Glacier at Joffre Lakes Provincial. Park, BC

While traveling through British Columbia, HK and I camped at Birkenhead Lake, a remote, pristine Provincial Park located about two hours north of Whistler . As we were setting up the pup-up, the park ranger told us there were bears in the campground right now, to watch out for Chance. We kept him on a pretty short leash those couple of days.

Birkenhead Lake Campground

While there, we took a long, strenuous hike through a boulder and scree-field-the result of an avalanche- to Joffre Lakes. Beginning the hike, a fine but steady mist fell on the already saturated ground, making the going slippery and a bit unnerving. Chance went along, but HK had to carry him on the boulder walk.  Roxy and Kismet couldn’t join us due to foot injuries). We passed a few brave souls on the hike, each commenting on what a trooper our little dog was. Chance loves to hike, and pulled his leash and encouraged us every step of the way.

As we climbed and scrambled to seemingly non-stop rocks and mud, the cloud cover dissipated, offering a beautiful vista of the glaciers looming just beyond the lakes.

Joffre Lake

Have you traveled to rural parts of British Columbia? We’d love to see your pictures!

Corny, Huh?

Here’s me in Mitchell, SD at the World’s Only Corn Palace!

We should have had a clue during the drive into Fort Peck Lake when swarms of grasshoppers and flying crickets made the highway asphalt appear to be moving sideways. Stopping to re-provision at a small grocery, HK commented on the insects fighting their way into the car.

Since the lakefront campground was void of shade trees and the temps hovered in the 90’s at 5pm, we chose the more secluded and shaded “Downstream Campground”. (more…)

Anyone who knows me knows that I am frugal. Some even call it cheap.  OK, I’ll admit to that. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t want to save a buck when possible? So I’ve put together a handy-dandy list of ways to save money on your next camping (or other) trip. (more…)

It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to post, mainly because we’ve been “off the grid” of wi-fi. From Sequoia national park to Redwoods to Olympic and Rainier, we’re trying to catch up on blogging the adventure. So here is a recap of  our time in California and Washington. (more…)

the view from our campsite at Zion

So far, we’ve enjoyed Zion Cayon Campground the best. As we had no immediate neighbors, and were set beside the Virgin River, the dogs loved playing in the water and evenings provided us with fantastic stars set between the jagged rocks of the Zion mountains.

the Pup-Up

Hiking The Narrows

We hiked The Narrows, a two and a half hour, upriver trek, where there is no path; the river is your trail. Early on we crossed chin- deep in the 55 degree clear currents. The majority of the hike was knee to crotch deep and we found that holding hands was the safest way to navigate the strength of the river. However, when we tried to pass this info along to other, often clueless, hikers, no one ever heeded our advice.

In fact, the intelligence of some of the hikers was questionable at best. As we rented neoprene booties, special boots, and long sturdy hiking sticks, others attempted the hike in sandals or worse, barefoot. I wondered aloud if these people were just stupid or just too cheap to spring for the shoe rental, but HK warned me to keep it to myself. I did, however, belt out a “You’ve GOT to be kidding” when we saw a guy desperately needing to show off his importance by whipping out his….

ipad! What did you think I was going to say??

navigating the Narrows

 For any sweat-inducing activity, or water-based sports, cotton clothing is a no-no, as it keeps you wet and cold. Quick-dry attire is a must. However, again, the clueless wore bluejeans and tee-shirts, looking miserable, slogging along the waterway in their soaked, clinging clothes.

The morning we went, we watched a short, informative video about the potential dangers, including the risk of flash flooding thru the Narrows Canyons. Hikers have drowned in these floods, and since there was a 70% chance of rain this morning, I admit I was leery. But hey, it would make for a great story, so we prepared for the worst, hoped for the best, and went for it!

The narrows is a very deep canyon that has been cut through the mountain by thousands of years of water running through the mountains. At points, it is impossible to look up and even see the top of the canyon. In many places, there is no escape route in case of a flash flood. Hikers are told of the warning signs of an oncoming flood–a change in the color of the usually clear water, stronger currents and debris flowing downstream, such as logs and other hikers.

It was well worth it. This, so far, has been my favorite hike. There is something about the slightest possibility of danger that feeds my soul and brings out the old risk-taker that I used to be.

