I write this as I recline in the woods under the shade of a cedar tree on the shores of Lake Lawtonka. The waves are softly lapping the small stones at the foot of Oklahoma’s tallest point, Mount Scott at 2,465.3 feet. The blue water sparkles in the fall sun as the breeze keeps it from being too hot. Mount Scott is dotted with trees all the way up the east side, which our camp site faces. About half way up are two separate rock sheers. Rock climbers enjoy their adventures repelling from the hooks attached at the top of the precipice. I can’t see them from my spot - people walking along the lake last night told us about it. I can occasionally see tiny glints reflecting the sun on the far away slope. The glints look like tiny shiny bugs crawling angularly up the flat-topped mountain. The Hubby finally figures out the glints are cars climbing their way to the look-out at the top of the crag. I want to go up there too.
My stillness is broken by two girls’ screams as carry across the water while they paddle precariously back to the shore in two kayaks. People don’t seem to realize how far their voices travel across the water. I abhor the break in the peaceful nature as they yell to their friends on the shore. They finally arrive on shore below my shaded hide out to discuss their boating adventure across the lake and complain how much their arms hurt before jumping in the cold lake water to swim. At least the laugh of one of the guys is pleasant to listen too. Deep and heartfelt. It comes easily out of his chest like he doesn’t have worldly cares. I try to get a glimpse of the face to whom this laugh belongs too but fail, only seeing the back of his head. I recognize his laugh from the evening before when the boys went down the hill to the beach to talk to this group when they came in from boating at dusk.
I told The Hubby I wanted to go somewhere and do something for Fall Break. We didn’t for Labor Day because the boys were just too worn out from the adjustment of school. The Hubby had been talking about going camping all year, saying as soon as it cools off this fall we would go. Well, I kept waiting and he kept buying more and more stuff with his 20% discount at Academy. Finally, I told him two weeks ago, I wanted to go to the Wichita Mountains in Lawton, OK. I asked him to check it out and reserve a camp site for us. As of Tuesday, The Hubby had NOT reserved us a site despite my repeated request to just make a decision and book one. And, major surprise, there were not cabins or campsites left to reserve.
On Wednesday, he called the City of Lawton to see if the sites labeled First Come, First Served would be available this weekend. They replied, if you get their early on Friday, you can probably get one. I made the executive decision that we would go and try to get one of those sites by the lake.
After packing my SUV to its max capacity, only leaving space for the four of us to sit and my Mom’s dog to lay at Asa’s feet, we left town. (We are dog sitting while Mom is visiting her BFF in TX for a rose festival. Have I mentioned I’m not a big dog fan – I need to write about that. I finally discovered the why behind my strong dislike for dogs.) One trip to the pharmacy for my meds, stop by Duncan Donuts and to grab a couple camping necessities at Academy, we were headed towards the camp site. I was prepared for the drive with my back brace, cushions and yoga block for my feet. I tried to keep my body as aligned as possible with all the supplies tucked in around me in the front seat.
There were many “when will we be there” and “I can’t get my game to work” as we drove. The Hubby and I franticly searched through the house on Thursday and Friday morning trying to locate the cables to the portable DVD players we purchased for our trip to the beach. How I wished we had found them, but we have no idea where we stashed them after that trip. The boys aren’t good with iPads because they never use them at home. After trying to play games for about 30 minutes, I finally gave up resetting the iPads and hotspotted my phone so Asa could watch Paw Patrol on YouTube and Cort could watch The Chosen. (I love that he loves The Chosen! Such a great show if you haven’t seen it yet!!)
Thankfully, we did find a great selection of camp sites when we arrived at Lake Lawtonka. We found a sheltered site that backed up to a berm on two sides. The lake was on the other side of the west berm which sheltered us from the cold wind off the lake. The Hubby and I popped up our new tent with surprising speed. I was so glad it was easy to set up. Our first time camping last year with my brother’s borrowed tent proved to be very frustrating in the tent set up department and I was expecting much of the same.
We got camp set up quickly for as long as it took us to gather and pack all we need for the two night stay. I set the air mattresses up and got the beds all made up. Then, we took Mom’s dog on a long walk on the beach exploring this new home of ours for the weekend. The walk was so calming to me. I love being by water. The waves are soothing to my mind. I think it is close to one of my favorite sounds, just after a cat purring, rain falling and my boys laughing.
