Friday evening, September 17th, 2021 the drought ended with the first significant rainfall in many months. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest lifted its ban on campfires which had been in place since the beginning of June. More than four inches of rain fell over the weekend. Naturally, this was the weekend my brother and I chose to go camping.
It was muggy and overcast with rain in the offing when we arrived at Pistol Creek. Wasting no time, we loaded the cart and Walter pulled the cover in; I followed, dragging a few more tipi poles. Adding the poles to those Andy and I had set up the previous weekend, we hastily lifted the canvas in place before we hauled the rest of our gear in. At least we’d have a dry shelter if the rains came earlier than predicted.
Andy cut pegs and carved the lacing pins while I got the last load in. He also stretched a couple of tarps between some trees at the edge of our clearing, providing a place to stack our gear. I finished pegging down the tipi and hanging the liner inside. It stayed warm and dry, we were able to set up camp without getting wet.
Our friend Mike showed up in time to help my brother gather some firewood. Mike didn’t stay long, leaving shortly after we finished the bourbon.
Andy did all the cooking this trip. Dinner was bratwurst, beer and salad. We roasted the bratwurst on the first campfire we had enjoyed in months. There had been no precipitation to speak of since winter. Heavy rain began falling as we finished eating. We kept the fire going all night.
Disaster was narrowly averted when his chair collapsed in the soft dirt. Somehow my brother avoided the fire, didn’t dump his breakfast in the dirt and managed to fend off his dog without losing a bite.
At three-thirty in the morning I was moved to leave my bunk. The latrine was on a trail out through the woods behind camp. It all looks the same in the rainy darkness, but I had the foresight to mark the path with Fire Tacks, so I was able to make the trip there and back without getting lost.