Sunday, April 27, 2008

Camping!

Friday was ANZAC day and finally the time for camping had come. I've been going on and on about going camping for months now and after the whole Lake fiasco I'd finally found a place we could go camping near to where we all live.
It's a little place called Patens Brook and it's very near to Mundaring Weir (you know the place - I think every time I post about it I include photos of roos). Patens Brook is only open outside of the total fire ban season and you have to hike about 3kms to get to it so I figured it would be a nice, quiet little site. Perfect for a little get together!

Did I say little? Does 11 people count as a little camping group? Medium to large maybe... ;-)

Anyway, lots of people decided to come and it was great to have so many of my friends all in the one place. The opportunities for cuddles was endless! I also did my usual photo thing so I have lots of pics for you guys today as well as stories. I like stories!

Okie, how bout I just get started with the whole actually telling you about camping thing instead of this digressing I'm doing now.

Right, so everyone was late but really that's just normal now. We'd planned to get to the meeting point at half eleven and I think it was almost eleven when Damian and Wendy arrived at our place as they were giving us a lift. Mel rang about that time to tell us she hadn't even left home yet and as she was picking up Mike and Chiaki and Kat was also getting a lift with us it seemed that everyone bar Dan and Helen were late.

Damian, Wendy, Kat, Christian and I trundled up the hill, stopping in the Stonemasons Hall car park briefly so we could meet Dan there. The car park is perfect for doughnuts and other manoeuvres and Wendy had to warn Damian several times that all horrors of the universe would be visited upon him if he got playful with the car.

I said I had photos, didn't I. Guess we should get to them.

This is Christian and Damian checking out the car park, mourning the lost opportunities.
I'd just like to point out that this is probably the best photo I got of my darling hubby the whole time we were away. His skill at dodging the camera seems to have been refined since my last outing with the camera.

Kat on the other hand plays well with others and will always pose for the camera. She always looks so good too damn her!

This is Wendy who I haven't as yet properly introduced. Wendy is married to Damian who took over from Mike when he left Christians' work. We met at a party a few weeks back and ever since then Christian has had to put up with me saying constantly "Wendy and Damian are soooo nice! I really like them!". I liked them even more when I discovered that they're snuggle bugs too! Being British Wendy didn't feel the cold much but was very nice in keeping snugged up to me to keep me warm.

So this is Damian, who informs me he's actually Welsh. Neyh, where ever he and Wendy come from they have the most divine accents! Damian professes to hate photos but always seemd to be posing for the camera...

Ok, so that's not too unusual I guess. I don't like photos and this is as big as a pose as you're likely to find.

So, Dan and Helen finally emerged and we took off again, not doing too badly seeing as we arrived at the rendezvous point a little past noon. Mel, Jann, Mike and Chiaki met us there a short while later and we were ready to start our camping adventure!
It was at this point that we all came to the decision to head back into Mundaring and get lunch before heading to a bottle shop. Being ANZAC day all the bottlos were opening late and there weren't many of us that had been organised enough to get booze the day before.

Right, so now, being fed, boozed up and organised, it was time to start our camping adventure. We figured out exactly which way to go (the track loops round but if we took the wrong one we'd have ended up walking 5kms, not 3), loaded backpacks and tents onto backs and took off.

You know, on paper 3kms doesn't sound far at all. I've walked 3kms many times before. Every time Kat and I head down to the river for a walk we would easily cover 3kms.

3kms with a heavy backpack on and a bag in each hand feels like forever! Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration but we did need to stop a few times to have a rest.

I took one rest opportunity to take some more pics.
Mike actually gave me a smile for once, bless his little cotton socks!


Daniel and Wendy, waiting for everyone else to catch up.
And here they come!
We finally came across the camp site and it was a relief to be able to finally throw our crap down and just relax. Jann and Damian especially looked relieved.

So we set about putting up out tents and setting up camp. Wendy and I decided to be neighbours and without waiting for the boys started putting the tents up. It took us about twenty seconds to figure out that we had exactly the same tents. Even bought them from the same place. They had had theirs a bit longer than us though and so I got some good advice and tips on the best way to get the mass of canvas and poles to look something vaguely tent shaped.

Christian came over and helped me with the last part and so I gave him the honour of inflating the air mattress we'd brought with us. Having only a stupid little hand pump it didn't really do much but I did get the chance to take a photo of Christian's arse. Yay me ;-)


Across the way a bit Dan and Helen were putting up their tent (I refuse to use the word 'erecting' in this post because I do not know of one of you who read this that won't make some juvenile comment!). Their tent was so sweet, it looked like it had come straight out of a boy scout manual!
Mel was having a little more success with their air mattress as she had bought a foot pump with them. She was nice enough to lend it to us although she probably shouldn't have bothered since our mattress didn't like staying inflated and even before I went to bed it was very sad and droopy looking.

