Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adventures in New Hampshire

Yep, the "Live Free or Die" state. Seriously, it's on every license plate. And I love it so.

As of last Friday night, we still had not decided whether or not we would be camping or not. The weather forecast told us that there would be a 50%-60% chance of torrential downpours from 10pm Saturday night until 10am Sunday morning, with a potential of severe thunderstorms. But after foregoing this trip a few times already, (for reasons other than weather, though weather was often a factor), watching forecasts even for 80% chances of rain fail miserably, we decided to go for it within an hour of waking up on Saturday morning. My 4 year old was the main cataylst in this decision, as he woke up, stretched, and said "Mama, let's go camping. I sleeped well." Keep in mind, the kid has never been camping and I am unsure how he even knew that it involves tents, sleeping bags, and marshmallows.

So after our whirlwind packing of the truck, we hit the road around 10:30am. There were still a few necessities to purchase: a tarp, propane, toilet paper, a cooler, ice. All of which could be gotten at Walmart. Tris ran in, as we had the dog with us and are not the type to leave an animal alone in a car for more than 5 minutes. (In fact, we often report people that do such a thing, usually if it's in the middle of an excessive heat warning). He came back 3 minutes later, fuming. Apparently, the place was absolutely swarmed (of course... what else do people have to do on a nice Saturday morning...), there was not a single cart to be had, and the camping supply section was completely ransacked. There were no coolers, anywhere, of any shape or size. A single 2373 x 333948 foot tarp for 10 million dollars. And a dented can of propane. Um. No.

So that set us back a bit. Decided to try a different Walmart, which was out of our way. It was also a clusterfuck, but at least they had what we needed.

So, by noon, we were finally, officially en route to destination. Around 2, we finally hit the beginning of what Tris likes to call 'the mountains', and I like to call 'hills', since I am a Rocky Mountain girl.

Just a bit later, we reached our destination, which was Tripoli Road Dispersed Camping. We had only heard of it through word of mouth, and there is not a ton to be found online as far as reviews. So, somehow, through word of mouth a a brief description on a webpage--

"The Tripoli Road Dispersed Camping Area offers a rustic, roadside,camping experience with no amenities. There are no formally developed sites, no potable water sources, and no fire rings or restroom facilities."

-- this somehow became our choice for a first camping trip with a pregnant woman and two really young children.

So, we spent over a half hour driving up and down this road, realizing that the place is, in fact, swarmed. I did not realize that there were so many women that have no issue with squatting in the woods! We finally settled on a rather large site closer to the beginning of the "dispersed camping" area. I thought it was gorgeous.

Tris was a bit crestfallen that we couldn't find an open site by the creek. So was I, but this worked out just fine, and there were no people around us. Which is pretty important to me when I'm trying to escape people to begin with. Oh and, the description lied. There were fire rings. 2 of them on our site, in fact.

We got our site all prepared, watched the kids run around and have a blast and actually behave much better than I expected. Even took the dog off his leash, certain he would take off into the woods since we were somewhere new, but he is a bit of a pansy and only wants to be where we are. Which is a good thing when you are smack dab in the middle of Bear Country.

One of the most important things to set up was 'my' bathroom. This consisted of of 5 gallon bucket with a hole cut in the bottom, that Tris put in a 4 foot deep gully in which I had to rock climb to get in and out of. He said that this was because he knew how much I like privacy, and that way, no one could ever know that I was taking a leak there. But I think that secretly he put it there for shits and giggles. Let's watch the pregnant lady climb rocks and hack through pine branches to go pee!! :-) The bucket was moved as soon as it got dark, so that, you know, I wouldn't kill myself in the middle of the night.

After setting up, Tris left on a mission to find a grocery store somewhere. This was a bit scary, as there was no cell service in the area, and I would be in the woods with 2 kids and a dog and no time frame of when Tris might be back, as we had no clue how far away food might be. Luckily, it only took him a half an hour to leave, find a place, shop, and get back. But the damn store had no marshmallows. This broke TJ's heart. We assured him we will make sure to have marshmallows in our possession before we even leave next time we go camping, and that seemed to make him feel better.

