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We went camping this weekend at Hocking Hills.  Lot of fun, even though it was cold and wet.  I had work until 4 on Friday, so Rob, Amanda, Kyle and I got there a little later than everyone else.  When we got there, after having gotten my tent all set up and whatnot, Kyle, Liz and I went exploring down in the ravine and looked out at the lake.  Peaceful, naturey goodness.  When we wandered back to camp the deliberation over how to start a fire began.  When we'd finally gotten some dry wood Rob, MJ and I got to work and building the fire and being a 3-way bellows system to get it nice and hot.  I luckily remembered to bring a fire-proof glove.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the other one, so we only had a glove for the right hand.  I tended the fire while the others got the ingredients for ho-bo dinners all prepared.  Tasty tasty ho-bo dinners with sausage, ground turkey, garlic, red and green peppers, onions, corn, pepper-jack cheese, and S&P.  I had the fire glove so I did most of the putting the aluminum foil wrapped dinners in the fire and taking them out again, trading off the duty so I could eat when mine was done.  Then it was s'mores time!  Tasty grahams, dark chocolate, and marshmallows.  People who like the flaming 'mallows are silly.  You must roast them to perfection, where they are golden brown all the way around and gooey on the inside.  Nomnom!  Then off to bed and talking and whatnot.  Liz, Kyle and I had the right idea, and shared a tent.  Everyone else insisted on cramming into the two remaining tents packed like sardines.  They said it was for body heat, but we were fine in our tent with the three of us and plenty of blankets.  Not to mention we had room to roll over and breathe without feeling as though we were being smothered.  

It got pretty cold that first night and we did end up cozying together a bit.  Liz and I ended up waking up a little before five to go pee and found that Kurt and Sarah's dad were already up and had the fire going again.  So we huddled around that for warmth for a bit.  Soon Kyle wandered out complaining then when I got up I took my warmth with me and he was freezing.  As more people got up we started on breakfast: bacon and eggs over the fire.  Liz and I were doing most of the cooking and decided if people weren't up yet, then they would just have to cook their own breakfast.  We ended up breaking camp around 945 to start hiking.  I was carrying my hiking backpack filled with the lunches for the day, the first aid kit, and a water-proof blanket.  Decently heavy, but when I put it on and got everything all strapped down, it was like I was barely carrying anything.  I only noticed a touch of limited mobility.  It was pretty cool experiencing first hand how well hiking backpacks work.  

Liz and I trailed behind the rest of the group for most of the day.  Big groups of 14 people are silly, especially when you're out in nature and trying to enjoy the happy nature sounds and sights.  We took a few pictures and enjoyed the scenery.  Amanda was happy in her wellies, because she could walk in the river and ferry people across it and stuff.  We started a the Upper Falls and then worked our way towards Old Man's Cave.  I still like the dark tunnel that cuts through the cliff face.  After wandering around that area for awhile we headed out towards Cedar Falls.  The signs say it's two mile hike fro Old Man's Cave to the Cedar Falls, but we all agreed that was a horrible lie.  It was definitely farther than that.  But anyways, we made it to Cedar Falls, Liz and I almost the last ones to arrive.  But I wasn't worried, after all, I had the lunches :).  The only trouble I had with the backpack happened at this point.  We were jumping from rock to rock to get across the river to the other side where we were going to have lunch.  As I was jumping I slipped down the slope of the final rock and couldn't climb up the face of it because I couldn't curve my back to give my arms the proper leverage so I could push myself up.  I was able to hold myself there and Jake came over and pulled me up.  

Lunch was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I could tell I was hungry because the peanut butter didn't bother me nearly as much as normal.  We also had cheese curls, pretzels and potato chips.  Lunch right next to the falls was really nice, though it started getting cold, especially as most of us were barefoot for the break in walking.  After lunch we headed up to the Gorge Overlook Trail, and nice easy trail compared to the two previous ones.  There were no boulders to climb over, or streams to cross or roots to navigate.  It was just a wide trail that meandered uphill towards the end.  When we got to the dam at the top of the trail we rested and waited to the rest of the group to catch up, while we sat at the edge of Rose Lake.  We weren't entirely sure which way we should go to get back to base camp, though we knee we were camped at the edge of the lake.  Figuring Jake and MJ could take care of the themselves, we decided to go around the lake to the right.  Bad choice.  It ended up being the most incorrect direction we could have picked.  If we had gone left, we would have reached our campsite in 5 or so minutes.  Instead we walked through the woods to the other tip of the lake, and realized that we must have gone the wrong way.  I enjoyed this portion of the hike.  Through the woods on a trail not much better than a deer trail, right along the edge of the lake.  We reached the Blind Observation Shed and decided that instead of walking all the way back around the other side of the lake to base camp, we'd head up the Lake Trail to the road that goes through the camp ground.  We followed that road back to base camp (stopping at the only working bathroom on the way) and gratefully collapsed back at base camp.  

It still was rather early, only 3 or so.  So we waited a bit and then got the fire going again.  Dinner was hot dogs and baked cinnamon apples.  So tasty. After dinner we sat around a played one round of Emporer's (a game played with a deck of tarot cards where you bet on people's fates) then I explained the basics of tarot with the help of my Rider-White deck.  

I've been too busy to finish updating about this, maybe later.  But here's this half.


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July 2011

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