In my personal opinion, anytime outdoors is refreshing and time well spent. Except for when it’s too cold. Or rainy. Because my hair, duh. Or hot. Like humid sweat your face off awkward sunburn hot.
Basically just give me somewhere between 60 to 85 degrees all day long and we’re good. I can even maybe stretch to 90 if you’re gonna be difficult.
Sometimes you plan a camping weekend so far in advance (I am partially guilty of planning 1 or 2 per month from March – October…) you have to plead and cross your fingers to the universe that the weather will cooperate. Sometimes we just suck it up and go no matter what. (Now that M has Lulu, her adorable vintage camper, we can indulge all throughout the year! We even spent this past New Year’s Eve camping. That trip is for another post!)
A few weeks back, M and I were doing what we do best. Which is essentially day drinking, sitting on a patio somewhere chatting…and she asked one of those real life questions. “What experience have you had that you feel like you REALLY lived in the moment?”
We each spoke of a few things and it wasn’t shocking to me when we agreed on an event we both shared. Because it was awesome.
Last August, M messaged me and asked if I wanted to go on an impromptu weekend camp trip. Absolutely. My husband and I were flying out the next weekend to Vegas with my parents so I knew I was due for some quiet downtime before that whole scene.
She sent me links and photos of this newly discovered place not far from another familiar location. (We haven’t really disclosed the place with many people, because it’s ours now. Just kidding, but really nobody else can know because then it won’t be a quiet secret awesome spot anymore.) Moving on…
It. Looked. Amazing.
There’s a crystal clear natural spring fed creek, waterfalling into a rock bed below.
“I wanna be in that.” I thought to myself.
We headed down on a Friday afternoon, and pulled into the campground. Only one other camper. It was someone camping out of their old model Explorer. M swears she saw two people but we eventually found out it was just one guy. You know how we are smart and go places alone and then somehow always end up in situations? It happened again!
We got our site set up, and saw some of the juiciest, hairiest spiders I’ve ever laid eyes on. The thought of them slowly faded as I partook in some campfire wine. We were discussing how adorable mini-bottles of wine were when we heard a voice from behind us saying “Hello!”
A middle aged man, probably 5’7″, 190 pounds with a goatee and long brunette hair pulled into an old baseball hat stood before us. He looked harmless enough. He introduced himself as Mike (looking back we should have totally been Tina and Angie, damnit!) and we invited him to join us at our fire. He was very nice, funny and personable. Therefore he was probably going to murder us.
Mike loved to talk. He told us he grew up in the general area, but he came from where he currently lives and his GPS took him a very long route. Like, 5 hours. (How does that make sense? If you’re from somewhere why do you need a GPS?) He was also sure to let us know he had friends coming the next day. We let him know our husbands were possibly planning to come also. (They weren’t, but you know. Safety-ish just in case things.)
He then let us know that he was a firm believer in Bigfoot. (He wasn’t entirely amused by our #winetimewithbigfoot hashtag.) He shared stories of Sasquatch lore, his astral projection experiences and how Pink Floyd and Gwar were in his CD rotation. He was so totally stoned. I don’t know why, but I trust stoners. We all decided to crash around 3 in the morning.
I watched Mike walk a few campsites over and get into his vehicle before I took my 8 inch hunting knife into my tent and fell asleep spooning it. Hey, it was in a sheath. Again, safety. And air mattress.
M and I woke up early and made breakfast. We made some mimosas and changed into some creek swimming clothes. Mike came wandering down soon after and at this point we decided (accepted?) he was just going to be part of this weekend with us. He wasn’t going anywhere. His friends never showed. Although ours didn’t either.
M decided he probably lived there. (We’ll see when we go back for Memorial Day weekend!)
It was cloudy off and on but warm outside. We had no clue where we were going or what to look for. This is why I feel the universe placed Mike in our path.
Like he said the night before, he had grown up coming to this campground, and claimed to know all the sweet spots. So we all loaded up in my car and he directed us to an empty road. He pointed and said “Right there. You’ll wanna pull up a little and park off the road. We’ll walk down here.”
In “chances this is the creek” versus “is this where we die by the hands of Campfire Mike?” We definitely chose to believe creek. I’m sorry dad, if you ever read this!
We hiked down about 60 feet from the side of the road and there it was. The creek, the waterfall, the surrounding rocks. Thank you, Mike! We gathered the Bluetooth speaker, a freezer bag full of vodka soaked watermelon and some towels then carefully made our way down and over the terrain. There was a small family there but that didn’t sway us.
No glass for us. Vodka watermelon!
The three of us claimed our post and sat in the fickle sun that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be present or not. Soon, it started to thunder. The family that was splashing and playing in the pool of the creek packed up and left. Mike decided he was going to run back to the campground to grab some things, leaving just M and me. We hung out in the water off and on for about 30 minutes before big fat rain started to fall.
The kind of torrential downpour that there is just no use in trying to outrun or hide from it. We gave in and sat in the rain. It was one of those like, music video moments where the main actress dances and twirls and lets the rain take over her. Only we weren’t dancing or twirling.
It was the first real moment I had with myself after losing my grandmother 12 weeks before. It was like a literal cleansing of all of the stress, numbness and sadness that I had been feeling…everything just then was okay. It was all fine.
I remember closing my eyes and taking my hat off and just letting the water envelope me from every angle. I was sitting on the ledge of a waterfall and the rain was cold but I didn’t care. There were no photos of this particular moment, there was no soundtrack nor did we look refreshed or beachy casual with perfect wavy hair. We were drenched and I especially looked partially drowned.
It was however getting kind of chilly so we decided to get back to camp to check on our stuff. We ran back to the car in the rain and drove the short distance to our site. Which was entirely flooded out. Easily 2-3″ of water pooled around our things. We decided to cut our trip short and head home. Everyyything was wet.
We packed up quick and disorderly, and caught sight of Mike on our way out and thanked him for all of his help and company. I think he was probably bummed to see us go. I hope his GPS got him home correctly.
So those couple weeks ago when M asked me when I’ve truly lived in the moment, we both had to agree on that experience. It was very real and instantaneous and apparently much needed.
Yet another moment in nature I can thank for helping to keep me on a positive path and open mindset. Let things happen and take it all in.
You can follow our past, present and future trips on Instagram #winetimewithbigfoot