Two weeks ago R and I had our first weekend on our new land. We hadn’t even been camping at all so far this year, and for weeks we were so excited to camp out on Sugar Mountain! Our first official nights on our land. OUR land. How cool is that?! We made some plans for our 4 days out there, some little initial things to get accomplished, threw some big stuff in the car we wanted to stash out there, grabbed Loki, left beer and cash for our wonderful amazing reliable petsitter, and off we went. We had made arrangements to pick up a non-working chest freezer from someone in town (for use as a small root cellar), and were feeling overall very productive and optimistic.
When we arrived we discovered we had neighbors in the lot across the street from us, and while the lady neighbor was walking her dogs R went to introduce himself. They’re seasonal neighbors from Mississippi, and had recently bought their lot as well, which came with a cabin already. We spent some time with them, talking driveways, solar panels, and water cisterns over beers, between us setting up camp and getting to know the land a little better. I had been fighting a cold for about a week at this point, so wanted to at least get a little R&R in over the weekend. But we started flagging out an area to put a driveway and level spot (for a cabin), and so we started a little brush-clearing.
Digging up sagebrush: not bad. Digging up scrub oak: kind of sucks. It had been raining quite a lot in the area so at least the ground was soft, but thick. The topsoil is really nice, but quickly turns to clay. The weather was on and off rainy/sunny/warm/cold, so getting a lot accomplished was a challenge. Occasionally we would have to retreat to the tent and wait out the storm. The second night we were there we got food poisoning (that story is for the next post), and we spent most of that next day recovering (and cursing onions). We had made plans to get a storage space in town, pick up the freezer, and look at a bunch of free fencing material, but none of that happened.
Instead, we laid up in our tent while it poured rain all evening, night, and morning, and had to wait several hours into the next day to pack up our camp, due to everything being sopping wet. Packing up a wet campsite just sucks. We wanted to leave to head back to Utah earlier in the morning, but then the car was stuck in the mud, everything we had was heavy and wet, the dog was muddy, and we were fighting with tarps and trash bags trying to stash some things out there on the land until the next time we could make it out. The usual 6 hour drive home took 9 hours when we got stopped several times for road construction, and none of us were very happy by the time we finally got home.
We knew this wasn’t going to be all unicorns and rainbows, and unfortunately it ended up feeling like a waste of weekend, but it really wasn’t. While we only got to tick one thing off of our to-do list (got our first raised garden bed brewing), we did also manage to get some numbers for some local people that do things like punch in driveways and build cabins. We learned more about our land (like that we have a tiny seasonal stream when it rains!), met the neighbors, and despite the freezing nights and pouring rain, we did finally get to camp for the first time this season.
Things can always be worse.