Rachel and I just got home (ok, so it’s been a few days) from our camping trip to celebrate our first anniversary! We had a lot of fun, but the whole time wasn’t exactly amazing…
The first adventure was getting to the campsite. We decided to camp on a road that was marked as a 4-Wheel Drive road. So after we drove my little Mazda Protege (AKA The Beast) past the first difficult section (the kind that can swallow a Protege), we decided to just take the first camping spot we found, which was actually quite nice, and would be great for a large group.
After we found our spot, we decided to go exploring. We had seen a little fort from the road, so we went to check that out. It ended up being a lean to, of which there were like 10 of scattered around the area. As far as shelter goes, it was definitely better than nothing, but you would still get pretty wet if it rained.
After discovering the fort, we started walking down the road to Ormes Peak. The farther we got, the more it seemed like it was a good time to hike up to the peak, since I was told it wasn’t a difficult hike. Now in my defense, the topographical map we had made it look like it was a pretty straightforward hike, and even though I had left the map at the campsite, I was sure a mountain would be hard to miss. Well, after doing just about everything wrong (leaving the trail, just following our eyes and meandering around to whatever looked like it might be the peak, having no compass, map, cell phone, or the slightest idea which direction we had traveled from the camp), I got us quite sufficiently lost. Rachel was a good sport about it, but I think there was real fear inside of both of us. The fact that Rachel had scraped up her knee pretty bad didn’t help matters either.
While I had been looking at the map, I had noticed that the 4WD road our campsite was on formed a complete circle around the peak, so I chose a direction (based on the sun) and kept walking that way, sure that I would hit a road, and that I could follow it either direction to take us back to familiar ground. And I was right… kinda.
As we were wandering through the woods, I saw a large rock formation that shot up above everything around it, and got up on top to see what I could see. Besides an amazingly breathtaking view (which was kind of tainted due to my lostness), I also spotted a road that was just another minute in front of us. What a relief! When we got to the road, I had calculated that we had probably passed the halfway point, and that if this was the road we had been on before, maybe we should turn left to finish the circle, rather than turning right to go back the direction we had come from.
Well after walking about 5 or 6 miles, and following two splits that were both dead ends, we found out that the entire road was actually a dead end and we had to turn around and go back. At this point I was lightheaded from all the walking and slight dehydration (I wanted to conserve water for the worst case scenario), and we were both feeling pretty dejected. After a little water and a short break though, we headed back from whence we had come. After another hour or two, we finally made it back to our campsite, wondering if we would even be able to stand up the following day. We had hiked probably around 12 miles up and down hills at over 9,000 feet above sea level. That was no walk in the park.
Our time back at the campsite though was nice and relaxing. We cooked over an open fire and each just enjoyed being with the person we love.
The next day consisted of a hike (yeah, I know, another “hike”) which two ladies assured us was short and easy and would “Loosen us up.” Lying jerks. But we made it, saw some cool views, and got way more exercise than most Americans get in a month.
All in all, it was a great trip. The time spent at our site was fun, relaxing and fairly secluded. We started reading The Shack, which my parents lent us (which is an amazing book by the way), played Uno, and did a good deal of talking and hanging out. I would probably do it all over again (but I’d try to avoid the getting lost part if I could).
To see more pictures, check out our Anniversary Camping Trip Gallery.