“Sleeping Bag of Mad Bastards?”

Just back from camping with the Bastards. Four days and three nights of rafting in icy water, sweating in the midday sun, chasing the shade around the camp site, trying to stay warm at night, cooking over the fire, treating minor wounds, being covered in soot and dirt, fighting bugs for food, hiking around waterfalls, swimming in natural hot springs, drinking too much booze, telling jokes around the fire and hanging with the Bastards. I had a blast!

Matt and I packed up our girls and headed north on Thursday morning. With so much stuffed in the car that you couldn’t see out the back window and only Matt in the drivers seat having any real space around his feet. We headed up through Idaho and into the northwest corner of Wyoming. Finding the others in the woods proved to be a little more difficult than we expected even with the blessed technology of GPS and we were fortunate to have them actually find us driving around looking for them.

I would like to send a personal shout out to TJ’s parents “Thank You”. We got up there on Thursday afternoon, just in time for the girls and I to go river rafting with the Rock family. I still want to jump up and down yelling yippee while clapping my hands like a little kid. I have been down a lot of rivers on many interesting home-made contraptions, small boats that probably shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near water, inner tubes, and just floating and praying. I have never had the pleasure of rafting with a guide in a sixteen man raft for eight-plus miles. THAT WAS AWESOME!!! There were nine of us all together and thanks to a bit of luck and a cancellation of reservations, we all ended up in the same boat. Just the nine of us and the guide. I am still having a hard time deciding what my favorite part of the float down the river was exactly. Ranking up at the top of course would have to be watching TJ’s dad and a few of the others on board (I will not name names to protect the not-so innocent) making sure that TJ got the full river experience for his B-DAY by throwing him in the river to join the other brave souls who were in the water swimming in a nice calm spot on the river. That water was very cold! I think next on my list would have to be Josh “Riding the Bull”. The guide placed him on the front of the raft with his feet hanging over the front and instructed him to hang onto the rope running along the outside of the boat by reaching down between his legs. Then we went and hit some rapids! I still can’t believe he didn’t fall into the river at that point. Way to Go Josh!!! Third in line would be surfing the boat on a good wave in the river. The guide put TJ’s parents up in the front of the boat on their knees to add weight to the front of the boat. This enabled the guide to maneuver the boat into a position in a wave created by the river where we could sit in one place essentially riding the wave. It soaked them completely and entertained the rest of us. I am already trying to decide how and when to plan another trip up to ride the river again.

Leaving the river behind we headed for the camping area where Matt had our tent set up and fire wood gathered waiting for us when we got there. Dinner time!!! In my opinion everything tastes better if cooked on a camp fire. Late that night Spot and Sherri made it up the mountain and the next day Brian and Thyme showed up. After everyone finally made it to the camp, with a variety of stories about the places they ended up while trying to find the campsite, we topped out at fifteen people and a dog. The area we were camping in is right by the river. Bear country! I am really glad we didn’t see any bear. (This is actually kind of surprising since it is really hard to make sure everything food related is put away after much consuming of the adult beverages at hand) We did see osprey, a bald eagle, squirrels, chipmunks, and a fox while we were there. Not to mention the wildlife we brought with us.

Friday evening consisted of group dinner with cake and ice cream. After dinner, drinks ensued and I’m sure I couldn’t give you a complete list of the alcohol involved. I do know there was beer, scotch, vodka, and several kinds of rum. Matt broke out the guitar and we attempted to sing along but while we had a guitarist with us, the rest of us really had a hard time remembering all the words to anything. I’m not sure but it might have been the alcohol. It was fun trying though. The night sky was filled with stars and with no city lights near by you could clearly see the milky way, but you have to be careful looking up at the night sky because it makes it hard to keep from falling over. Okay that might have been the alcohol too. A bus full of hippies showed up and tried to set up their camp in a spot next to us that wasn’t really a camping spot at all. We directed them to some prime spots up the way and they took their hippie dogs and their hippie bus and went on their way. We saw them the next day showering off their month long camp, out in the hot springs running into the river. It made me extremely glad that I wasn’t down stream brushing my teeth or anything like that. Thyme and I are sure they are really aliens from another planet visiting the human retreat. The pic on the side of their bus only reinforced this idea. I am sure the short hair guy in glasses was their human tour guide\spokesperson.

Saturday was spent mostly just hanging out. Anyone who has ever done any camping will attest to the fact that by the third day people always start to get a little testy so everyone mostly stuck to their own camps this day. I went to the springs and had a wonderful swim. I played in the fire an awful lot that evening. By nightfall we had cooked the remaining food that needed to be cooked and sat around the fire telling dirty jokes until the wee hours of the morning.

Sunday it was time to clean up and pack. We decided to go take another swim in the hot springs before heading out. This made our trip home a whole lot more pleasant than the usuall end of camping drive home.

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