Happ New Year

This New Years Eve I was invited by a buddy of mine and his wife to join them on a camping trip.   I thought this sounded way better than going to the bar.  They picked me up and we headed out. As we got out towards the Buffalo River we stopped and there were a few Trumpeter Swans hanging out.  I was informed that they were the only ones left from a reintroduction program. After that we saw a cow Elk feeding in a pasture.  Then we headed out to where we were going to camp. It is a beautiful place where creek converge and we camped next to the creeks.  We went on a nice walk bolder hopping across the creeks.  The region is full of caves.  As we started the hike Mike pointed out a sink hole right off the main trail.  As we crossed the creek there were areas where water would drain in to caverns and continue to flow below the surface.  

This is the Buffalo River.  We stopped just to check the water level.  We were surprised at all the water.

Hiking along the creek.

Here is the sink hole.  Mike told me it drops like 30ft then there is a bit of passage.

Water is being pirated below the surface.  You can see the drain below and left of the tree in the center of the image.

A nice pool in the creek with large boulders if limestone.

Mike and Christy checking out the water flow.

Just a nice view.

As the sunset the temperature was falling fast.  It was suppose to be a really cold night.  We got a fire going and moved close to stay warm.  The idea was to try and stay warm and awake long enough to see the New Year.  As we made dinner the chill in the air was getting worse.  We boiled water for dinner and while eating dinner the water left in the pot froze.  COLD!!  We sat up drinking hot coco with a bit of whiskey.  It helps to keep warm.  Edward Abby would have called it Magic Coco.  Chatting and catching up and laughing about some of the old days.  I caught a glimpse of a couple of shooting stars.  I made my wishes and hope they come true.  Then two Barred Owls started calling to each other in the dark.  Such strange noise they can make.  Before we knew it midnight was passed and 2009 was kicked off.  Shortly after we all retired to our tents.  It was a really cold night of sleep.  I had a good sleeping bag with a fleece liner and still had a down jacket wrapped around my feet.

Ahh.  My home for the night.

Here is the ice in the cooking pot.  It did not take much time for it to freeze.

FIRE!!!!! HEAT!!!!

When I woke up I decided to go for a hike.  The sun was up and slowly warming the earth.  The trail was frozen mud.  As I got back to camp they were waking up and it was coffee time and breakfast.  After packing up it was time for a hike.  As we hiked we saw lots of Golden Crown Kinglets.  We made our way through the woods and back down to the creek.  I guess the creek at flood stage is a class V whitewater ride.  We were hiking toward a cave entrance.  Mike and I use to cave together a long time ago.  He is still and active pro caver.  We were not going to go caving today, but we wanted to take a quick look.

So imagine this full of water and kayaking here.  

Just another view of the creek.

Mike standing in the mouth of the cave.

From the inside looking out.

Here we are taking a quick look.  No caving was done this day.  Without proper gear we ethically or safely could not go further.  Our curiosity took us to a scramble to this passage.  There was a Long Eared Bat in the passage.  Below Mike there is a crawling passage.  To bad we did not have any cave gear.  It was still fun to crawl around a bit.

We hiked back to the car after playing around.  It was a nice hike with Kinglets flying all around.  As we drove back to town we saw a nice bull Elk.  The sunset was beautiful on our drive.

Bull Elk in the distance.

It was a really nice time.  Camping with good friends is one of the best things you could ever do. Catching up with Mike was much needed.  I can only hope that not as much time will pass before we catch up next time.

Hope everyone is well.


Penny said…
lol very strange for you to mention Swans & Kinglets... as that was my blog yesterday, and I am pretty sure you haven't see it yet.

Looks like you had a good time. See you soon back on the island.

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