban legends about the boyfriend not returning after saying “be right back!” flashed through my mind and I had a momentary freakout. But he returned safe and wet, and we spent the rest of the evening in the tent while the storm did its thing outside. It didn’t stop until at least 3am, so we read our books until we fell asleep. That was actually nice and cozy (if a bit damp) and I slept pretty well as the rain drowned out all other noises of potential animals and axe murderers.
Evan did not sleep quite as well. He had his own momentary freak out in the middle of the night when he heard a noise that sounded like a gunshot and he thought it was a bear breaking the branch the garbage was tied to. He didn’t tell me at the time because he said he didn’t want to scare me, but I think it was tricky for him to sleep after that. You just lie awake listening to every noise and wonder what it is. I’m sure we all know that sleep.
The next morning we got up and surveyed the damage. Our site was destroyed. Everything was soaked and there was a river running through the middle of it all. I thought my clothes bag was safe and in a dry zone, but nope, wrong, I found it sitting in a puddle of water. All I had that wasn’t wet was the pajamas I was wearing and a sweater.
I tried to dry my stuff out by the fire…
But our wood was wet so my clothes just got smoked out. Everything I owned smelled like hickory smoked bacon.
Our canoe took on some water as well…
I feel like I am beating a dead horse rambling on about the rain here, but honestly it rained so much that I couldn’t believe it was STILL raining. How could it possibly keep raining? I have experienced rain while camping before, and it’s obviously not as fun as sunshine, but that was just too much.
We really tried to make the best of the situation, even though it was cold and everything was wet.
For breakfast we had Mr. Noodles on the camp stove.
That right there really boosted my spirits.
And in the early afternoon we were finally able to get a fire started, despite our wet wood, so that means hot dog time.
But not just hot dogs, hot dog sandwiches!
And the bun was toasted with butter and garlic salt. All Evan’s idea, and it was just delicious.
Our original plan was to stay over Saturday night as well and leave on Sunday, but the sun did not look like it was going to ever come out again and camping in the rain is just not as good. Evan floated the idea of going home early by me, and I had already been thinking it, but I was glad I wasn’t the first one to bring it up. As soon as I started thinking about a hot shower and my nice warm bed I could not stop. So maybe you will say we chickened out, but I’m alright with that. We packed up and said one last goodbye to our beautiful campsite.
We left around 6, stopped at a little ribs restaurant on the way home, where they cooked the ribs on a barbecue in the backyard (and no one noticed how bad we smelled because we just smelled like the ribs) and I had maybe the best pulled pork of my life…
So it was quite the experience. I definitely enjoyed myself, and I would go again…just not in the rain. And it really is so much more convenient having your car on the site so you can be sure that you have somewhere dry to store everything.
Have you ever gone camping in the rain? Or even just been stuck outside while it was storming?