Chickahominy Reservoir

Rained a bit during the night.  We all slept in clothes and toques, piling on wool blankets and more sleeping bags.  Was hard to will oneself out of cozy bed this morning.  But this is our new way of life.  At least until we get down to Arizona, I think.

All the kids want to head out today.  They would like to keep camp, but they understand that we won’t get to warmer weather unless we cover some miles.  The vote was 7 to 2 to move on.

We tried out our new camptstove making oatmeal and hot chocolate for breakfast.  Works just fine.

Mitch lit another fire for us to warm up with, and then Everette headed up into the hills for an hour long hike with all but Maret, Laars and I keeping watch over camp.  I took the opportunity to do some unpacking, rearranging, sweeping in the van while Maret scooped up tree sap into the bottom of a pop can to watch it melt in the fire & create some art.  Laars poked in the fire with a long stick and started sending smoke signals.  “Mom, can you read it?”  I said “Can I read the smoke?  No, I can’t read it.”  Laars says “It’s Spanish.”

We left camp at 1:30pm  Took us a long while to pack up the tents with the annex attached this time.  We’ll use a pup tent next time if we aren’t planning to stay more than a night.  We hope to get faster at both set up & take down.

The first 20 miles of driving is just to get us back onto the Hwy.  This is where we practise our new vocab for the little folks…….cattle guard.  Lots of practise as we cross about a dozen of them.

We’ve pulled over at Chickahominy Reservoir to camp for the night.  A short drive since we had a late start.  The kids aren’t thrilled and would like to drive onward, but it’s almost 3 and we think this will suffice for the night.  There are pit toilets, picnic tables, stone campfire pits, and we’ll get the morning sun at sunrise rather than being hidden by trees till later in the morning.  Executive decision.  We camp here for free.

They don’t want to stay

Our first look at the reservoir

Right away we discover a chipmunk amongst the rocks,

snake skin

and a snake skin tucked along side a rock wedged in with dry grass.  Its too cold now for the snakes, me thinks, much to the children’s delight (or disappointment….depends on who you ask).

Anders hides behind a rock wall

The space is open sky, hills not too far away, a peaceful lake/reservoir supposedly good for fishing trout.  We have neither a fishing license nor rods so we’ll have to pass.

Sunset on the Chickahominy Reservoir

The rocks here have tonnes of holes in them, as if volcanic.

As the guys set up the tents some of us girls raid the other vacant campsites of anything flammable, preferably firewood.  We find a jackpot, a whole round of somewhat punky wood we can burn.

Maret journaling

Dan journaling

We get the fire going, snuggle nearby in spite of the smoke.  We turn on some of our SolLights to enable some to write in their journals or create art while I read more in “Free the Children” a book I had started before we left.  A book by Craig Kielburger, a Canadian who “transforms from a normal, middle-class (12yo) kid from the suburbs to an activist fighting against child labour on the world stage of international human rights.”

We hear coyotes off in the distance, and Anders asks, “What do coyotees eat?”  I respond, “Not little boys.  They eat….” and Maret pipes in with a list of a coyote’s cuisine.  Toveli finds the yapping, weak short howls eery.

So easy out here away from the city to enjoy viewing the constellations.  The Big Dipper was so easy to spot, as was Casseopia and the Milky Way.  We hear the Canada Geese flying over head, and ducks in the reservoir.

We discover that there was Daylight Savings last night when our phone clocks are an hour off the van time, so when the children want to climb into the tents at 6:30 I realize that it’s the same time as bed at 7:30 last night, early but still do-able.

Even thought the kids hadn’t wanted to camp here, its turned out to be a nice spot.  Maybe not for long, but good for a night.  They seemed to have enjoyed the evening, poking at the fire (I always loved doing that) trying to stay warm.

Ice Crystals on the picnic table

Morning on the Reservoir

Laars keeps himself warm under a pile of pillows

Mitchell warming his hands with a rock from the fire while working on the tents

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