There are times when you know that you just need a break from civilization and reality. Times when your body is weary; your mind joggled to the point where thoughts seem incoherent and you know that a short break will be enough to refresh and renew. This was one of those times. When his voice cracked as he said, “I need to get away awhile” I immediately called the campground about 3 hrs away and asked if there was an opening. The voice on the other end of the phone said, “You just got in at the nick of time, we close next week for the season.” The next call I made was to my husband, “We have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights at Country Roads Campground in Gilboa.”
Leaving for a three-day camping trip is not as easy as it sounds. The Great Escape turned into the Great Aggravation as we rushed to pack up the camper and close down the house. At one point, I was so stressed that my husband actually said, “If it’s too much, we’ll just stay home.” No way. We needed this time, this refresher, “I’m ready, let’s get the show on the road.” It was sunny but cool; we packed t-shirts and shorts just in case things heated up. There would not be an Indian summer on this trip. We should have packed the umbrellas.
Day One – No Turning Back
Over the river and through the woods, we trekked over the mountains and winded through the forests. Deer flanked the sides of the road and we found ourselves going deeper and deeper into the woods. After two hours of non-stop sunshine, the clouds cast shadows on the highway in front of us and I knew it was the last ray of sunshine we would see for days. The sign up ahead made us chuckle, “Don’t Despair: You’re almost there!”
The gates were flung open wide and we pulled the camper up in front of the office building and were met by the owner. It was still overcast but dry weather and definitely cooler than we imagined it would be for this time of year as our breath actually made puffs of white when we exhaled, “Glad you folks made it. Choose any site you want – the Birches are nice and you’ll have a great view of the sunrise. Welcome to Country Roads.” We signed the visitor’s forms and headed out to set up the camp. Keith started a fire right away and it began to drizzle.
For the next three days, it rained. Steady drizzle turned into a down pour and the rain just kept coming. We kept the fire going against all odds and never saw the sunrise, although by day two, I knew we were where we were supposed to be. I watched my husband chopping wood as he kept a raging fire going in the pouring rain and cooked bacon and eggs on the grill. The smell of coffee wafted through the camper and even the dog seemed more relaxed. We actually slept until 7:30 the next morning – something unheard of for us and the guy who leaves at 5:30 am and never gets home before 6:00 at night.
We took a ride into town in search of camp wood and got a business card for the Rock & Pinkster Elk Farm where we told we could purchase wood. With no cell towers in sight, we struggled through the phone call and directions and made our way up the mountain road and into the saw mill. Karen O’Leary met us and filled the back of our truck with wood. “Want to see our Elk?” We followed her to the field below where a herd of Elk met us at the fence. Huge, beautiful animals that seemed annoyed that we had interrupted their eating. “We raise them here, they’ll eat everything and anything and we needed animals that would clear the land. We have over 30 of them now.”
It was definitely one of the highlights of the camp trip. I hugged Karen goodbye, thanked her for answering our call, filling our truck with wood and sharing her elk with us. We headed back in the pouring rain to our camp in the woods.
I’ve realized that when you are with the one that you love, far away from humanity and stress that even the rain cannot dampen your spirit. I leaned into my husband as we stood at the fire, rain soaking our jackets as he kissed the top of my head and whispered, “I love you,” saying in turn, “I love you more.”
It wasn’t perfect but it was just what we needed. We needed a change of pace and a chance to be together – even in the rain. Sometimes it isn’t perfect but it’s different and that makes all of the difference.
It was three days of wet heaven.