Because it had been three entire weeks since I had last been to Roundrock, I felt entitled to spend two days there, and so I did.
Libby and I rose early on Saturday, and despite the familiar routine of packing the truck with what we normally need, we were about a half hour behind our schedule. This was mostly due to organizing the additional gear we had to pack for an overnight, and the immediate benefit was that our favorite bagelry was open by the time we drove by, so bagels it was as we hurtled down the highway.
The weather forecast called for morning rain, so we thought that we might poke around a bit before setting up camp so the tent wouldn’t start the weekend wet. I was in favor of creating a new campsite. One of the odd little openings in the forest at our western quarter is only about thirty feet from the road, so we wouldn’t have to carry all of our gear far. The ground here is level and not very rocky, and I thought it would make a picturesque camp site. But before we settled on this. Libby wanted to explore some of the areas at the top of the south-facing slope so that we might be deeper into Roundrock for the night.
We headed over there and hiked about a bit, giving special attention to the area where I once fancied I had found a fire ring. There really weren’t any areas here that had the right combination of relative openess, little or no slope, and ground that wasn’t too rocky for sinking tent stakes. (Or for sleeping on.)
So I just about had Libby convinced to set up camp in the odd little opening by the road. We strolled about the flat area, choosing where we could place the tent so it would get morning sun to warm and dry it. Where we could build a new fire ring. Where the table would go. We were just about set, but I hadn’t counted on the bachelor party.
I thought there might be a good chance that our neighbor to the west, Good Neighbor Brian, and his wife might be out for the weekend, and I know they like to visit our “lake” on their four-wheel drive beasties, so as we were driving away from the pine plantation on our road, I wasn’t too surprised to hear and then see a four-wheel drive beastie coming at me up the road through the trees. But then there was another. And another. And another. And none of these bore Brian or his wife. So we were facing interlopers in broad daylight. (It happened that the day before, our future daughter-in-law, who is working an internship with the Missouri Department of Conservation, told us that bow season for deer had opened two weeks early. We were in our woods during bow hunting season, and while I didn’t think there was much to fear from that, I was half prepared to find some bow hunter in our woods. I figured that if this did happen, our presence and noisy activities would scare away the game and the hunter would leave in disgust.)
Of course, I’m not a confrontational person (especially when there are four of them — tattooed, by the way — and only two of us, even if my engine is bigger than theirs), so I pulled over to the side of our road to let them pass (further into our property, that is). Fortunately, the lead interloper pulled up beside us with a big grin on his face. He identified himself as the future son-in-law of a man who has a lake and cabin down in the valley we pass through on our way to Roundrock. (Having a wonderful son-in-law of my own, I figured this might be a good start.) He said the four of them were having a bachelor party weekend at the cabin, and he was just out showing his friends around the territory.
On the stupid, grinning face of it, this seemed harmless enuf. At the very least they would put a bit more wear on our road and keep down the infiltrating grass. I figured these big boys knew they were trespassing and that they had been caught in the act by the landower. They’d identified themselves, so if there were trouble, they could be fingered, and they knew it. Plus I considered that they likely had plans of their own for the evening that wouldn’t require the use of my woods. So I grinned back and told them that all they would see if they kept on the road was a dam over a dry lake. The implication was that they were welcome to visit, and I hoped they wouldn’t linger.
And so they roared on. This meant, of course, that the campsite so close to the road was now out of the question, and this left us with a quest for yet another new campsite. This part of the story takes us back more than five years.
But I’ll leave that part of the story for tomorrow’s post.
- Acorns begin to fall.
- Squirrels bury acrons and nuts for winter.