09 Dec Roadtrippin’: Making Camp in Washington
I woke to tapping, only this time it was rain on the tent. Eddie’d been up since 6:30 scribbling in his journal while I slept. We camped the night before next to a creek in Mineral Springs, Washington. After we’d set up camp I made hummus wraps and mac-n-cheese (the camp favorite.) We were delirious from travel, laughing like lovers or maniacs or both.
When I emerged, Eddie told me the rain had subsided. It was hard to believe considering the state of the creek. Shakespeare, my adorable but not so bright dog, barked at rocks, sure he was protecting us from monsters below the surface.
We packed up and began making our way through the large conifers. They seemed familiar, these woods, like the other woods of West Montana and the Idaho panhandle: large green spaces filled with the sounds of moving water. We stopped in Yakima for supplies, but forgot wood an ice. Passing signs for cherries and asparagus on a winding mountain road, a storefront appears in the mist: Calvin’s beer and sporting goods. “It just rained here,” Eddie said.
“Where’s a reindeer?” I asked passing him the pipe.
“Just go get the goods, already.”
Inside the musty store I find an empty counter backed with rods, reels, hooks and various plastic baits in different sizes and colors. Behind that there are picks, axes, shovels, guns and ammo. There’s nobody guarding the guns. This is Washington… they must have ice if they have beer, right?
This lumberjack type rounds the corner, a red flannel belly held up by suspenders, a knotted brown ponytail, a wide drooping double chin and bulbous crossed eyes. When he looks at me one eye rolls to the outside corner.
“How much for a bundle?”
“5 bucks and I’ll throw in extra,” he says.“There’s a good camping spot 4 miles south on a gravel road on the right …”
“That’s okay, we’re …”
“ … or 2 miles north on a dirt road on the right, left at the fork …”
“No really, we’re …”
“… or 1 mile north on a gravel road on the left and down the river. Rain is up around here. Been washin’ out some of the best spots. If I got paid for information I’d be a rich man,” he tells me.
While he chops and gathers the wood I head out to the car. “I was about to come get you,” Eddie says. “What took?”
We ended up in an old growth forest by Iron Creek a primordial land sunken in mist. I swear I saw brontosaurus snacking on treetops around every corner.
As soon as we set up camp, it started to pour. So what did we do? Put on raincoats and investigate! Along the way, we discovered a raging river, an amphitheater filled with six inch slugs, a slippery footbridge and footprints from prehistoric man. We were completely isolated there, having gone back to the Land Before Time.
At this point it was really pouring, so we ran back to camp and huddle inside the tent with a bottle of wine, salami, asiago and cheese puffs. Shakespeare was beyond sour, not allowed to enter the tent and stuck under the vestibule instead, pushing his disgruntled face against the mesh. Where I come from that’s called a whammy. When the rain slows, we make a small fire. A furry spider (so big his hairs glisten in the firelight) perches on the arm of my folding chair. We watch the stars appear above us as Shakespeare sneaks in the tent and falls asleep.