Mortimer Campground at Wilson Creek
Caldwell County, NC
Friday, May 13th thru Sunday, May 15th, 2011
Photos are posted here:
Since the SSPBDT (Spartanburg Steel Products Beer Drinking Team) was established, we have organized an annual Mancation Camping Weekend each October. The Fall Mancation is strictly a men only event. Except for a few broken bones, the Mancation has always been a huge success.
Several years ago a few of our wives decided that they wanted to join in on the camping fun. So we started the Spring SOCT Event (Significant Other Camping Trip). This is where our wives, significant others, and children are allowed to come along.
This year would be the third SSPBDTSOCT
Scott M holding up the Official Super Accurate Mortimer Campground Map
The Moore's (Scott, Malinda, and Christopher) were the first to arrive and successfully commandeered our favorite group gathering site at the far back end of the Mortimer Campground. Amy and I arrived next and snagged a few other neighboring sites.
Shortly after Amy and I set up our tent, the Martin's (Jeff, Lorie, and 1-year old Austin) arrived.
Lorie and Austin
Also arriving was the sounds of thunder and some ominous looking clouds.
Throughout the long history of SSPBDT camping trips there has never been a weekend without rain. Fortunately we have "The Giant Tarp". The giant tarp erection is an amazing feat of engineering marvel. The original plan was to wait until our leader Steve-O showed up before starting the erection process. But, with certain rain heading our way Scott M., Jeff, and I decided to mount the giant erection on our own.
Trying to Get It Up!
The three of us managed to get it up without any broken bones or other mishaps. Steve-O arrived with his two rug rats shortly after the tarp was erect and was very impressed with our ability to get it up without him.
Eventually the Rosenberger's (Scott, Karen, and Carley) arrived to make the total size of our group at fourteen. The rain eventually did arrive and stuck around throughout the evening. We were very grateful for the tarp as we gathered underneath and around the campfire sharing food, stories, and plenty of FABs late into the night!
Steve-O sounding the SSPBDT Trumpet
Alcohol Abuse! Scott M. spilling several ounces of FAB goodness!
The rain had stopped by morning but all my clothing from the previous evening was soaked! I went to change into some fresh clothes, but I could not find any socks in the bag that Amy packed for me. Eventually Amy emerged from the tent and confirmed that she forgot to pack any spare socks for me!
The closest bit of civilization is Morganton, NC about 45 minutes away. I wasn't about to make the hour and a half round trip drive, so instead Amy and I decided to try "Walker's Country Store" about 5 miles down the road from the campground.
Amy at Walker's Country Store
This is no Wal-Marts, but for $2.75 we managed to pick up a package of (3) socks. They were probably the cheapest socks ever manufactured, but socks is like sex. Bad socks is better than no socks!
Also at Walker's Country Store I got myself a cup of coffee, a few bags of ice, and a weather forecast of more rain later in the day!
I had originally planned to go hiking, but really didn't feel like being out on the trail when the rain arrived. However, for the moment things were clear and the previous evening's rain had raised the level of Wilson Creek high enough to Kayak, which made Scott R. very happy.
Carley and Christopher at Wilson Creek
Out of all the trips I've made to the area, I have always gone hiking and never taken the time to check out the Kayakers. So Amy and I decided to join some of the others to watch Scott R. and a few of his buddies Kayak down Wilson Creek.
Scott R. Kayaking down Wilson Creek
Amy and I also took a few short strolls around the area to check out some of the Mortimer Ruins and also Thropes Creek Falls.
Amy by some of the Mortimer Ruins
Jack and Amy at Thorpes Creek Falls
Eventually the rain came and the group gathered under the tarp for most of the evening. There was a small break after a fairly heavy stretch of rain where I went to check on the tent.
I have never owned a 100% leak free tent and this one is no exception. One thing I attempted this time to hopefully help the situation was to put up a canopy over the tent.
Our Canopy / Tent Set-up
Unfortunately any bit of wind creates a pocket in the canopy cover where the rainwater gathers up. I discovered about 150 gallons of water pooled on the canopy cover. The entire set-up appeared very close to collapsing and crushing our tent.
While attempting to relieve the pressure and shed the water without dumping the water all over the side of the tent, I managed to dump all the water on top of myself!
I was able to prevent disaster to our tent, but my clothing was soaked. While trying to change clothes I accidentally dropped my pair of dry socks into a giant puddle. I hadn't even started drinking yet, but I took all this as a sign that it was time to get started!
Between all of us, we managed to bring plenty of firewood and Steve-O was determined to use it all up. He built an enormous fire which was great except for the fact that it wasn't cold outside and in order to get a comfortable distance away from the fire you had to go beyond the protection of the tarp out into the rain. The only solution to this dilemma was to have a few more FABs.
Around the Campfire
Again the party went on late into the night and I am not going to mention some of the crazy antics that occurred!
It rained most of the night, but fortunately our tent and canopy held up and by morning things had cleared up. Of course there was no avoiding the mess of packing up wet camping gear! I wonder what it is like to pack up dry camping gear?
As always, despite the rain, we had a great time. Even though Amy does not enjoy camping like I do, she was a good sport. Time will tell if I will be able to convince her to join me again at next years SSPBDTSOCE.
The complete set of photos from our camping weekend is located here: