Our first camping trip together!
Back in April, we decided that we wanted to do some camping this summer. Searching for unreserved campground spots on summer weekends was already extremely difficult, but Joel managed to find an opening at Smith & Morehouse. As it turns out, this was also free fishing weekend so we quickly snapped up a good looking spot.
The best looking spot in the campground looked to be site 13. I suppose that superstitious people didn’t want it, but we weren’t bothered at all. Site13 has an angled back-in driveway that leads into a completely secluded and wooded off site. Additionally, it overlooks the river running past the rear of the campground.
We set up camp around 3pm and immediately pitched our sunshade over the picnic table, and then our tent. With free time before dinner, we went out to try geocaching. Neither of us have ever done it. Joel had printed a list of geocaching coordinates, so he programmed them into the satnav and off we went to the closest one. The cache itself was hidden in the bottom of a tree stump and was themed for children’s toys. Joel especially liked the Guido toy. We didn’t bring anything to trade so we left everything the way we found it.
Dinner time came and Ashley experienced her first hobo dinner. We prepped foil packets of ground beef with canned southwestern corn mix, potatoes, and carrots. Ashley enjoyed it quite much. In the middle of cooking, we both saw a mouse run away from the campfire ring. Ashley thought that the mouse ran into the ring looking for food and left because it was too hot. Joel wondered “did the mouse come out of the fire?!” We finished our meal and evening with roasted twinkies – they were excellent.
Saturday morning, we had a pancake breakfast and went out to the reservoir to try our luck at fishing. The shore was quite busy, but Joel managed to find a spot that he was happy with. We had room for chairs, and it was still in a cove with possible fish activity. The water level was quite high this year, which meant that that the near-shore area was very rocky and prone to snagging egg sinker or bubble weight setups. Our fisherman neighbors had a bite within 15 minutes that was lost due to their weights snagging.
At one point, Joel’s weight got snagged and after a great deal of frustration, he started whipping the pole to see if it might unset the line and weights. This proved to be a mistake, as in the midst of the whipping, the top half of the pole came off and down the fishing line and into the lake it went. Joel didn’t quite make it into the lake in time, and it was soon more than 10 feet off the shore and beyond his willingness to wade past freezing waist deep water.
Giving up on retrieving the pole for the time being, Joel reset the other pole for a bobber setup. Obviously not idea with floating powerbait dough, it was better than the other option of endlessly snagging. Surprisingly, after getting back to the first pole, Joel managed to get the line unsnagged and got the pole back nearly 45 minutes later! The retrieved pole was quickly set for bobber fishing as well, and we then proceeded to wait for bites. Joel’s bait took a bite, and started reeling in the fish to reveal a ~8 inch trout. We were so excited that we didn’t actually land the fish. Joel was busy trying to get the camera out, and let slack into the line. Lesson learned – land the fish first.
We called it an early day for fishing around 1pm. Back in camp, we had a freezed dried mountain house lunch, and lounged at the river view. It was then decided to go look for more geocaches and possibly take a trip down to Oakley for some refreshments. We did both except we were a bit lazy and drove to nearby geocaches that would be on the way out of the canyon. The caches were duds with nothing to be found. We ended up at the first thing we saw in Oakley – the Road Island Diner. We ordered a plate of fries to share, an oreo shake, and homemade kiwi ice cream.
After returning to camp, we decided to learn and play a new card game that we bought and brought along. It’s called “Gloom.” We finished off the afternoon with three games of it and started prepping for dinner. Joel had brought up chicken skewers, tzatziki sauce, and cucumbers. We finished it off along with sweet rolls (which were also part of the previous night’s dinner).
No camping trip is complete without wild animal sightings, and this trip didn’t dissappoint. Right next to our campsite was a resident ground squirrel that kept trying to be friendly and beg for food. We ignored it for the most part until suddenly we heard some rustling and looked over to find a large hare visiting us now. It must have sat at 2-2.5 feet tall when he wasn’t moving. He had beautiful markings – light brown fur all around, with long white rear feet. He left the campsite, and you wouldn’t believe what happened next – Ten to fifteen minutes later, a small rabbit visited us!
At this point, we made the decision to take down our sunshade so that we would have one less thing to pack up in the morning. We finished that task, and built up our fire to do one last round of twinkie roasting and cozied into the campfire to celebrate our last night in camp.