This weekend, I was invited to kick off my friends' first hopefully annual guys' camping trip. Scott and Travis set it all up, and all told, seven people came, so it was a roaring success!
We drove up in three groups on Friday/Saturday: Scott, his brother Chris, and I in the first group; Travis, a mutual friend's brother CJ, and Travis' sister's boyfriend Jesse in the second group; and Scott's father the following morning. My group was responsible for hauling up all the gear, setting up the tents, and essentially making camp. It was due to be very cold (28 degrees or so), so we all packed heavy clothing and lots of socks and sweaters.
We got up to our campsite near Christopher Creek an hour north of Payson about 3:30pm Friday (or thereabouts). It was a secluded little area near the See Canyon Trailhead, and despite a mild slope, pretty much perfect for camping. Sadly, my camera decided not to work, so I don't have any photos to share. We unpacked the truck and within about 90 minutes to 2 hours we had established camp and set up both enormous tents in two nice areas.
By 6pm, the second group had arrived, just as darkness was rapidly descending on the area. It got very cold very quick, and the experienced campers in the group made a roaring bonfire in the camp's fire pit. I should at this time point out that I have been camping perhaps once in about a decade. I'm not a "camper" by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I am kind of a wuss, with my four sweaters, three pairs of socks, headgear, gloves, and heavy jeans trying to stay warm in a climate less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Anyway, we got the fire roaring and that helped a lot, cooked up some hot dogs and chili for dinner (yum!), and played Risk in one of the tents for a while as entertainment. When we tired of that (and thank goodness, because I was about to lose), we used the guys' pellet guns to hit cans off the surrounding rocks. After a while, with sleep encroaching on us, we hit the sack. I slept poorly, a function of a rock jutting into my side and the extreme cold. Though, to be fair, I was well-covered, and the cold wasn't as bad as I expected.
Unfortunately, the cold that did enter my sleeping bag and chill me throughout the night exascerbated a mild touch of some ailment my sister had given me - she'd had a roaring flu just before I left - and by the next morning, I had uncontrollable shakes, exhaustion, and pretty bad nausea. I couldn't sit or stand without my stomach aching. I ended up lying in the tent all day napping until finally in mid-afternoon someone must have seen how bad I looked without getting better and asked if I wanted to just go home.
I felt really bad leaving my friends behind, but I knew they'd also have more fun without me if I was sick. I'm not the kind of person to ask to go home; I'd rather tough it out and make the best of it for my amigos, but in this case, I was also worried about how I'd fare with another night in the upper 20s (ah, gotta love possible pneumonia) and with helping to pack up the camp and not be able to pull my weight the next morning. I decided to take Scott's dad up on his offer to drive me back instead of worry.
It's probably good that I did, because I was sick on Sunday and Monday with stomach pain and a nasty headache. Not to mention recovering from the soreness of sleeping on rocks.
Although my weekend was cut short, I had a good time while I was there that first night. I hope and trust that my friends had as good a time without me as with, and big thanks to Scott's dad for ruining his own weekend taking me back home. Here's to the second annual camping trip in the hopes that it's both warmer and less germy.