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The Great Camping Escapade

Well, I guess it wasn’t really an “Escapade”.  And the use of initial capitals and the definite article might be a little much.  But it certainly was pretty great.  There will be pictures as soon as I find my camera.

We left late Friday and, after changing our destination a few times en route, we decided to hit up the Four Lakes region in Northern Idaho.  It was getting pretty dark by the time we bumped and banged our way up the rocky trail to the trailhead, so we decided to set up camp there for the night.  There was another group there, so we set up our tents on the far side of the road from them, accompanied by one of their dogs who was small, yappy, light-obsessed, and (Becky rightly suggested), quite possibly possessed of demons.

Once tents were pitched and food eaten, we slept.  Trevor and Aaron had both brought tents and crawled into their respective temporary abodes.  Becky and I, on account of it being a beautiful night, started the night out under the stars.  Unfortunately an unusually cold night and an as-of-yet unidentified large animal sent convinced us to move into Trevor’s tent.

Circumstances (Trevor’s sleeping bag proved to not much of a 40 degree bag and DEFINITELY not a low-30, upper-20s bag) of the evening convinced us that spending another night would be ill-advised.  This would prove to be fortuitous.  The next morning we got up early and had a leisurely breakfast of camp pancakes before striking camp and heading out for Lake Estelle.

The hike up was pleasant, with only a few really steep bits.  The lake itself was gorgeous.  It was clear and still and still incredibly cold with mountain runoff.  (We passed a few patches of snow in the upper parts of the trail.)  We all took a brief swim before lounging around in the sun and enjoying the remote, pristine beauty of the place.

The hike out was pleasant and uneventful.  The day was clear and warm and generally perfect for hiking.  We saddled up and headed out.

The way down the mountain proved to be just as bumpy as before.  Unfortunately, it looks like this trip managed to wound our faithful ride, my wonderful van Rossinante.  We got to the bottom of the mountain, but we hadn’t gotten very far down 200 toward Sand Point before the van started having shifting problems and then, when I pulled over and tried to turn it off and restart it, refused to start.  Coolant was very low, the engine very hot.  Water and time failed to revive it.  Then I noticed the oil pressure meter: zero.  It was very far from zero when we’d started down the mountain.  Fortunately, the resourceful Mr. Lewer has a AAA membership (despite not owning a car) and we were able to get a tow back into Spokane.  So currently, the van’s dead at an auto shop on Division.  I need to call them tomorrow early and let them know why they have a strange new van in their parking lot.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get Rossinante back on the road sooner, rather later (being a contractor means client meetings means a vehicle is pretty much a necessity.)  As for the weekend itself: the camping and hiking were excellent, the van troubles sucked, the company throughout both was amazing.  Thanks much to Becky, Trevor, and Aaron for sharing the weekend with me.

Posted in Realtime Autobiography.

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  1. Travelling the UK - caravans » Blog Archive » The Great Camping Escapade linked to this post on 2008.07.14

    […] The Tarquin wrote a fantastic post today on “The Great Camping Escapade”Here’s ONLY a quick extract […]