Kat was bunking in with Mel and Jann and helped put up the tent by having a nap on the log.
We discovered that while the girls were putting up the tents, the boys had been busy getting the camp fire ready. They had managed to put together a nice little pile of wood to get started with.

A little more foraging and we had a nice wood pile off to one side to keep us going for the night. Surely we wouldn't need any more?


Obviously we did! Kat and Dan decided to collect all the fallen trees they could find.

Once the fire was started Christian pulled out his pack of cards and everyone sat down to a few games. I wanted to explore and after telling Christian 'I'm off to look at rocks' I set off.
The camp site is in a valley and I wandered northwards for a bit and came upon a really lovely area that had huge granite rocks sticking up every where. I absolutely love places like this and had a lot of fun exploring the area. I even came across a bit of a cave!
Ok, well, maybe not technically a cave but it was an area where some granite boulders had fallen together and had formed an area about a metre wide and maybe three metres deep.

This photo doesn't actually make it looks as big as it was.
Just past the cave the valley came to an end and I started climbing up the rocky side to get to the top. I found a lovely rock to perch on and stayed there for maybe twenty minutes, just enjoying the peace and quite. My doctor says that since I'm such a stress head I have to find activities that calm me down and since yoga and stuff like it bore the crap out of me he advised I spend some time 'looking at trees'.
Honestly, he said that to me.
So, what better place to be that sitting on a rock at the top of the valley!
I took photos of course but it really just doesn't do the place any justice at all. Boo and Mouse, when you come in October I think we'll need to go camping for a night or two so you can really experience it.

I was rather high up on my rock, almost as high as the tree tops. I sat there in silence for ages but you know, apart from some birds and a shit load of spiders, there didn't seem to be anything else around. Maybe the laughing that came floating along on the breeze from the direction of the camp fire scared everything else away.

I played about with the zoom on my camera for a bit. This honkey nut was on a branch about twenty metres away from me.
After a while I heard the guys yelling for me and I sent a coo-ee back to let them know I was still alive but they were worried and sent Christian to look for me. He found me on my rock and I climbed down to head back with him. He told me that the state had spent $32 billion dollars on their search for me and if I didn't pay it back by dinner time I'd be in trouble.
I argued that I'd told Christian that I'd gone looking at rocks and even though he hadn't been worried, Christian said that I'd been gone quite a while and my parting explanation didn't really explain my absence. I thought I'd been gone only twenty minutes or so but I do have a warped sense of time and it had been a bit closer to an hour.

Before we headed back I got a snap of the rock I'd been sitting on. Yet again, I don't know why I bothered because the photo makes it seem not very exciting at all. It was much higher and prettier than that, honest!

When we got back to the fire everyone had started drinking and the fire was roaring. I'm not exactly the most experienced drinker but I thought that we'd bought quite a lot with us. Christian and I had 8 Pulse cans between us, there was 4 litres of Goon, another bottle of wine, a five litre keg, 4 G&T's, I think 8 cans of various Bourbon and Cola's and 4 pre-mixed Cowboys (there might have been something else too but I can't remember). I have since been told by the more experienced drinkers that were there with me that we didn't really bring that much with us. Anyway, I think it was about 3pm when we started and by half 9 it was all gone, to be replaced by several extremely drunk people. Christian got rather talkative (as he does when he's drunk) and kept on trying to get Kat and I to kiss, Chiaki headed off to bed very early and Wendy and I were having a hard time keeping Damian out of the fire.
Me : 'Damian, I think you might want to step back a bit.'
Damian: 'Nah, I'm fine!' as he staggers backwards a few steps.
Wendy: 'Seriously, you need to come over this way a bit.'
Damian: 'I'm telling you, I'm fine. Never better.'
Me: Grabbing Damian's arm 'How bout you come over here and sit of the log.'
Damian: Pulls arm away and leaning dangerously backwards 'You two worry too much!'

I'm just don't know how he managed to keep from getting his butt burnt to a crisp but I guess alcohol can make you a bit numb.

Christian grabbed my camera and started playing with the night mode, a favourite past time of his and had fun with taking photos of the fire.

He took so many photos that I deleted some of them as I uploaded them because I really didn't think we needed twenty photos of it. I know, it was a great camp fire but lets not go over board!
He moved on to flaming marshmallows after that...
And then he and Kat hit upon the idea of using a keyring sized LED to write our names with. I think he set the shutter to go off every 5 seconds or so and the results were really cool. We all gathered about to see what each name would look like.

Kat kept on spelling Annette wrong so she just stuck with Annie. It gets slightly confusing at times being known by so many different names! We should have done one Annette, one Nettie and one Annie just to cover all of them!

