Saturday, September 10, 2005

"Hello Allis!" - Camping at Allis State Park Vermont

I did embrace the updating there pretty good for a while. This week just totally got away from me, and I found myself very not wanting to type and write. So instead I built sets.

One is from this past weekend's camping trip, which I shall write about here. The other I did for Aaron. He doesn't have Flickr, nor does he have internet access at the moment. I found his old pictures from his Antarctica and New Zealand trip and posted them for him so he can show people when he gets to Washington State. More on that later.

coffee and fireSo yeah. Camping. Saturday morning Doug, Geoff and I went to Vermont with the dogs and went to Allis State Park in Randolph, just south of Norwich and Barre. It is a really cool place, very beautiful campsites all spread out apart from each other. I'll defiantly go back there.

We set up our camp, did some hiking, and settled down for the night. We were looking at the stars and admiring the fact that even with the lantern and the fire we could see the milky way. I looked down at my book for a minute, looked back up at the stars and didn't see them at all.

"Hmmm. That's funny, the stars vanished. I wonder wh-"

splat, drip, deluge. Crap! The sky opened up. We scrambled to cover stuff, threw the dogs in the tent, grabbed our books and jumped in ourselves. It was pouring like I've never seen before. We were saturated in less than a minute and now we had two sopping wet dogs in the tent with us too; two dogs who didn't get a chance to go for their night time walkies. Great.

I had to use my shirt to wipe up the tent floor where the flap was open and we were jumping in. So my shirt took one for the team. Luckily my fleece was on my sleeping bag or I would have been topless until further notice (with Geoff in the tent, that is no fun. Otherwise... you know).

I sat awake until it let up, ran out to the truck for a dry shirt, and took the dogs for their walk. I then had visions of water leaking into the tent all night based on our Mt. Blue camping experience and cursed my husband because he said "eh, it's not gonna rain this weekend."

I cursed the campground because there weren't any good trees for us to tarp onto in order to cover the tent to prevent something like this (that was my plan) from happening. I cursed myself for not being able to go to sleep. I was exhausted from our hike earlier in the day but constantly fearful that in the night, without my diligent eye, the tent would leak like a sieve, we'd be soaked and wake up swimming. Everyone else slept great.

Sunday morning dawned grey and gloomy and I thought for sure it was going to rain like a bastard on us all weekend. We went up to Barre to go shopping and geocache, drove on some insane dirt roads and backed out of a few because we didn't want a repeat performance of the truck getting stuck the way we did in Maine the weekend before.

That's just embarrassing.

By about 3 in the afternoon the gloom cleared and we had nothing but gorgeous blue Vermont skies with giant marshmallow clouds and soft wispy breezes to keep us company. It was perfect. That night was also perfect, and we had a raging campfire under the same stars, only this time they didn't vanish behind the deluge.

Monday was awesome. More unbelievably perfect weather. We took our time striking camp, because the park was closing. It wasn't like anyone needed to be in our space that night so the ranger totally relaxed on us and we left an hour after check out. We geocached around Randolph, and up into Roxbury, and then went to Texas Falls in the Green Mountain National Forest. The waterfall wasn't going very fast, and unlike the waterfall of our Maine Weekend, there were signs everywhere forbidding anyone to step in and take a dip. No swimming, no walking here, no touching that, no this, no that. The difference between National Forest and state park is incredibly noticeable.

We had a really nice picnic, and got home around 8pm. It was a lot of fun, and I'm incredibly sorry to see summer dwindling to a close around me. I need like two more nice sunny cool weekends with a totally worry-proof tent, and then I'll feel that 2005 summer can gracefully exit stage left.

Aaron came and stayed with us on Wednesday. It seems that for right now he and Michelle are going to be splitting up. Which sucks. For them indeed, but totally for me because they are all my fun in the whole world.

He's taken a job in Washington State with the Forest Service (the same people who say no to swimming in the waterfall in Vermont). She'll stay in Maine.

I can't really address the details of what is going on with them here, but I'm really sad for them. I've always loved them individually and as a couple. They've been the most steadfast friends we've had for over a decade. I'm hoping to not lose contact with either of them, and wonder what the future holds for them.

In the meantime, if you pray, please pray for his safety and happiness as he goes West to Washington to the National Forests to patrol by motorcycle and ATV. And pray for Michelle to find solace and happiness in her life. That's about it.

It was really nice having Aaron visit, and say bye to the kids, moreso than to say bye to us... He went to the bus stop with me when I took Geoff up. He could have spent time packing his bike, but he knows. He knows that he is Geoff's hero and that Geoff isn't going to see him for quite a long time.

So yeah. Sad here. Geoff is taking it well, but I know in mid-October he's going to say "I want to go see Aaron, and go to his house and go hiking and play with his dog..." and honey, that just ain't happening again. Aaron's not there. Michelle is, but I don't know if she'll want a house full of us without Aaron there. It's kind of weird.

This weekend is football weekend. And in years past every time I've written about how much I love football and cannot WAIT for the season to start, something horrible happens. September 10, 2001 I wrote a big big thing about how football is the single greatest thing in the universe and then we all know what happened September 11th. So I won't jinx us. Football is nice. I'm happy it's back. Let's leave it at that.

As for the whole Katrina mess, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions and feelings, but really feel it's all been said and shared elsewhere. I just am tired of the talk and the pundits and the blame and the fingerpointing. I'm weary... and just wish for all of this to someday be behind us all as a nation. It sucks.

I will say that there is nothing cooler than a surprise gift in the mail. I got home from work one day this week and ETS had mailed me a CD of the Young Dubliners. I haven't had time to pop it into the CD player in my car (it is in the trunk and it's a bitch to take out and yadda yadda so I want to listen to it in the truck), but I'm longing to do that. It gave me such a laugh to get real mail. How sad is that.

Alright -- there's your update. Thrilling. Sorry it took so long for those of you who were worried. I'm just a bit befuddled and occupied. Embracing the updating will be something that happens more frequently, I'm sure. In the meantime, go enjoy pictures.

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