Kay and I made it back from our camping trip safe and sound. Our weekend at Montana Creek was a total success.
Angie picked us up on Friday night, just a little after 7. After packing our belongings into the car like tightly fitting puzzle pieces, we were off to the campground. The weather in Eagle River was overcast and raining. The closer we neared to the campground, the bluer the skies got. It was promising to be a beautiful weekend.
Angie had the perfect camping set up. The tent was easy to put up, she had everything organized in type-specific storage containers, and the cooler was packed with the perfect camping food. I felt totally spoiled! Rachael got there just after we'd gotten the tent up, and after we helped her get her tent up she and her dog (Wally) joined us for a night of chatting around the fire and s'more making. After we finished the s'mores, we headed to bed. Angie had brought a sleeping pad, but Kay and I slept without one (something I'll never do again on the rocky ground of Alaska). According to others, the only thing louder than my snoring was the fighting that erupted a few campsites from ours at about 3 a.m. Ah, the joys of camping near inconsiderate jerks.
Saturday morning found us heading to the local VFW for a breakfast of biscuits and gravy, and pancakes before we headed to the bustling town of Talkeetna for the festival celebrations. The best part of the morning was the home made rhubarb and strawberry jelly. I was scraping the bottom of the dish to get the last drop.
There's really nothing like a small hometown parade. The floats are all unique and there's none of the flash and glamour one sees on parades that are televised. While I was watching the parade, I thought to myself, "The Macy's Day Parade has nothing on this parade." Without the two-story hot-air balloons, without the glitzy floats carrying Miss America, without the celebrity announcers telling us with float was up next, this parade managed to hold the fascination of locals and tourists alike as we watched it proceed down the center of Talkeetna. Containing such local elements as a cage of geese (complete with a for sale sign for interested parties), the local red-hat brigade, "floats" carrying the decorated 'moose on parade' moose, and the town's rescue squad (what would any hometown parade be without the local fire truck), the celebration wove that hometown feel that wrapped itself around every element of the day's festivities.
We walked around Village Park, perusing the vendors. They made certain to keep me away from the bookseller (don't want to feed my addiction), but I did buy two t-shirts. We caught the Joe Page Band and Melissa Mitchell & Homegrown in concert. Melissa Mitchell & Homegrown is a group that I first heard the weekend before at the Girdwood Forest Festival. I really like her music, the style reminds me of Ani Defranco a bit, but with more bluegrass elements. We skipped the Scottish Pipe Band, as there was one member we were avoiding, for Angie's sake (nuff said). We ate lunch at Mountain High Pizza, which is always a treat. I always end up eating too much at fairs, and this time was no exception. The pizza, soda, ice cream and cotton candy did me in, and by the time we got back to the campground I felt bloated and tired.
The last event we attended was our purpose for going to the Moose Dropping Festival: the moose droppings dropping. Earlier in the day, I'd purchased four $5 tickets, each cooresponding with a same-numbered dropping. For each ticket, I also got a "poo pin" with my number on it. Kaylee wouldn't wear her dropping pin, so I proudly wore all four. After we heard Melissa Mitchell & Homegrown perform, we made our way back to the VFW and joined the throng of people surrounding a very large circle that had been roped off where they would be doing the drop of the droppings. The tension and excitement were thick in the air. The VFW members brought out the droppings, contained in a black back, and hoisted them up into the air. As the countdown began, the anticipation mounted. At the count of one, a rope attached to the bottom of the bag was pulled, and the moose droppings rained from the sky into the circle below. A roar erupted from the crowd! Ok, so I'm embellishing a bit, but it was a lot of fun, and with dollar prizes from $100 - $1000, it was pretty exciting. Two very precise veterans measured the distance of the droppings from the center, with the closest 8 receiving prizes, and the furthest away getting a $250 prize. At the end, the kids in the crowd rushed in to pick up the remaining droppings from the ring. It was like a bad Easter Egg hunt, watching those kids rush in to grab droppings like they were gold filled eggs.
Back at the campground, we turned in early after a very long but fun-filled day. Kay and Angie got to sleep ahead of me, as I had a few chapters of the sixth Harry Potter novel to finish before turning in. Sunday morning, Angie introduced us to "boiled omelets." For those who have no clue, like I didn't, boiled omelets are made by placing eggs and omelet fixings into a ziplock bag, mixing them well, and then placing the bag in boiling water for 8 - 10 minutes. The omelet comes out of the bag looking and tasting like any omelet you'd make at home. They were delicious, and a great start to the morning before packing up and heading home. We opted not to attend Sunday's Mountain Mother contest at the festival, and decided to try and catch it the next time it's held at the Talkeetna Bachelor Auction in December.
I really enjoyed camping with the girls. We are planning another trip to Kennicott Mine the second weekend in August. We had such a blast this trip. Even with the totally full outhouse across from the campground, the too-wet-to-make-a-fire wood I purchased at the campground store, no showers at the campground, and jerkoff males who insisted on displaying their manhood loudly at 3 a.m., the trip was relaxing and made me appreciate just hanging with the girls even more!