Snowbirding 2018 Postcards: Fireside at Camp

Out in the desert, when the sun goes down, it’s like Mother Nature turned the heat off. It might have been in the 70s all day, but the temperature takes a plunge after sunset and a campfire is pretty much required if you want to hang out outdoors.

We spent about an hour gathering wood on Wednesday morning — mostly mesquite and salt cedar — and added that to the six aspen (or birch?) logs I’d brought south with me from a camp in Idaho back in October. While we were out boating in the afternoon, a friend stopped by looking for us. When he saw the large pieces of wood we’d gathered, he kindly used his chainsaw to cut them into manageable pieces. (Reminds me of a fairy tale where people put their damaged shoes out on the doorstep at night and elves repaired them. This elf’s name is Steve.)

As usual, my friend Janet got the fire going before it was dark and we sat around it to chat, eat dinner, and then chat some more.

It night was a great night for star gazing, too. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the area is very dark. With a meteor shower on the calendar, I took out my Nikon and set it up for night photography. We had a clear view of the horizon to the east and watched Orion rise. The meteors came soon afterward, averaging about one per minute as NASA had forecasted.

I tried (and failed) to get a photo of one, but I did make this photo of our campsite in the firelight, with Janet sitting by the fire. A car happened to drive by during the 30-second exposure, illuminating assorted bits and pieces of the scene. I have a darker shot, too, but I like this one better.

Fireside camp

Snowbirding 2018 Postcards: Backwaters Campsite

I was a little disappointed that there was someone already occupying the campsite I wanted when I arrived at the Colorado River on Monday. Although the area was big enough for at least six campers, I didn’t like the look of the man, his female companion, or their junky pull trailer and truck. They looked like the typical loud, generator-dependent low-lives that are relatively common anywhere there’s free camping. One way to tell? They’d parked their trailer and set up chairs facing the open gravel camping area instead of the bucolic waterway only 30 feet in the opposite direction. Seriously?

After disconnecting my boat and leaving it parked there with the trailer locked — after all, that’s where the boat ramp was — I pulled into another spot I’d stayed in the past which was about a mile back up the road on the same backwater channel. It was a much smaller spot and a bit close to the road, but had better access to the water and better fishing.

The next day, after off-loading T2 (short for Turtleback 2, my second truck camper), and helping my friend Janet settle in with Short-Short (her very small pull trailer), we went back to launch my boat. Janet drove the truck back while I motored the boat to our site and parked it along the sandy bank. We then finished setting up our joint camp.

Here’s a drone photo of our camp shot this morning. The waterway on the left is the backwater channel; about a mile straight ahead is a narrow inlet that connects it to the Colorado River, which you can see on the right.

Drone photo of our campsite

It’s crazy quiet here, day and night, with the occasional disturbance of a vehicle driving by during the day. A good place to camp out and get some writing done.

Snowbirding 2018 Postcards: Afternoon at Camp

Although we didn’t get the campsite we were hoping to get, we did get a good one on the same backwater channel. I put the boat in the water and motored it to the site. While I enjoy a nice glass of red wine from a Similkameen Valley (Canada) winery I visited back in 2016, my friend Janet is fishing across the channel. The sun is sinking low in the western sky, giving the light a golden hue. Here’s the view out the back door of my camper.

Backwaters

Tomorrow, I’ll pack a lunch and take the boat out on the Colorado River. Janet will probably come along with her fishing pole. I’m really thrilled to have the boat with me this year.