Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Camptown Races

Silhouetted Sunrise

Went camping this past weekend... hence all the new outdoors-y pictures.

It was fun. Headed out to Culp Valley (outside of Santa Ysabel) around 7:30 or so. Very dark. Makes it hard to see a turn-off to a campsite. Yes, indeed it does. After going 20 minutes out of our way, we finally found the road that leads into the desert - the windy road that would pummel my little Jetta on our way to our camping destiny.

When we finally got there (there being the spot that was almost level, wasn't pockmarked with small critter burrows, and was far enough away from the other campers to not hear them snoring) we unloaded the car. Since this was going to be a star-gazing trip, we didn't have much to unpack - just the stuff to make a comfy bed and a cooler with the wine and glasses (gotta have the necessities). I also had my camera and tripod, but once I got it all set up, I realized I had no idea how to program my digital camera for a 1/2 hour exposure time. Drats!

I figured I would forgo the picture thing until the following day and just enjoy my evening. We sat, sipping our wine, trying to stay warm, while pointing out different constellations and planets. Mars was bright and huge in the sky. When I see all those stars out there, away from the pollution of the ever present streetlamps that illuminate the sidewalks at night, I am amazed at how overwhelmed I become. The fact that in the scheme of things, I am a teeny, tiny speck. What a way for Mother Nature to put me back in my place.

Anyway, finally crawled into bed and was surprisingly warm. It was fairly easy to drift off to sleep, lulled by the desert sounds of birds and crickets doing their night-noise thing. A couple hours of peaceful slumber go by when suddenly I am awakened by scampering of little, but surprisingly sturdy feet, ACROSS MY FACE. I sit up with a shriek, clawing at my face and my hair, hoping that whomever it was that galloped across my personage was now gone. Egads! I don't wish that feeling on anyone.

Fortunately, I was able to get back to sleep and nothing else disturbed me for the rest of the night, with the exception of 3 small mosquitoes. But I'm counting those as minor casualties.

Next morning we got up early. I took pictures of the sunrise over the mountain and then took a hike and documented our trek through the desert flora. It was beautiful in the morning... all yellows and golds. It warmed up fast and before too long, I was ready to leave the sultry heat of the morning for cooler climates.

We stopped in Santa Ysabel and had breakfast at a local apple-themed restaurant before stopping at the Pie Shop and then heading home.

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