Monday, March 17, 2008

Never too cold to camp...

I decided a while ago…probably mid-December when it was REALLY cold that Craig and I should go camping for his birthday (March 19th). I had it in my head that March would be so much warmer than mid-December. I was wrong. March may actually be colder than mid-December.
Anyway, we went ahead and took Penny on her maiden camping voyage of 2008 last Friday.
We went up to Kirkham Hot Springs which is, in a way, more pleasant in the cold because it is 1. not crowded and 2. the water temperature makes the trip worth it—otherwise you’d just spend all day frozen in the bus.

So, here’s the photo tour of our trip. We took the Highway 55 route on our way up which was nothing less than heavenly. When we left Boise, it was pouring rain and I was cranky, which made my husband cranky, but we recovered and managed to have a fabulous drive through the country. It is amazing how wonderful the country feels when you’ve spent the winter more or less cooped up in the city. We saw no fewer than 200 elk and deer (including bull deer—I think that is what the boy deer are called—I’m a bit of a wildlife doofus). Here are a couple of photos that we took on the way up.

When we got to the hot springs, we found a place to park and went straight down to the water. It was snowing a little when we got there which turned out to be a very interesting combination of hot and cold. Here’s a picture of the hot springs…someone else’s picture, but it gets the point across.

Here we are upon getting back to Penny after our first trip down to the hot springs.

I always get incredibly nervous about getting CO poisoning. Craig has to spend half of every trip trying to convince me that if we crack the windows we will be fine and that since Penny was built with a propane stove, it isn’t deathly dangerous to use the stove. Despite all of his persuading, he finally caved and bought me a CO detector which we set up in Penny so then I spent the evening trying to convince Craig that the CO detector was broken because it wasn’t detecting dangerously high levels of CO. At this point you can understand why he might have been mildly frustrated with me…
Anyway, we watched some South Park and went to sleep in our 15 degree bags with a comforter on top and slept quite comfortably (aside from my feet which are ALWAYS cold).
When we woke up in the morning, there was 3” of snow on the ground. Here's a couple of photos after the snow on the ground had mostly melted.

We had planned to stay until after dinner on Saturday, but we decided that all of the people who had told us that we were crazy for going camping in March were right and we decided to hop in the hot springs one more time, eat breakfast and head home.

We had a very exciting discovery on the way down to the hot springs. I saw a little creature flit by and Craig said—what was that?! I said—oh, probably just a snow covered chipmunk. He had run under a rock and then as we were passing by, he darted back out a couple of times and we named this adorable animal “merret” because we thought he looked like a tiny white ferret with a mouse head. It turns out that what we had seen was an ermine, which neither of us had ever seen before. It was fun.

When we got down to the hot springs, we found a bunch of garbage had been left by the kids whose headlights we had seen late the night before. The beer cans and glow sticks were tolerable. The empty bottle of Jager was terrifying (knowing that they had probably made the two hour drive to Boise after downing it) but the thing that pisses me off more than everything but the wind are cigarette butts. I don’t care that people smoke, but it drives me nuts that they leave their garbage everywhere and throw burning cigarettes out the window at bikers who get their legs burned by their carelessness. Anyway…dismounting soap box… We felt rewarded by cleaning up the mess because we also found a Mag-lite that was left behind. Score!! You can never have enough Mag-lites.

We made breakfast burritos and then heated some water up for my frozen feet (my husband is so sweet), cleaned up and headed home. We decided to take the Idaho City route back to Boise, which, as it turned out was nothing but snow and ice. Here’s a picture.

All in all, we had a great time and yeah, maybe we were crazy, but at least when my co-workers asked me what I did over the weekend, I didn’t have to say “nothing”.