Two weeks ago we had plans to go camping. The weather forecast was three days of thunderstorms so we postponed our trip to this past weekend. On Friday morning as we prepared to head out guess what happened: it rained.
But as the sky cleared and the car was packed, we decided we’d still give it a shot. The weather report wasn’t great but “30-40% scattered thunderstorms” gave us a chance.
Our camping location was the same one Veery and Dakota spent several days last August at Sugar River Forest Preserve. We got the same exact spot and were surprised to find a low number of campers already set up. Now if only the rain would hold off…
Camping out has always been a treat. It provides the opportunity to be outside for long numbers of hours, hear all sorts of interesting night creatures, and wake early to the pleasant sounds of birds.
We went on a wonderful hike, seeing several birds and other creatures. The Sugar River had recently flooded and the smell and mosquitoes were terrible. By the time we returned to our campsite, we could already hear low rumbling in the west.
For the next several hours we spent our time moving firewood to stay dry, reading in the car, and hoping for better weather. Eventually, the thunder subsided and we were ready to cook supper. Slight problem: our fire ring had nearly two inches of standing water in it!
Solution: we gathered up massive quantities of fallen pine needles (we were camping in a pine forest) and build the fire atop them. Success! After supper, we had a most pleasant yet mosquito-invested evening before retiring to our tent.
We heard several owls calling, both Barred and Great-horned and also heard deer and coyotes. We were hoping to listen for Whip-poor-wills but instead, the night sounds quickly became drowned out.
Boom, boom, rumble rumble, boom. No, not thunder but some sort of awful music from another campsite. This went on for several hours, the sounds mixing with the clanking of beer bottles and hyenaish giggling.
Despite the irritants, we still had fun camping with Arizona and fully immersing ourselves in nature. Our “resident bird” was a tie between Chipping Sparrows, American Crows, and an Eastern Towhee.