Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Forest Moon of Endor

Finally! I convinced Mary to go camping with me this weekend, and we went to a new place; Fall Creek in the Willamette National Forest.

That's some big skunk cabbage. Yum?

The place is magnificent, and only about a 35 minute drive away. I will be going there a lot more, as there are tons of things to see all over the gigantic state park/national forest (they are next to eachother). Interestingly enough, just 30 minutes out of Eugene and into the mountains comes the blessed Forbidden Zone:
First I had to organize my stuff for just a single night stay for the two of us. Since everything is constantly packed ready to bug out from the zombocalypse, I had to actually UNpack and REpack a bunch of stuff, to take only that which we needed (an extra set of utensils instead of the EMP-proofed handcrank weather radio, for example).
You're welcome Muncher.

First thing after choosing your campsite, gotta set up the tent. This is a tent that I've never used outdoors before that we got from the Field's for our wedding. Normally I take my single-man army tent my pop got for me for my birthday a long time ago. That tent only has enough room for me and a jar of peanut butter.
This tent, on the other hand, is freaking huge. And just because I'd never gone camping with it doesn't mean I haven't practiced putting it together in the living room (of course). With Mary's help we got this sucker up in less than 15 minutes, rain fly pinned down and all.
Spacious thing had separate compartments for pots and alternative access on the side to put your shoes and pots. A real class-act tent.

Next on the agenda is hiking. The trees and plants are huge in this forest. Also, a nice stream made for some good wading, where Mary found a big crab (alas, no pics of the crab as we were wading and didn't bring the camera out into the water).

There was a nice fallen tree that made a perfect bridge across the creek, and it wasn't even on the path. Clearly a trap for stormtroopers protecting the shield generator.

This is where the Ewoks set up the log-sweep trap.

Last on the agenda is making a fire and eatin some grub. My secret is cotton swabs slathered in vaseline. Then with a little magnesium and flint you're good to go.
Real men start fires with knives! And flint. And Magnesium.

Was that a Sasquatch? I think I just heard a Sasquatch.

The only picture I was able to capture of the elusive wild Marilynn Smallithicus.

Mary quickly acclimated to the oppressive forest environment, and we drank beers (root) while she cooked us up some hot dogs and german sausages. I even heard her say: "If this is what the apocalypse will be like, it won't be so bad." I, on the other hand, decided to try out some of my newer emergency equipment just in case, including my used Esbit german military emergency stove with trioxane heating tabs. These are cool little cigarette-pack sized metal things that fold open to hold a pot and you can put a fuel tab in them. I tested one out to see if one tab could boil the 2 cups of water needed for the big Mountain House spagetti and meatballs freeze-dried entree two person dinner ration.
The insanely hot purple burning means you know its working.

One trioxane tab almost got the 2 cups boiling, it definately could have handled 1.5 cups of water. Not too bad, considering the whole setup costs less than $2.50, with $0.23 per trioxane tab. Anyway, I had to switch to the campfire to finish it off (here I got to use one of those metal grills for the campfire that fold up -- when we went camping in Wisconsin Cullen had one and I was totally jealous). I also cooked up another german sausage to add a little spice to the spagetti.
Dinner of Champions.

We also ate a metric buttload of smores, which we were unable to take pictures of due to marshmallow-fingers. Next mornin' we had some Mountain House scrambled eggs and bacon, which was slightly better than I expected it to taste. I'd have to say that the Mountain house entrees taste much better than MRE entrees, but you don't get that instant coffee packet or plastic spoon.

All in all, totally awesome weekend.