Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 3: Hause Creek National Campground


Last night got pretty cold, and I didn’t want to leave the heater on over night, so I let River sleep with me under the comforter again. I hope he doesn’t get too used to this; he’s going back to his crate as soon as we get home. 

As the sunlight began to tease me awake, I thought I heard raindrops on the roof. But I lifted the blind and didn’t see anything, so I don’t know what it was. Maybe dew was dripping off of the tree that was over us. 

With a bit better planning, this morning was a lot more comfortable than yesterday. I hopped out of bed and switched the heater on and then got back under the down and waited until the house was heated enough for the thermostat to kick it back off. Then I got up and switched on the water heater as I took River for a stroll. When we came back, I made my coffee. By the time I was done drinking it, the water was sufficiently heated for a nice, warm shower and a shave. 

I had to remind myself that my showers weren’t to make me clean, but just to keep my filth levels down to only one day’s worth at a time. As soon as I step out, I start getting dirty again.  Once my bathroom duties were complete, I had the not-so-delightful chore of emptying my waste tanks. I won’t go into details. I washed my hands afterwards.

The next dirty thing I did was a lot more fun. I took River on the Yakima Sportsman State Park hiking trail. For anyone who is really into hiking, this would have been a huge disappointment, but for River and me, it was ideal. We ran and walked, smelled things and chased each other, and worked our way to the flood-control dike. But it was dry. We ran back to the camper. 

Yesterday I had put $30 in the envelope, even though the rate for the night was $28, just because I didn’t have the right change. Today, the park ranger came by and gave me my two dollars in change. 

I unhooked all my wires and hoses and shut and locked all my valves and doors on the outside of the coach. I swept the floor and wiped off the counters and put everything in what I thought was a safe secure place. I was still a bit nervous as I pulled out of the slot that something wasn’t right. As it turns out, my computer wasn’t so secure and not only fell onto the floor as I was driving over the mountain roads, but also later, when I opened the door to the house, it took another tumble to the ground. With all the abuse this laptop took today, I’m lucky to be typing this right now. 

I wanted to make today a short drive, so I headed for the Wenatchee National Forest, which was about thirty miles from Yakima, and started looking for camping. The first place I found was called Windy Point Campground. It was a tricky maneuver making that left turn off of a 50 MPH mountain highway with traffic behind me, but I made it. And then, taking this monstrous vehicle over bumpy dirty roads through this campground, even at 10 MPH was treacherous and nerve-wracking. But I saw that the campgrounds had no hookups and no real ambience unless you’re into dirt and being near the highway. Also, Windy Point got it’s name for a reason. Wow. Why would anyone want to camp here? You’d have to hold everything down all the time. So, I started her up and drove out of there, back onto Highway 12 West. 

The next place I came across was Hause Creek National Campground. At first it seemed just like Windy Point, only without the wind. And the roads were paved, so I drove further in just to check it out. I passed a power plant. (?) Again, I wondered, why would someone camp here? Who wants to camp next to a power plant? I kept driving, though, because you can’t just make a U-turn in this thing. 

I’m so glad I did. The campsites are right on the shore of a rapid river. Or I guess it’s Hause Creek, but I always thought creeks were small. Once I saw that rushing water, I knew I was home for the night. I found a slot right at a turn in the road so I could back straight out fairly painlessly in the morning. 

I’m really off the grid now. No electric, no water, no internet, not even AT&Ts 3G network. So it looks like tonight I’ll be relying on my batteries, propane and generator. 

River and I spent a couple of hours just walking around and being near the creek. I was transfixed and found a spot where I could sit on the ground just feet from the rushing water and meditate. I sat there for probably close to an hour, taking it all in. The longer I sat there, the more stuff I noticed. It was nice not having any responsibilities or duties for the rest of the day. I knew I could sit there as long as I wanted. In fact, even if I wanted to get up, I couldn’t because I was so entertained by the glorious nature before me. 

I don’t know why this is such an issue for me, but again, I’m having a quandary with the self-registration system. The fee here is $10. I have a handful of $20s and six $1s. I couldn’t take the chance that the ranger would empty the box and be able to make change for me, so I put the $6 in the envelope with a note saying I’m in slot 20, and I have a $20 bill and to come and get me if you have change. Geez. I’m probably going to get a reputation as this guy that camps and doesn’t pay. But I did learn something. It’s a good idea to bring a checkbook when camping (who knew?), or at least a lot of small bills. 

The sun just went down here. So, I’ll probably make my dinner, clean up, take a long walk and go to bed early tonight. It’s funny how living ‘self-contained’ makes me so aware of using energy. As soon as the sun went down and the lights went on, I could feel it. 

I love the sound of the river outside. Earlier, I kept hearing it and thinking that I had left a fan on somewhere. If it’s nice tomorrow, I’d love to get up and do my exercises by the river/creek whatever it is. 

SOME SIGHTS FROM AROUND HAUSE CREEK CAMPGROUND

some mushrooms growing out of a fallen tree

a burned tree decorated to look like a sea monster

River jumped up on the table to get a better view of the river

a power plant?!

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