And now, for the much-anticipated, anticlimactic ending to On the Verge of Camping: Part One, I present to you, lone reader, On the Verge of Camping: Part Two (We Came, We Camped, We Conquered).
We figured that nothing would be more patriotic for the Fourth of July than spending time in the great outdoors, so in lieu of planning on the usual fireworks and watermelon, we reserved a cabin for the night in a state park a bit north of San Francisco.
The cabin, in Samuel P. Taylor State Park near Point Reyes National Seashore, was a lot nicer than I expected. It even had electricity, which I was not expecting and which made me feel kind of like I was cheating on the whole camping thing. It didn’t have it’s own bathroom inside though, so... not cheating?
We slept there this time. I promise. Actually, I mostly dozed off and on throughout the night while shifting around on the loudest plastic mattress that ever was and intermittently shining my flashlight out the window to catch any wildlife that might be trying to gnaw through the window glass to come inside and eat my children or use my toothbrush.
On the way home the next day, we pulled over to admire some harbor seals that we noticed in the water. I was surprised at how active those beasts were. I couldn’t tell just by looking at them with the nude eye, but when I looked through the zoom lense on my camera, it was like they were all doing a group dance a la West Side Story or Bring it On. Who would have thought that blubber could move like that?
We stopped at Muir Woods on the way home. It was ridiculously crowded and Matt very kindly offered to drop the girls and me off at the entrance so he could go park the car way back where we had seen available parking spots on the road leading in.
Unfortunately, after five years of marriage, it seems that Matt and I have yet to perfect our nonverbal communication skills. Just as I was shutting the trunk so that he could go park the car miles and miles away, a spot opened up right in front of me. I tried to get his attention, but he mistook my wild arm flapping and urgent facial expression, which I'm pretty sure are the universal sign for, “Sweetheart, please back up the car and park right here in this spot next to me that’s about to be available,” to instead mean, “Drive quickly away from us and look for parking elsewhere.”
Now that we're letting it all out, I'll go ahead and tell you that I guess we could also stand to work on our verbal communication skills. You see, upon parting at the parking lot, we agreed that we would meet up “at the forest,” which I took as an understanding that the girls and I would pretty much stay put. Matt assumed it meant that we’d be meeting at the main entrance to the forest (the one with the big sign and the entry fee collection). Tomayto - Tomahto, am I right?
Well, the girls and I waited; and we waited; and we talked about poison oak; and we went to the bathroom; and we observed a tourist who found no use for the stall door, or the toilet seat, or toilet paper, or soap and water (I guess I wouldn't either if during the whole bathroom operation I touched literally nothing else besides the waistband on my own pants); and we waited; and we identified poison oak; and we talked about the lady in the bathroom; and we asked strangers if they had cell reception (no one did); and we waited.
Our patience was wearing a little thin, but we were hanging in there when, about 45 minutes into our separation, I observed Matt up on a path a bit above the one where we had taken up residence. I was so very relieved to see him walking towards us, so I waved excitedly. He continued walking (briskly! jogging, even!) towards us, and then he arrived to a spot on his path that was about parallel to where we were on our path.
"Why is he not turning in to cross onto our path?," I wondered. My wave became less excited and more frantic, and I called out his name. But! Then! Was that a hand wave? And a grunt of recognition? Yes, I thought so. If not a wave, then certainly a finger wiggle. And definitely a noise of some sort.
Communication snafu number three. You see, I assumed that the finger wiggle/grunt combo meant, “Hello there. I see you all. I'm so glad we're reunited. I'll be right there" So, when he continued the walk-jog away from us, I was quite certain that he was just going to go ahead a little bit to see if his path connected to our path and then loop around to meet us. About thirty minutes later, I began to wonder if I had misinterpreted the wiggle/grunt. Or if I had hallucinated my husband. Did I even have a husband? Where did these children come from?
Turns out, he hadn’t heard me at all. Or seen us. Or finger wiggled. Or grunted. (In retrospect and knowing Matt, the not grunting part makes a lot of sense.)
Anyways, we finally reunited and all was well. We had a hearty chuckle at our merry mix-up (in the words of Tobias Fünke) and then headed into Muir Woods. I was relieved to learn that the scraggly path that the girls and I had been waiting on for the last 90 minutes was not, as I thought, Muir Woods proper but the trail leading from some of the parking spots to the entrance.
Once we made it in, we found that the actual woods were stunning: filled with big, beautiful trees and enchanting light everywhere. I’d love to go back, perhaps on a weekday when it’s not so crowded. Definitely with walkie talkies.