Snow Camp: January 16-18, 2004

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Well, for several years, Lin has been trying to get me to go to Snow Camp. But, you know, it just sounded too cold! Lin knows what she's doing, though, and somehow got me to agree to give it a try this year. I packed all my warmest gear, many many pairs of socks, and my best attitude for this trip! It was cold, yes, but it was tremendous fun, too. We ate and ate and talked and talked. The coffee was non-stop, 24/7, as was the food. Man, did we eat. Pancakes and fried baloney for breakfast, with eggs, ham, doughnuts, and fruit salad. Immediately upon finishing breakfast, someone would break out the meat for lunch and start grilling up beef and pork steaks or making chili or bean-and-sausage stew. I soon learned that the key to staying warm was to EAT. And there was a fair bit to drink, of course ;)

Lin and I trucked our tiny dirtbikes to a campground near Mt. Rainier and set up camp. We were only teased a little bit about not actually riding the bikes to Snow Camp because, well, they're just such cute little bikes! They are 250cc dirt bikes that have lights so that they are street-legal. This means we can feel free to travel on trails and on forest service roads, all pefectly legal. I don't know if Lin's bike has a name yet, but mine is called "Mafalda", after the Argentinian cartoon character. This was to be the first time Lin had her bike offorad, but you sure couldn't tell that by the way she rode it on the trails on Saturday afternoon. We took off after breakfast and the sun was shining all day. It was cold, yes, but we soon worked up a sweat prying our bikes loose from the mud and roots!

the Truck O' Fun arrives

Home Sweet Home

All mud and smiles

The trails were great, but we needed SNOW. So we headed up the nearest dirt road toward Anderson Lake. And we found snow! Not deep, though. It was just enough to give us a taste. Soon after we reached the end of the road, we met up with a group of guys from Snow Camp and rode with them for a while, aiming for all the mud puddles and berms we could find. Both little bikes behaved perfectly and I think the guys were jealous on their big dual-sport bikes. Maybe just a little? Anyway, we eventually made our way back to town and had a wonderful lunch, complete with homemade blackberry pie and beer. Then it was back to Snow Camp for another round of burning wood, passing drinks, eating, and talking until we were hoarse. What fun we had! I crept off to my tent eventually, though, and snuggled down under my electric blanket. It was powered by my portable power pack that I always keep in the truck for emergencies. It has an inverter so I can plug regular appliances into it. Well, when folks found out about that the next morning, they really teased me. But I didn't care. I was warm and happy in my tent!

look out! here I come!

Sweeeeet! Screw-studded tires.

Tommy's Dangerous Creation

It started raining Saturday night and continued to rain the whole day on Sunday. But no matter, we were happy to see it because that meant it was snowing on Mt. Rainier, just a few miles up the road from us. Sure enough, during breakfast (all three hours of it), the rangers came down to the camp site and said that no one was allowed up the road without chains on their wheels. Well, several of us did have chains on our motorcycle wheels, and Tommy even had skis on his! So off they went to play in the snow. A bit later, Lin and I took off to see if we could reach Paradise. By then, the rangers weren't enforcing the "chains required" sign and we sailed past it. The rain turned to snow soon enough and by the time I got to Paradise, it was a beautiful winter wonderland. I shut off the engine and listened to the silence of the falling flakes. It was pefect. I was so happy with my little Mafalda getting me up that slippery road. Lin didn't show up, though, and I got worried so I headed back down. She was waiting at a pulloff and we rode to Longmire to crouch under the hand dryer at the flush-toilet bathroom there, drying out our gloves and thawing our fingers. Then it was back to camp for an extended lunch, a chat around the campfire, and comparing notes with others who'd ventured out in the snow. Too soon, though, we had to leave for Seattle and our "real" lives. Oh, how I look forward to next year! Huzzah for Snow Camp! Thanks to everyone who shared, encouraged, and kept me warm over the weekend. See you next year!

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