2016 Summer Camping - Part 2

Our next two camping trips in the month of August were at the Mirror Lake Highway with my Dad,  and then the Spruces in Big Cottonwood Canyon with J.R.'s family.

We didn't plan ahead very well for our trip up Mirror Lake, so when we tried to reserve a campsite, they were already booked. Each site has a few that they keep as "walk-up" sites that are given out on a first come first serve basis. So we thought we'd just leave early early on Friday and get one of those walk-up sites.

Well things didn't go exactly as planned and we left a little later than we wanted to. So by the time we got to the canyon it was already 3:00 in the afternoon. Each site we came had a sign that said, "Campsite Full."

They should have just put a sign at the bottom of the canyon that said, "Canyon Full." Because we could not find an available campsite anywhere! By now, it was approaching 6:00 pm and we knew we had to find a place soon or else we would be setting up camp in the dark.

Discouraged, we started driving back down the main canyon road when J.R. spotted a dirt road that we had never seen before.  It was dark by now, so we didn't see the signs that said this:

"Rough road ahead. Trailers and autos not advised."

We only saw the sign that said this: 

So we took our jeep and it's redneck truck-bed trailer on quite the bumpy ride! 

We made it about three miles up the road when we decided to pull of and camp in this grassy meadow for the night. It was a good thing we pulled of when we did, because the jeep's engine was very hot. 

Obviously, there was no running water and no outhouses. This is what we call "roughin' it." 

Dad loves this type of camping, so he thought it was a great adventure! J.R. wasn't very happy about it, but he had a super good attitude and refused to let the camping trip be ruined.  

We set up camp, had dinner, and started the camp fire for the night. 

It was around 11:00 pm and we're sitting around the campfire, laughing and chatting the night away, when we heard a large caliber rifle being shot off. The sound echoes through the canyon. 
We all sit up a little straighter in our chairs. 

J.R. and my dad are a little on edge, but they don't seem that worried about it. 
J.R. finds his hand gun and my dad passes out flashlight to us. But they don't think it's anything to panic about.

 "Why would someone be shooting a gun in the middle of the night?" I ask. 
J.R. shrugs his shoulders and my dad raises his eye brows, and with his flashlight scans the trees around us. 

We're quiet now. 

A moment later, we hear the gun rapid fire. One shot after another. About eight rounds. 

Now I'm worried. Because unless you're an idiot, you don't target practice in the middle of the night. 
My mind jumps to conclusions.  We are camping in bear and wolf country. Maybe an animal was attacking them? Or maybe a person was attacking them? Who knows? 

All I know is that we are in the back woods, in the middle of no-where, with no cell phone service, and someone -relatively near us- is firing a gun into the dark night. 

Just then, we hear something crashing through the forest running away from the direction the gun was fired. Whatever it is - it's big. Bigger than a human. And it's coming towards us. 

"Get in the Jeep." my dad says. 

We pile in and shut the doors. Our breath fogs up the windows. 

"What do you think that was?" I ask as I try to see into the darkness beyond our campfire light. 

"It's hard to say exactly, but whatever it was, it was moving fast." J.R. replies. 
My dad chuckles in the backseat. (He's enjoying this.)

The guys wait about ten minutes, then they decide its safe to get out and put more wood on our dying fire. I stay in the jeep another five minutes or so and let my heart rate drop back down to normal. I think about how I'll be sleeping with nothing but a thin piece of canvas between me and all the scary things of the forest. 

I eventually climb out to go warm up by the fire. 

"You know?" J.R. says, "It could have just been a moose that was running away because the sound of the gun scared it." 

"Yeah. That's very true." Dad says as he tilts his head back to see the stars. 

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