We decided to go anyway. The weather report predicted a 90% chance of rain, and in Oregon we learn to take that seriously. But we had made our reservations weeks ago, managing to get the very last tenting site available in Silver Falls State Park.
Piggy-backing on the end of a family reunion, the dates were not negotiable. And what’s a little rain to Oregonians?
Our son-in-law helped by loaning us their larger, more water-proof tent. And our brother-in-law kicked in my setting up his canopy over the tent. We pitched the tent on the highest ground at the site and hoped we’d be able to stay dry.
We enjoyed the first night, the sounds especially. It wasn’t just like being in a forest in the rain. We were in the middle of the trees, with the music of real rain all around us.
Our careful preparations worked. No outside water creeped into the tent. We stayed dry.
The next day showed us once again that you can’t always rely on weather reports. A window of clear skies prompted us to hike one of the waterfall loops. We walked for about six miles alongside a flowing Silver Creek, making our way from one waterfall to another. It was glorious, a sensual feast. On the last leg of our hike, the rain returned and we let ourselves enjoy it, all part of the adventure.
After supper, which we cooked and ate under our tarp, a make-shift kitchen, we entered the tent to prepare for sleep. It was then that I discovered that the water bottle I had left upright had tipped over and soaked the inside of my sleeping bag.
By then it was cold, rainy and dark. We needed to wait for morning to pack up, a day early, and head home. So we improvised once again and made it through the night.
Looking back, I’m grateful for the beauty, the adventure, and all the creative improvisations we came up with. We’ll so it again, probably consulting the weather reports.
But it’s ironic that after all our carefulness to make sure water didn’t get us from outside the tent, it finally defeated us from the inside, sending us home a day early. Through my carelessness. From my water bottle.
Surely this is a metaphor for some great life lesson.
But I think I’ll let it go. My good memories are more than enough for now.