The trip started in an entirely too organized fashion with the whole convoy leaving the parking lot only eight minutes late. Ervan's party rule that the number of 'maybe's who come equals the number of 'definite's who cancel was scrupulously observed with two of each including a last minute cosmic intervention to bring Lisa along. We made it all the way to the park with only one McDonalds break which happened by utter coincidence to have been at the very same one where we stopped on a road trip one year ago.
Our first stop in the park was at the scenic falls where Thomas & Lisa got lost in the middle of large flat rock.
When the company loaded up and packed out the full range of camping knowledge was in evidence from Reinhard with a trailer size pack exquisitly packed (and the usual offers of being willing to carry everyone else's tent too) to Thomas with a rope over his shoulder tied to a tent usually bouncing on his thighs.
As much as cold weather had been promised we were cheated with a sunny, moderate temperature day that made hiking all too bearable.
After setting up the tents, we hiked around the five mile loop, gauking at such sites as the historical-house cum pile of rocks and Irish sytle rock fences, all to be sure we were good and thirsty. The most probing question of the hike was: what animal shits red berries?
Upon return, Reinhard proved himself the hero of the day for having packed in a cooler with 9 beers (in glass!) on the sly. After such a coup he didn't have the common sense to even charge for them....
Having slaked our thirst we headed down, down, down to the river over the bluff for a nice cold swim in the rapid current (John, Reinhard, Thomas, Cormac, & Valerie anyway). Seeing flood flotsom 30 feet up in the trees gave everyone a keen appreciation for why camping below the bluffs was prohibited.
The serious drinking began as we grilled steaks on a surreptitious charcoal fire nestled between several large rocks. Cormac fell asleep at about 6:30 only to be awaked by the smell of whiskey. Thomas proved himself to be the bad taste mauven of the group with a long string of jokes producing mostly groans. The best observation of the evening was, however, his: 'Well, lamb skin condoms are the best, so why not just cut out the middle man?' Cormac had no comment.
The rain finally convenienced us and began just as we finished eating. We retired to Thomas's tent for more bad jokes, an attempt at singing, and probably many other foolish things which are now by and large lost to our collective memory. Hildegard was our cheerleader for singing, probably because she was only one still speaking in complete sentences. At some point, John, Cormac, Ervan, & Karim were outside smoking cigarettes in the rain, possibly after all four fifths of whiskey, a bottle of wine, and the beer were all gone. John and Cormac were direct casualties as they were found hanging in cedar trees calling Ralph, Ervan merely wandered off into the pitch black night without a flashlight not knowing where his tent was.
Ervan and Cormac awoke in a puddle of water since Ervan's tent was leaking badly. This didn't prevent Cormac from cooking beans for breakfast on the camp stove in the tent (there being no risk of burning it). The tent, having leaked badly, being tied up with strings (no poles), and not having a working zipper, became jetsom at the nearest trash can. Cormac's camera also suffered damage for which there was general agreement that it was a good thing since it had taken flash pictures of questionable behavior in Thomas's tent.
The rain continued through the morning making, at last, for some enjoyable weather as we went slogging through the mud back to our cars. Saniya and Ervan attacked the problem with high quality boots whereas Reinhard wore shorts and sandals. [Ervan]