It was a dark and stormy night…well, maybe not. But seriously, the weather forecast for the long-awaited camping trip to Valley of Fire was dire. Wind, gusting wind up to 50 mph, and possible rain showers were predicted for most of the time that we had reserved a camp site. Naturally, the weather was expected to improve on the day we were to leave for home. Considering how uncomfortable camping in the wind is, a few of the less enthusiastic tent campers bowed out. But My Favorite Niece (MFN) Tara, sister Babs, and nine of Tara’s more intrepid hiker friends girded their loins for the epic adventure.
The Wanderlust, being a fold-down trailer, is not affected much by wind and my SUV is stable and aerodynamic, so the six-hour drive across the Mojave Desert was comfortable but I was still concerned about conditions at Valley of Fire. By the time I reached our camp site, the wind had died to a comfortable 7-10 mph and I was able to set up my trailer without assistance.
MFN Tara had invited several members of her hiking group, most of whom I didn’t know, and they began arriving shortly after I had set up. Introductions were made and the revelry began.
Dinner preparations were made more or less independently but the theme was chili. I heated vegetarian chili and green chili/cheese corn bread for Babs, Tara and me. Our diverse group consisted of omnivores, vegetarians, vegans and carnivores all of whom agreed that good food was essential to a successful outdoor experience. Similarly, a respectable amount of socially lubricating libation added to the good vibrations.
If memory serves, there was a bit of gusty wind during the night but nobody complained in the morning. At any rate, we were happy to set out for a day of hiking with a mild breeze and perfect 60 something temperatures.
Description of the Valley of Fire defies my feeble abilities, so I will allow the following images to speak for me.
The morning breeze made the confines of my little trailer the perfect place for the tent campers to gather for hot tea and coffee.
After a day of hiking, we visited the showers. There was no waiting and plenty of hot water, no quarters needed as they were included in the camping fees (which were quite reasonable considering how lovely the campground was).
The evening was passed pleasantly around a campfire, nestled against the cliff wall, and sheltered from the breeze. Craig provided music of professional quality with his guitar and beautiful singing, which went almost ignored as the conversation became rapid-fire and ribald and everyone relaxed.
After two days of hiking, it was time to head home. I was loathe to leave and lingered after my fellow campers had gone their separate ways. But the long drive home weighed heavily on my mind, so after double checking the trailer connections, we hit the road. The girls weren’t much for conversation and slept most of the way, waking only to sniff the recent history at the pit stop we made at a remote freeway off-ramp. We were back home long before dark and had time to unload the trailer before dinner.