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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Concerned Yet Nozy

~Thursday, April 21, 2022~

Day 676

Well, it appears the guy with the sprinter van across from us, has either left for the day or left for good. No one’s sure since there isn’t a trace of anything left at the site except the tag which reads “checkout on 4-22”. Campground etiquette says you should leave something, a chair, a bbq, anything to show the space is officially occupied. So the mystery site remained empty for all but 5 minutes until a group with two RV’s trickled in. You could tell they wanted the site, but weren’t quite sure what to do. Needing something out of the car at that precise moment, I thought I’d make myself available for any questions. As I said “hello”, one of the husbands came over to ask what our “story” was. I told him we were leaving Wednesday but guess he misread our tag as the 22nd, not the 27th, prompting me to double check it. It does say the 27th. I guess a 7 can look like a 2, at least with my handwriting. Hmmm….maybe Jeff should be handling the campsite tags?? Anyway, I went on to tell him the type of vehicle the previous camper had and that there was a possibility he was just out for the day. But then there could be the slight chance that the guy did leave a day early and simply forgot to remove his tag. A hard call. So one of them stayed while another went up the road to see availability at the other campgrounds. Nothing. The waiting game ensued leaving one of their rigs in the group camping area and the other gingerly parked at the sprinter van site. I guess when 5:00 came around with no return by the van owner, the 2 families considered it theirs. After all, they should be rewarded for their patience.

When you’re at a location such as this, it’s nice to just “be” and enjoy the surroundings. We had plans for a swim/hike day with Sadie pups and a bike ride to Arches, only getting around to one…..the hike/swim. First, we drove into town for a few groceries and while there, had a nice chat with our daughter and grandkids before getting out of cell range. The timing was perfect. After that, a return trip to the Grandstaff Trail. It was our hottest day yet, in the upper 80’s and thought with the shade and the water this trail offers, it would be the perfect cool-off spot. Of the 2-¾ miles in, this time we only did about 1 mile to get to the perfect watering hole for Sadie and a nice place for Jeff to get in some Kindle time. I was the stick thrower.

The forecasted windy day seemed to finally calm down around 8:30; enough so to make a campfire. We noticed several others had the same idea. I’m sure it looked pretty cool from the evening tour boat’s perspective seeing the shoreline dotted with campfires below the canyon walls. And wouldn’t you know it, the one night we decide to have a fire, and right after Jeff got the whole thing going, the gusts picked up out of nowhere, again. So much for our dinner by the campfire, we thought. While Jeff finished dinner prep, I was just headed out to enjoy the fire with Sadie and a margarita in hand, when our camping chairs tipped into the fire.

As we both ran over to grab the chairs, my drink went flying as I tripped on the corner of the outdoor mat’s anchor. The chairs now have a scar of the occasion, one which I’m sure we’ll be talking about in years to come. Amidst the chaos, we were paid a lovely visit by our new neighbor from across the way. She said, “It’s probably not a good night for a fire. Did you know that Flagstaff is on fire?” I said, “We built the fire just before the wind picked up.” “Well maybe it would help if you put the logs below the top rim”, she continued. Jeff and I appreciated her concern, but when someone insults our common sense, that’s when I get annoyed. At that point, Jeff had gone in avoiding confrontation at which time I put an end to the conversation saying, “We got it!” Jeff and I have been camping long enough to know that you don’t build a fire on any high wind days. It was all poor timing. I simply stayed next to the fire with my bucket of water (even though the river is right there), and waited for the flames to die down. It’s amazing isn’t it, how one event can change the whole tide of an evening? Somehow, we let her reaction really get to us. There’s nothing worse than someone telling my hubby what to do so the whole thing actually put him in a bad mood the rest of the night. And wouldn’t you know it. The winds subsided just as we sat down for an outside dinner, under the stars with the peaceful entertainment of the canyon light show, minus a campfire 🤨.

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