Moonlight Camping

August 10th we packed up our jeep and headed to the Unitas for the night. We planned on watching the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. The shower was scheduled to be at its peak on the 12th, but we still expected to see quite a display of shooting stars on this night.  

J.R. and I  have never been camping alone together. We have always either been with our families or with large church groups, so this was our fist solo trip. The whole thing was kind of spontaneous, we knew we wanted to camp along the Mirror Lake Highway, but we hadn't planned exactly where. We just drove along checking out the different camp grounds as we went, and finally decided to stay at Cobblerest. We chose campsite number 6 because; it had a shady spot for our tent, an open area to view the stars, and it was by the river. 

( I just had to show you guys our cute camping quilt.)

There was a small boy-scout group camping near us, but by the time we had set up our tent and started a fire, they had taken down their tent and packed up all their things. And as night fell, we realized we were the only people in the entire campground. Which was really strange, and wonderful at the same time. A couple minutes later we also realized that neither one of us had cell phone service.
With it getting darker and darker, my imagination started acting up. What if a bear was attracted to the smell of our food, or what it Jason showed up with his ski-mask and chainsaw? A young couple camping by themselves in the woods, isn't that how scary movies always start?  J.R. laughed at me and told me we'd be just fine. And when I asked him to walk me to the bathroom, he rolled his eyes and protested - but eventually he came along as my bodyguard. (Which I really appreciated.) 
After awhile I stopped thinking about all the scary things that could happen to us and instead focused on watching the stars, and I realized that this was actually pretty romantic. 

Except the stars didn't seem to be shining very brightly and we couldn't see any meteors. We thought that maybe it just wasn't dark enough or that maybe our fire was just a little to bright, so we let it die down. It was a cold night, so to help keep us warm J.R. went down to the river and brought back some water to boil for hot chocolate. I had never drank river water before, but after some convincing from J.R. that, "It'll be fine".  I decided that I should trust him, and that we probably would live through it. 

While we had been enjoyed our river-water-hot-chocolate, the night had gotten a little bit darker, so we turned our attention back to star gazing. I saw one big meteor, and J.R. was able to see two more. But then the moon came up over the ridge and we realized why the stars were so dim -the moon was full and bright. We knew then that our chances of seeing more meteors was slim-to-nothing. 

So instead we focused on the moon. (I wonder why people talk about "the man in the moon." I always envisioned the moon as something feminine.) Anyways, the moon was beautiful, and it lit up the entire mountain. Here are some photos that J.R. took: 

We stayed there for a few hours basking in the moon's light and the warmth of our fire. When we started running low on firewood though, we decided to call it a night and go to bed. 

J.R. had recently purchased a "Tent Buddy" which is a heater that runs off of propane.  I'm so glad that he brought it on this trip. The night was so much colder than we had planned for, but with our tent buddy we were able to stay nice and warm. Except, sometime during the middle of the night while we were sleeping, it ran out of propane and turned off. We don't know how long it had been off for, but we both woke up because of the cold. My nose was frozen, my butt was frozen, my hands and feet were frozen. J.R. climbed out of bed and switch in a new propane tank for us. We cuddled together until we were warm, and both of us eventually drifted back to sleep. 

J.R. got up at the first hint of sunlight. I stayed in bed not wanting to leave it's warmth, and fell back asleep. A little while later I heard J.R. at the tent door saying that he had started a fire, and made more hot chocolate so that I would be warm when I came out of the tent. Isn't he so sweet? He probably froze getting everything ready. 

By the time I got dressed and came out of the tent he had already started cooking our breakfast. I sat in a chair by the fire, sipping on the hot chocolate he had made for me, and tried to take in the moment; the sound of the water running over the rocks in the river, the cool mountain air around us, the soft early morning light, and no-one around for miles except me and J.R.. I could hear him absentmindedly humming a song as he cooked our bacon and eggs, and I was so happy to be there in this moment with him. 

Wanting to be helpful, I got up to get our plates and utensils ready and tried to make out the tune he was humming. 
When I couldn't figure it out, I asked him, 
"What song are you humming babe?"  
He stopped humming and was quite for a moment. Without looking up from the pan of eggs he said, 
"Louis Armstrong's, What a Wonderful World."  
Seriously you guys, my heart just melted right then and there.
I don't know how I got so lucky to have J.R. as my husband, but I thank Heavenly Father everyday that we are together. 

If we were to rate this trip's success off of the amount of meteors we saw, then it would be considered a complete fail. But this little "moonlight camping trip" as been the most memorable thing we've done all summer, and I fully enjoyed each moment we had together. 

Plus, now we have an excuse to try it again next year. 

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