My wife and I like to celebrate not only the usual yearly anniversary but also on the half year. It gives us yet another chance to get away by ourselves and "rough it" a little more than if our daughter is with us. This September we were celebrating the 7.5 year mark in our marital history book. Though we had planned a longer half year retreat an impromptu trip to Maui for 10 days earlier this year had depleted my wife's vacation days down to a meager 3. 3 days would not be nearly enough to go as deep into the Oregon Outback as we had wanted so we settled for was of our favorite places, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. True, we had been here before but there was still much exploring to be done.
Our plan was to leave late Thursday after my wife was off from work, and drive the 4.5 hrs to Hart Mountain that night, making it in roughly about midnight. We wanted to travel light,backpacker style, and had hoped that the in-laws would not only look after our daughter but also our 9 year old German Shepherd, who has the spirit but no longer has the legs for long hikes. Unfortunately they declined to watch him and he would have to travel with us and we would have to limit our hiking to shorter ones. And so Thursday came and I packed up the 4Runner with the pre-packed camping totes my wife took care of the night before. Though we packed as light as we could, hauling 100 lbs of German Shepherd and his beds, yes "beds", he has two, the 4runner quickly looses a lot of interior cargo space. I was glad to have recently bought the extension piece for our Thule MOAB basket. My wife was able to leave work early and we hit the road by 4:30. We stopped in Klamath Falls for food and to top off the tank and were on the road again. Maybe it was the Off The Grid podcast about how to save seeds that did but by 8 p.m. we were both already exhausted and were looking for a place to pitch our tent for the night. We found a place about 20 miles before the town of Lakeview called Cottonwood Meadows. It sounded pleasant enough so we headed for it. It was dark when we rolled in, but we found a spot that looked nice enough and pitched our tent through in our bags and zonked out. I was awoken from my slumber by the sound of AJ, our dog, growling at something. I blinked a few times to get my eyes to adjust a bit and noticed AJ was on alert! He was standing up, staring out screen of the tent and growling. The night was warm and clear so we opted not to put the rain fly on. I sat up a bit and patted AJ on the back to reassure him and his growling relented..........slightly. It was now quiet enough that I could now hear the distinct sound of slurping and then what sounded like a large, make that very large sigh, like a dog does. I fumbled around the tent pockets looking for my headlamp and clicked it on.
-----------More later with pics but i must go to work now--------
"Adventure is a word that get's over used, to me real adventure doesn't start until it all goes wrong"- Yvon Chouinard