more Wednesday, Aug 22
We went into Estes Park to get something at the grocery store. Oh yes, that's right, I went to see if I could find a regular knee brace. We went into Walgreens and bought some more local beer and a bottle of ibuprofen. Then back to the campsite where we bought some wood for a campfire, and I think some ice cream cones and ice, and went back for a proper camp.
A woman who had camped in site 154 behind us the night before had moved to 160, just a little to the north. I remembered my solo RMNP trip of 2005, and how after a couple of nights alone I wouldn't have minded (at all!) a little campfire comradorie -- or a reason at all to have a fire and stay up past dark, and I was considering inviting her over when I saw her wandering our way with her own beer. Mark had beaten me to it. Good!
Her name was Rita, and she was an artist participating in a contest in Estes Park that week called "Paint the Parks". (Turns out she has a website with a gallery. I really love her aspens!) A pleasant, down-to-earth, happily independent woman, she was good company. Mark cooked up some of his salami and a spicy dirty rice dish with pepperoini -- which we shared. We talked about everything and nothing at all, my favorite kind of conversation, joking, telling short snippets of life stories, and keeping the fire going -- well into the night.
It had rained a bit off and on that evening, almost threatening to drive us into the tents a couple of times, but it would quickly slack off, and after an hour or so seemed to be gone for good.
I roasted a few marshmallows, which nobody else seemed to be particularly interested in... I do like doing a few any time I'm camping, especially when it's cool, and it had cooled off quite a bit with the rain.
Mark had gotten his mandolin out, and I my backpacker guitar... but we're both relatively shy when it comes to "performing" (that means someone else is listening) and we didn't play much. I think I got through ahem, "singing" Farewell Andromeda and that's about it other than some light background picking. Which is fun, too.
Generally when you stay up late at night talking and especially if any alcohol is involved at all (not a necessary ingredient but certainly a catlyst) Mark's switch will turn "on" and off-the-wall humor ensues. Fortunately, Rita didn't seem too easily frightened and seemed to enjoy the schtick. We all did.
As it got late, we all decided to turn in. Rita had a breakfast and more of the Paint The Parks event to deal with, and of course... we had more RMNP to go play in. It's always best to start early out there in the summertime... or any time, really.