After our walk, we decided to drive up to the top of Mount Scott before setting up the fire and making dinner. It was about a 20 minute drive from the camp site. The Hubby got a little nervous as he drove us up the narrow road to the top of the peak. The mountain view wasn’t majestic like the Smokey’s or the Rockies. This ‘mount’ was really just a hill. It was a pretty view and the boys hopped around like little mountain goats. I enjoyed the beautiful lake and change in scenery from where we live. The Hubby and I both feared Asa would fall off a boulder and break his arm. We figured we’d better leave while everyone was still in one piece.
I packed food to make Hobo packs for dinner but I forgot the shrimp… and the eggs for breakfast. The Hubby dutifully climbed back in the car to find a grocery store. He was back an hour later and not in a great mood for all his troubles. I was thankful because I was really looking forward to shrimp for dinner. I also had just pulled the tin foil wrapped packs off the coals to discover I had left them on too long burning most of the sausage that was in them. The corn was still edible, but I had to wash more mini Gold potatoes to add to the shrimp The Hubby was cooking. This time we used a pan over the fire that we could stir and keep a better eye on. Oh well, I hadn’t made Hobo packs or cooked over a campfire since 2005 so I was out of practice. Dinner was good! Covered with butter, garlic and sprinkled with salt, the corn had a smokey roasted and taste the shrimp were delightful.
We made s’mores after dinner while the boys played with the children from the camp site over the other berm. After I cut them off from the chocolate and marshmallows, the boys complained of being tired just so they could get in the tent and play around. I knew they weren’t tired. They just wanted to bounce on the air mattresses. I finally gave in.
“If you get in the tent,” I told them firmly, “you are taking your shoes off and you are not coming back out. This is it for the night.”
They hardily agreed and I put warm pjs on before tucking them in their beds. They stayed there for as long as it took me to get my shoes on outside the tent. They goofed off in there, hollering and laughing for about 25 minutes before sleep finally consumed them. I was so glad to have them asleep. Asa had been quite the handful - running near the fire or poking sticks in as I tried to stop him, afraid we would end up in the ER after he’d stumbled and burning himself badly. The Hubby and I chatted around the camp fire enjoying the now quiet campsite until we too climbed in to bed.
It got COLD in the night. Down to 43 degrees. Cort got up off and on after 1 AM calling “Mama” each time he awoke. I pulled myself out of my warm covers to reassure him all was ok and we would be home in a few days to sleep with his cat, George. Mom’s dog had decided to abandon her blanket and was curled in bed with him. Before covering myself up again, I made sure Asa was covered as he was the farthest from the propane heater. It was a good thing we packed the heater. We ran out of propane just was we finished dressing.
I hadn’t heeded The Hubby’s admonishments about how cold it was going to be and only packed shorts. I need another pair of pants and we needed more pr for the heater, so another trip to Academy was planned after our excursion to the bathhouse for showers.
The showers had no curtains on them and a lady was in one of them. Cort didn’t want to get naked in front of her and wore his undies in to the shower. I wouldn’t turn the water on until he took them off. Asa screamed he had to poop so I grabbed a towel and ran, naked, out in the cold for the potty seat only to find The Hubby had locked the car, AGAIN. I had already told him at least 25 times to stop locking the car while we were camping. Now I was mad, naked and cold bagging on the men’s side of the bathhouse demanding the keys. I gave him 100 lashes with a look as he handed me the keys knowing he’d messed up by locking the car.
Asa didn’t have to poop. But he did start crying for ‘Dad’. And wouldn’t stop. I ushered his naked, crying, little bootie in to the open shower while still trying to get Cort to take his underwear off. Thank God the water was hot! I stood in the cold while I washed those dirty, smokey boys. Asa was still hollering for ‘Dad’ and I kept apologizing to the naked lady next to us.
I finally heard The Hubby outside the lady’s room and wrapped Asa in a towel and sent his wet self out in the cold – but to his ‘Dad’. Finally, I could get under the hot down pour and wash the smoke out of my hair. The water felt so nice, but I didn’t have time to enjoy it.
Cort had a failed attempt to poop as well before I was dressed and ready to leave the bathhouse. We headed in to Lawton to Academy and would fail at attempts to poop there as well, but found success in finding more propane bottles for the heater and a pair of pants for me.
Finally, back to our ‘planned’ adventures of the day. We headed to Medicine Park to explore the old ‘it’ town of the 1920s.