At the campground, we met another blogger, Russ, from N.J.. His travel blog is www.raffaytravels.worpress.com. Check them out, it’s a great site. Russ is a teacher, traveling over the summer with his wife and four kids, in their popup. We have camped near them in Moab and Bryce, but only just met in Zion. It’s fun to meet other travelers along the way, and he shared some helpful tips, as well.

We’re off again, but check back, whenever we find reliable, free wi-fi, I will update our adventures.

Well, HK and I are still here.  Huge sigh of relief! On Saturday, May 21, 2011, at exactly 6:00PM (CST) just outside of Heflin, Alabama, we took a long draw off our vodka-tonics and held our breath.  Nothing. Nada. Zilch.  All the good folks surrounding us in their campers and tents were still there, too. (And I know for a fact they were good, God-fearing Christians, given the nuber of Jesus fish and “God is my Co-Pilot” bumper stickers surrounding us.  But this post isn’t about the Rapture, or religion, for that matter.  This post is about observing the world from a new standpoint.

Hk and I, as you know by now, purchased a pop-up camper this spring. We’re heading West in a couple of weeks and decided to do a trial run with the 3 pups. We needed to stay w/in a 2-hour drive, because our friends Stef and Glenn needed to be back in Atlanta for a Sunday afternoon function. So we agreed on Coleman Lake campground in the Talladega National Froest outside of Heflin, Ala.  The campground offered a lake (hence the name) and several hiking trails, along with wooded sites and electric hookups (a must in 90-degree weather).

So Friday afternoon, we popped-up the pup and settled in.  As crowds of watermelon-shaped folks began arriving and claiming the surrounding campsites, we wondered if we were still actually in the United States?

“Whereyuns fixunta setche cayump upayat?”

“Dju hayar wandar cumdoyon seeyak?

OK, I am from the South, (Kentucky), and haved lived in Tennessee and Georgia for all of my adult life.  I’ve been told I have an accent, but this gibberish our neighbors were spoutin’ out was, to me, unintelligible. I have friends from Birmingham- this is not the way they speak.   After actively listening in to their conversations for while, I began to decipher the words.   “Where are you setting up camp?” and “Did you hear Wanda got sick?”  It almost became a game to see who could figure it out first.

Still standing

The campground was, as promised, nicely shaded and the sites were of decent size. The bathrooms were large and contained showers, although I figured a nice brisk swim would suffice in washing the sweat-soaked mosquito repellant off.  WRONG!  On Saturday, after a nice hike around the lake–actually a very shallow pond, it turns out– HK and I  put on our bathing costumes (I love that expression) and hit the “beach”.  The beach was mud the color of butterscotch, with visibility of about 2 inches, and the roped-off swimming area was no more than mid-thigh-deep.  Fuck-it. I really needed to cool off, so I put my sandals back on and began wading in.

“Ay Diddy, whatch ee-uss!”

A pre-pubescent boy was standing on a 6-foot wooden pole preparing to dive off head first in 3 feet of muck. I was obscenely drawn to the carnage about to unfold in front of my very eyes.

I held my breath.

“Git down offunthar, junior! I tolt jew hit ain’t deep’nuf!”

Thank God his Daddy had the presence of mind to call that one.  Just then, a female child around 9 or 10 yells…

“Ah just pooped mah paynees!!”

In a flash I was back on shore, headed to the shower house.

A small sign on the bulletin board between the men’s and women’s room read–and I swear this is the truth– “Caution!  For unknown reasons, touching the women’s shower fixtures while wet may cause an electrical shock”.   I had seen such warnings in South American budget hotel bathrooms, but not in decades. I kept on my sandals and took my chances.

ZAP!

It got me!  Sonofabitch that muther shocked the shit out of me! And I still had to turn the water off!

ZAP ZAP! Got me again! I looked at my watch. Only 5:00PM. The rapture wasn’t supposed to happen for another hour.

After rinsing my Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap from my body safetly back at camp, HK and I poured ourselves a drink and waited.  At approximately  6:02PM, we glanced around. All quiet on the Southern Front.

We raised a glass in a silent toast to our neighbors.

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