Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Cherry Trees

            We slipped out of life and into the wild again this weekend, my second week in a row. The weather was positively amazing; dry, clear, and cool. We went south-east of Munford to Cherry Tree Hunter's Camp.
             There was a fire ring of flat rocks under a thick pine and hardwood canopy, preventing thick underbrush from growing atop the smooth knoll upon which the campsite was located. The trees were spaced out far enough to be reminiscent of columns in a tall cathedral, complete with a vaulted ceiling and bright light shining through green "stained glass." There was a steady breeze which kept the area cool, and very few signs of humanity.
We set up our shelters, and gathered firewood. We decided to do without any artificial fire starters to prove to ourselves we haven't become too soft, so I piled some wood shavings and a touch of lint on a piece of bark and used a flint and steel to set it alight. I put the tinder under the kindling teepee, and soon we had a fire.
We managed to keep it quite large, and were able to cook on it.
There were three of us on this trip, myself, my father, and Mike.
        A fun group, with lots of jokes and good conversation.
For dinner, Father and Mike grilled hamburgers, while I made an aluminium foil packet meal of hamburger meat and green beans.

Mine was very good, and though I can't speak for the others, they didn't complain. (Much)

         We sat by the flickering flames for a time and talked. while talking, The orange firelight reflected off of the nearby trees. In the distance coyotes cried their piercing howl, and screech and Barred owls let loose their songs. The peaceful autumn evening-crickets sang around us as we became slowly more drowsy. Eventually the fire had settled down to a small flicker, and so had we.

       There was a faint blue light in the sky the following morning when I awoke, feeling the chill on my face. I untangled myself from my warm nest of sleeping bags and climbed down to the ground below. The morning air was chilly, and soundless. The night crickets had ceased their songs, and the day crickets had yet to begin. I put on my jacket and walked over to the fire ring. I stirred up the white dust to reveal heat below, and piled some pine straw and small twigs on the red coals. With a little bit of blowing, the straw caught and we had a fire again.

         It was still somewhat dark when father woke up, the dawn having not yet broken over the tall mountains to the east. We began to make breakfast and coffee on the fire, which I had let burn down to hot coals for cooking.
After hearing several reports of bears in the area, and seeing that the state park and forest service have begun to place " what to do in a bear encounter"signs around, I decided to hang our trash up, as opposed to the usual of putting in the car or just leaving it hanging low on a tree.

      I personally don't mind having black bears here as they are traditionally fairly reasonable animals. That being said, we will start having to take precautions to avoid a close encounter, though I wouldn't mind seeing one at a distance.

        After breakfast, we built the fire back up, never having to restart it fully after just some tinder and a flint the previous day, and watched the sunlight appear first in the upper reaches of the trees a hundred feet above us, and then slowly creep down to us.

 After our wood pile was largely depleted we decided to pack up our stuff and head off to find some lunch. We got everything in the Yukon and I went to crank it. I turned the key and it made a faint click, and the electric locks started locking and unlocking. We popped the hood, but nothing obvious was wrong. We decided the battery must have discharged for some reason, although we couldn't think of one. Nothing was plugged in,and I turned the dome lights off the night before (to save the battery).

As you can see, it was very stressful

      We called a number of people, but eventually Mom, Olivia, Zac, and Kristen came in Mom's Jeep and jumped us off. We then all went down the road and up the mountain to Cheaha State Park, where we ate lunch before going to Bald Rock.

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