10 July, 2008

Another Squirrel Creek Adventure

This has the potential to be a very *long* post. My options are to try not to be boring, or to break this into multiple posts. Since I already have the topic of my next post, I decided to try not to be boring. You'll have to let me know how that works out...

Our second camping trip of the season - over 4th of July weekend - was spent in Squirrel Creek. This is an area that we've been to many times over the past couple of years. We try to get in some new areas each year, but at least once we head north to Squirrel Creek. The drive up was gorgeous - as usual.
View from Sheep Mountain pulloff

Since I *froze* last time (at Byers Lake), we came prepared this time. Sure, it's July... but that's no guarantee that it's going to be warm. Greg bought new sleeping bags - rated for -25 degrees - and a tent heater, and we brought lots of tarps in case of rain. I also packed some long sleeve shirts, long johns, and plenty of warm fuzzy socks. Good thing I also packed a pair of shorts (one), a couple t-shirts, and a tank top. Also a good thing that when you're camping you're allowed to wear the same thing every day. (Let's just say the tent heater never came out of the box... but that's okay, cuz I'm sure we're going to need it - I'm going to need it - on the Labor Day trip...)

(Note: I normally have to get up 2-3 times - at least! - every night and make the trek to the outhouse. I always hate this because it's cold, I'm sleepy, outhouses are no fun - especially in the dark - and I'm losing sleep. This trip, two nights in a row I was able to sleep the night through, without the trek. I wonder if that has anything to do with being warm while I'm sleeping? Hmmm...)
Cooling off in the "lake"

It was so warm that we didn't have fires until late, late at night - then not big ones because people are starting to go to bed. I didn't even roast any marshmallows this trip... The best fire we had was the last night - and that's because we were working on burning up as much of the wood we brought as possible. I love big fires!

The warm days ensured we were out & about (tents were too hot & stuffy for napping most of the time), which provided lots of fun. John, Sam, Jennifer, & Tony brought 4-wheelers - so people doubled up, and headed up into the hills. Apparently it was pretty dusty out there, since everyone that went headed over to the lodge down the road (we lovingly refer to it as the Adult Day Care Center) for showers.
Dirty Boys

Those of us that stayed behind had a fabulous time. I relaxed in the sun reading and later tried to nap for a bit. Then we played games and ate junk food until the rest of the crew arrived. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how potent the sun was. I was wearing my tank top, and now have some lovely lobster red shoulders that are peeling. I'm just glad they're not so sore anymore. It seems everyone ended up with some type of sunburn by the end of the weekend. =) Sadly, my burn happened on Thursday - so I had to wear regular t-shirts for the rest of the long, hot weekend. I'm just grateful my burn was on my shoulders. Jen burned from the t-shirt line down to her hands. No way to keep that out of the sun - unless you're willing to wear long-sleeved shirts and be a puddle of goo...
Party girls at camp

Friday was more goofing off and relaxing. Those that didn't get to ride previously, took the chance this time. Ride wasn't as long, but apparently it was just as dirty - and fun.
Uni-brow, anyone?

Teach 'em young!

Since it was the 4th, we *had* to have fireworks!! They're not allowed in the campground, so we trek out to the road (just outside the boundaries) to enjoy our fun. We had pretty sparklers, mortars, screamers, and - the best - roman candles. It was great!! The property across the road also had fireworks, so we got a double treat. There were lots of roman candles - so we could have duels. =) Some of our crew are just down right crazy... We had these wars last year too - see here - but we had one casualty this year. Greg hit John in the nose. He's okay now - a little skittish around loud noises and bright lights, but that should pass with time... =)
John defeated

Saturday we headed out to Valdez. It's only an hour from Squirrel Creek, so I just can't pass up the opportunity to visit with my sister. It's a fun trip, with spectacular views - as a bonus, we get showers, flushing toilets, and a visit with Sara. There are lots of geocaches on the way too, and since most of our group are also avid cachers there's plenty to do. The scenery is breath-taking in Valdez - but I wouldn't choose to winter there (too much snow!). I have loads more pictures (I took more than 100 over the course of the weekend) that I will be posting to my Flickr account in the near future.
Mountain view in Valdez

Hangin' with Sara

And we've reached the end of another campout with the Bucket O' Fun club. It was lots of fun, and the weather was wonderful - the best we've had all summer! I think the September trip is to Hope... we shall see, eh?
Bucket O' Fun

Greg and I took a detour on the drive home - for some caching, of course! But it also gave me the opportunity to see some areas that I haven't been to before. We stopped at Liberty Falls, just outside of Chitina (pronounced Chitna) and then proceeded to the Copper River. In previous trips, some of our party have made this trek, but this was the first time I've been. Liberty Falls was fantastic. And now I have an image (of a wide meandering brown river lined with fish wheels) to go with "Copper River Reds" - these are practically the most famous salmon around (at least the best marketed).
Liberty Falls

Fireweed on the Copper River

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