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Pryor Mountain Camp

August 17, 2017
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This is what I look like with a toothache.

August 17, 2017

Camping in Pryor Mtns on federal land is legal everywhere except the Big Ice Cave picnic area.  I had phoned the District Ranger who said there were no fire restrictions.  Actually, I spoke to a nice young lady who advised us to have a good time.

Those who particularly love the Pryors ask us regular people not to drive around looking for a campsite.  P. and I had driven up a couple times in the last couple weeks to scout things out.  We found a much used (and loved) primitive site in a couple acre stand of lodgepole pine some distance from the main road, yet near enough to walk to the road to play stickball with lodgepole pinecones pitched to Todd and Sus’ preteen boys.  If they hit the cone to a distant place a fielder could take a cone from her pocket and throw the runner out.  The boys did all the batting, Todd did the pitching, Sus and I did the fielding.  Our Brussels Griffon, Gunther, did the chasing.  He had an excellent time, judging from his body language.  P. preferred to cheer us on.  Until I got tired and joined her.

We spent a chilly night, the six of us, crammed into a Kelty® four-person tent.  I had a toothache and nobody brought any medicine, except the wine, which I drank copiously.  There were seven of us in the tent, counting Gunther.  Most said they slept poorly, but after Cyrus read to us, everyone was quiet.

It was dark.  The slight breeze was cold, me trying to pee in the wee hours against a tree.

Todd gave up his place in the tent early, asleep about 10 feet away.  He was the last to sleep and the last to rise.

We ate hotdogs and hamburgers for supper and farina for breakfast.  Then we packed up for a day of hiking.  Cyrus and Roland wanted to scale Big Pryor Mountain, a trail up a couple thousand feet of more than a dozen switchbacks.  P. and I lagged behind and, losing courage, started back down perhaps 500 feet from the top.  (P. felt nauseated, I had that toothache, the excuse I used.)  The real reason: I was tired.  Gunther, ever the optimistic one, scampered to the top with the youthful Struckman-Gaunt contingent.  They investigated Crater Ice Cave at the top and the boys managed to climb out of the cave through the crater.  Crater I.C. has two entrances, one to the side.  Sus took photos.

Back down, Gunther crawled under a car for shade after drinking water and eating a carrot, a favorite snack.

We checked the fireplace where we camped to make sure the fire was completely out.  It was.  Then we returned the way we came, on Sage Creek Road.

In Bridger we stopped at the Arcade Bar, Grill, and Ice Cream Parlor for cones.  Cyrus had a root beer float.  Gunther had a drink of water.

The boys wanted to play at the park when we returned home.  I was too tired to unpack the car.  I was five minutes late calling the dentist’s office that closed at five.  P. still felt ill.  Heather and Olivia Struckman arrived in the night.  They simply let themselves in and went to bed.  This morning Cyrus made Finnish pancakes.

Today my toothache was much less and P. felt well enough for a trip to the fair with the irrepressible youth.  Last time I looked all the camp gear was in the garage.

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