Christian rarely gets called Chris but one must make sacrifices when having ones name written on the night.You can't really see it here but if you look closely on the full photos, you can sometimes see Kat three or four times throughout the photo.

I had given this a go earlier but I couldn't get the knack of writing in a mirror image. Kat turned out to be a natural at it.

Although the Y gave Kat a little trouble. I think they tried to write Wendy four or five times and kept on getting it not quite right but the batteries ran out and so there was no chance of doing it over and over until a perfected one was reached.
Kat tried writing Brooksey but couldn't make it in time so we stuck with Mike.
Chiaki took over for this one and wrote her name in her native Japanese. How awesome does that look!Mel, short and sweet, just like the woman!

Kat tried some flourishes but they didn't always work out too well...
All in all though the fact that she was writing in light and having to guess where to place each letter next, the results are just so cool!
If only the batteries hadn't run out, we could have had so much fun with this!The funny thing about camping is that time moves at a different pace. I kept on looking at my watch expecting it to be almost midnight and it would only be half eight.
The night wore on and after a pitch black adventure to the cave, people started one by one to head off to bed. I crawled in at about 12 but was so cold! Sitting around a fire after a few drinks snuggling up to one person or the other was nice and comfy, laying in a sleeping bag by yourself in a cold tent, quite another! To make matters worse, Christian, Kat and Dan had stayed up and were yakking by the fire and I could hear them so clearly that between listening to them and the sound of my chattering teeth, there was no way I was going to fall asleep. After a while I yelled at Christian to stop being so damned philosophical and to come and keep me warm but he thought I was joking. About an hour later I got out of bed and told him in no uncertain terms to come to bed and although I was much warmer after that, I didn't sleep much at all. Every time I rolled over I would wake up or Christian would shuffle up the mattress and I would wake up or Damian would start snoring in the next tent and I would wake up. It was almost a relief when it started getting light just after six so I could get up.

The morning was spent cooking brekkie and packing up and then it was time to start the walk back. It was slightly easier with the lighter load but tents and air mattresses weigh a certain amount regardless of it being the way in or out so it was still heavy and awkward.
It only took us 45 minutes to walk back though and so we were soon on the way home, heading for a hot bath and a much needed nap (if six hours can be called a nap).

I just had so much fun, I cannot wait to do it all again! I even think that Christian, who professes to hate camping enjoyed himself but I think I can put that down to the people who were there with us.

11 comments:

Mouse said...

Yay for camping, and fire, and lookng at trees. :-D
The LED name photos are so cool!

Hieronymous Anonymous said...

Yay! It looks so fun!
We're totally up for going camping when we visit.
:-)
And yeah, the names are really cool.

LaMa said...

That looks like a very fine spot to camp! I am jealous!

Nettie said...

La, I really wish you could make it over here for a visit in October. I know the chances of that are slim but there's still hope, right?

Tah said...

Glad you had a great time. Reminds me of the long ago days (er, nights) spent in the summer sitting around a bonfire with friends. :-)

Shawna said...

Love the name photos! Very awesome! Dave and the kids and I love camping, but we generally go for a few weeks at a time. Nothing better than getting away from everything! : )

NEO said...

Sweet. Nice photos. I want to go camping now, but without the kids.

Kathleen said...

I had no idea, Nettie, that you were called Nettie for the same reason my little sister is called Nettie. It's not a very common name or a very common nickname, either.

It does look like a neat camping spot -- it reminded me just a bit of parts of California, but just a bit.

Nettie said...

Kathleen, I got the nickname from my friend Rob when I was 13. He started calling me 'Nettie who's father was a fisherman' and it just kind of stuck from there. I get Annie or Nettie most these days, it's really only some of the people at work and my Mum who still call me Annette.

Kathleen said...

My little sister Annette (she's 11 years yonger than me, hence the emphasis on "little") also has this...split between who calls her "Nettie" and who calls her other things. Frankly, I mostly call her "the Kid," but sometimes also "the Short Person," because she is only 5'1 3/4" tall and the rest of us kids range from fairly tall to really tall. But she acquired the nickname Nettie in her early teens, too. Interesting coincidence. That's what my husband calls her, for example, because that's what her friends were calling her when they first met.

Nobody EVER calls her Annie, though. Not sure why she dislikes it because it sounds like a nice nickname to me (better than "the Kid," certainly), but she most definitely does.

Nettie said...

When I was younger no one was allowed to call me Annie because that's what my Nannie called me and my mother really didn't get along well with her at all. After Nannie died if anyone called me Annie my mother would jump on them so fast they had no idea what hit them!
I've always rather liked it as a nickname and at work I just introduce myself as Annie now.