Monday, August 20, 2012

Between A Dock And A Dark Place

Once upon a time, Nicole and I drove out to Flaming Gorge to meet up with Papa Booth for a mid-week one-day camping/boating extravaganza. The game plan was to leave Salt Lake right after I got home from work, and get there long before it was totally dark. We would meet up with my dad at the dock at 8 p.m., and then boat to the water-access-only camp ground. Perfect plan, right?

Sheep Creek Bay

Well....We didn't leave Salt lake until about 5:45.... and between the already-long drive and my idiocy which created a 45-minute detour, we didn't get there until about 9:30 p.m. We were watching the sun set and panic-driving for the last 30 minutes, hoping my Dad wouldn't be mad that we made him wait at the dock for 30 billion hours.

So we finally roll up... and we see Papa Booth just sitting indian-style on the dock, wearing a headlamp. Like a boss. I don't know why I thought he would be mad. I can't imagine any place he'd rather be than in the wilderness all alone with his boat. Honestly.

By the time we got my car all parked, used the nasty wilderness bathroom, and arranged the "do it yourself" parking permit situation, it was 9:45. For anyone who isn't familiar with the sun and/or nature ... this caused a problem. It was DARK.

We got in the boat and set off for camp. After about 10 seconds, my dad goes, "MAN! I can't see a THING!!"

There was one dinky little torch-like wimptacular boat light on the back of the boat, which did us a grand total of ZERO good in the present situation. My Dad was wearing a tiny LED headlamp, but all he or we could see ahead of us was our inevitable doom. Nicole was already having a small panic attack. Right as we passed the invisible buoys, I suggested that we go back.

"I don't think we really can at this point" was Papa Booth's response. Which, if I may say, was false. We could still see the dock. We could have slept in my car. BUT. All our beautiful camp stuff was all set up on the other side of the lake, so although in theory we could have turned back, my father would rather have died a watery death than leave our camp unattended overnight. We had said a prayer for safety before we left the dock, so... everything would be cool right?

Nicole was not convinced. I also had my doubts, but there comes a point when boating on a black lake into the infernal darkness that you just decide to stand up and use your Dad's headlamp as the wimpiest headlight that ever was.

Dad drove, Nicole sat in a ball on the floor, willing her iPhone to guide us by GPS, and I stood like a terrified human lighthouse, feverishly shining the headlamp from right to left in hopes of avoiding a collision with either shore. We could just, and I mean JUST make out the shore on either side of us. It looked like this, and I am not exaggerating:

Except, it was darker.

We only had to cut the engine once. We very nearly ran into a rock wall. Nicole saw it on the GPS and yelled for Papa Booth to stop, but he was "already slowing down, because he saw it."

I'm not going to say he didn't see it, but I WILL say we would have died without the GPS. Interpret that how you may.

After about 15 or 20 minutes of sheer terror, we made it around the last bend toward camp. YA THERE WERE BENDS, DON'T EVEN WORRY ABOUT IT.

It then took about 10 minutes to park the boat at the dock, because according to my Dad, there was a giant rock under the water that we were trying to avoid. At this point Nicole and I were breathing again, so, rock shmock. We did NOT care. Once the boat was safe and sound, all tied up and fastened with the appropriate bumpers/life jacket as padding against the dock, we had the privilege of scaling a very dusty and very steep "path" to the main camp trails. And when I say dusty, I mean the dirt was the consistency of flour. NBD. I love cheating death twice in one night. Once we finally made it to the camp site though, it was glorious. Dad have everything organized in a very perfect Papa Booth fashion. The tents were up, cooking stuff all set out and organized, fishing poles all lined up in a row, etc.

We built a fire, ate some s'mores, tried to kill a mammoth spider with a hatchet, said swear words, told bear stories, and called it a night. Sorry Mom. I don't know if Dad told you this story yet, but well, now you know. K bye!

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