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Labor Day Weekend



I woke this morning at West Tensleep Lake, about as close as you can drive to the Cloud Peak Wilderness. At 6 am it was 34 degrees outside, 47 inside. I decided this situation required the judicious application of gas heat, while I went back undercover to keep an eye on the sunrise out the window. This evolution is one of my favorite things about the trailer.

Another is the hot shower, which would be a lot more enjoyable if I could remember to turn on the water heater the night before.

To get here yesterday, I had to drag the trailer 7 miles up a dirt road that redefined, for me at least, the term "washboard". And why, you ask, did I go to all this trouble?

Because this is the dreaded "Labor Day Weekend", when the Public has the disgusting habit of wanting to use the Public Lands, durn'em. I find as time goes on I have the patience to put up with only 4 or 5 of these bush apes at a time, myself included.

No luck. Every campground along the road was stuffed full of pickups, vans, dogs, trailers, 4wheelers roaring around, screaming kids, and assorted small boats. Ah, Wilderness! At length I found a reasonably flat and private "dispersed camping" spot along the road, and managed to back my behemoth in there.

Did I mention the horses? A lot of horses. Or maybe just the same 4, over and over. These were apparently the equine equivalent of the soccer mom's SUV, never driven off road. Actually, never driven off the road in front of my fiver, back and forth, back and forth. Did I mention their ...ah... exhaust?

Later, somewhat mollified by a break in the traffic, I grabbed a Scape Goat Ale and assumed the Required Reading Position: slumped in a foldup camp chair, feet up on a stump. While thus occupied I had a couple of visitors. First, a chipmunk did a Speedy Gonzales imitation (absent the noise) around the stump, finally mantling up on my clipboard, where he gave some of This Very Prose the sniff test, but was not amused.

Then a little later a mule deer doe walked right into my camp, perhaps 20 yards away, apparently to examine an area where I had recently peed. She gave me the patented Doe-eyed look, her great ears flapping. Suddenly her head came straight up, looking west, and she bounded away, never to return.

I could hear what had startled her, an intermittent "thok......thok". Turns out a kid from the next camp over was trying out his Wrist Rocket. I don't think he ever saw the deer, but he was certainly slaying fir trees right and left.

I love people. Really. I just wish there weren't quite so many of us. Why can't I have all this to myself? Huh? Why?

The answer, of course, is that I can, if I wait till Tuesday. When I truly start to do this full time, I think I will try to develop the habit of spending weekends and holidays in town.

From the looks of things, there won't be anybody there.


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