Sometime after that, I remember sitting on my special bucket, and realizing that my 'business' itched a bit. So I look down, and there's this small, but freaky looking spider sitting on the inside crotch of my jeans. It looked like this one:

Nevermind. I was attempting to google for a picture of one. But browsing through thousands and thousands of hideous spiders was making me really really uncomfortable. I am deathly afraid of spiders. But I am even more afraid of spiders in my cooch, and adrenaline saved my life and helped me manage to get that damn arachnid out of my pants and far, far away, without having to rockclimb with my pants around my ankles and asking Tris for help. Good thing, considering we had a visitor not even 5 minutes later.

Tris cooked (hot dogs and grilled BBQ chicken), I chilled in the hammock, the kids ran in and out of tents like possessed monkeys. It was blissful.

And then I hear a human not of our own, calling something to Tris. Tris went over and talked to the guy. I noticed that Wolfsheim (our dog) was bristling and very on edge. He did not like the guy. So I sat up to see what the deal was. It was just some white guy, no shirt, definitely drunk, and he was telling Tris that he lost his buddies over 3 hours ago and didn't know which way the main road was. He asked to borrow Tris' cell, which, Tris tried to say there was no service, but couldn't, because, apparently there WAS service where he was standing. The guy doesn't get an answer. Tris told him to hold on, and then came to me to tell me the chicken was done, and that he would be back, that he just wanted to give the guy a ride back to the highway. I would have said no, but it entailed a 2 minute drive, and knowing that a bit of wandering would procure cell service should I need it, I let him go. Panicked the whole 5 minutes he was gone, but you know.

When he got back, he was telling me how this guy was telling him that he had been kicked out of a campground in Kangamangus, and that the sheriff there had told him to go to "Third Eye Road". This led to giant guffaws from me. I can see the confusion... where we were is pronounced like "triple-eye road". So.. Third Eye. Yeah. Maybe not so funny to sane people, but *I* got a laugh! Anyway, turns out the guy's buddies were waiting on the side of the road for him, and he had gotten out of our truck and immediately started bitching at his girlfriend :-/ Tris hung around, because he wanted to make sure everything would be kosher. The girlfriend waved him on, so he came back to us. A few moments later, his cell rang, and it was the number that Third Eye man tried to call. Apparently, his buddies were slightly upset that Tris had helped the guy, because they had intentionally ditched him. Tris was a bit hurt by this, because after all, he was just trying to be a nice guy.

The kids fell asleep around 10, and Tris laid in the hammock and I sat and tended the fire and listened to music, trying to place, on a scale of 1-10, how badly I had to pee. And then I felt a breeze. I hadn't felt a breeze all day. And I knew the rain was gonna start. So I went to the hammock and shined the light in Tris' face to let him know, but he was asleep, so I left him be and went to go pee. No sooner had I buttoned my jeans than the clouds literally vomited all over the place. I caught a priceless glimpse of a stunned Tristan stumbling out of a hammock and rushing to get essentials under the tarp.

It rained. All night. And our tent leaked. I expected this, but not to the degree that it did. One of the worst moments was what I assume to be around 4 in the morning, having to pee ever so badly, with the rain harder than ever and making my head hurt with how loud it was. Waiting for what seemed like eternity, for it to let up just a little bit so I could put on my hoodie and go. It didn't let up. Rather, it got worse. But I still had my hoodie, right? Would help a bit. I grab it out of the mesh bag I had it in, that happened to be sitting in the largest puddle in the tent. It was dripping wet. I put it on anyway, exited the tent, did my thing. Got back in the tent. The rain stopped.

Sunday morning consisted of very bland eggs and some grilled maple links, and packing up all of our sopping wet gear. We left immediately after packing up, and went sightseeing along the Kangamangus Highway for 4 hours. I loved it :-) I'll leave you with a few (cell phone! :-O) pictures to admire. Happy trails!


Sara said...

Strangers at campgrounds freak me out. Sounds like overall it was a great trip. I've slept thru some storms in a tent. I think the key is to make sure nothing is touching the edges/sides of the tent. That has helped us to stay dry. Great pictures!

claire said...

every time i have ever attempted to camp in a tent in nh it has rained. every freaking time. but it is clearly the best state ever