Friday, October 28, 2016

Camp #11: Preparation Canyon Sunset And Sunrise

My eleventh camp was in Preparation Canyon.  I've camped here two times before and I've always liked how remote it feels.

Preparation Canyon Sunset.
The park is a fairly small park but is is surrounded by farmland and the nearests towns, Moorhead and Pisgah, Iowa, are small.  The area is rural.  It is also Trump country based on the number of political signs I saw going to and from the park.  I was hoping it would be a quiet night but I forgot it is harvest season and the distant sounds of combines harvesting corn could be heard all night (I think I still heard them when I woke up at 2:30am though I might have dreamt it).

The campsite looks small when seen from a nearby trail.
Like the other campsites I have used in this park, there was no real level ground to pitch the tent on.  This meant I would wake up to one side of the tent in the morning.  I found the best spot I could up hill from the picnic table, opposite the fire ring, and put up the tent.

I like fall camping.  The temperatures are crisp, the skies are often clear, and the stars go on forever.  This fall camp was a bit odd.  First of all the temperatures were above 70°F (21°C).  Secondly the low temperature for the night was 56°F (13°C) which is much milder than I expected for this time of year.  Lastly there was a whisp of high altitude clouds that obscured, but did not totally block, the stars.

A nice fire to contemplate life beside.
I lit my fire before the sun went down.  The wood that I collected was very dry and the fire burned hot and quick.  I had to collect more wood over the next hour to keep it going.  I sat at the picnic table and ate my Spaghetti with Meat Sauce while watching the sun set and the fire burn.  On my other camping trips I usually do a lot of reading by the fire.  This one I just sat by the fire, looking into the flames, and letting my thoughts wander.

A leaf covered trail brings back memories of youth.
Once the sun had completely fallen below the horizon I layed down on the picnic table bench and looked up at the stars.  I'd hoped to see a lot tonight as the forecast was for clear skies but the wispy clouds blocked some of the view and dimmed many of the stars.  Nevertheless the stars still shined and I saw a lot more than I can from the deck of our house.

I got in the tent early (8:00pm) and read a little of my ebook before falling asleep,  I slept surprisingly well and only woke up a few times during the night.  I got up just after 7:00am, before the sun came up over the horizon, broke camp, and poured the remainder of my water on the cold ashes of my fire.

I returned to the car walking on a leaf covered trail.  There is something about the sound of fall leaves crunching and shooshing under my feet that makes me feel content.  Maybe it's a memory of jumping in piles of leaves when I was a kid.

I drove home making only one stop along the way - my customary McDonald's hotcakes and large orange juice that I always have after camping.  It was a good camp and, weather permitting, I will have one more in November. (Pictures have been added to the end of my 2014-2016 Camping in Iowa and Nebraska Google Photos album.)

After every sunset there will be a sunrise.

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