Sunday morning after everyone got up and got moving, I said, "hey, why don't we go to Audra!" So the gears started turning and by 1PM the car was packed with our camping gear and we were on the road. It is really easy to get to Audra from Morgantown, just hop onto Rt119 and drive till you get to Audra road. It took about an hour and a half including a stop at Sheetz in Phillipi to grab some juice and sandwiches. We spent about $20 in provisions and another $18 for the campsite. Add in money for gas and firewood and you have an action adventure trip for about $50, and you can't beat that with a stick!
Rolling into the park felt like coming home to me. It was so lush and green and cool, Middle Fork sparkling and splashing off to the right. We drove through the campground till we found a nice site right on the riverbank. It was the first time we camped by the water, usually we pick a more secluded spot on the other side, but Delia really wanted to have a nice view of the water from her tent window, so Keith acquiesced to our request.
Keith and Delia set up her tent, and then she and I went into the water, leaving him to start the campfire.
I got three or four pictures and then my camera told me that the memory card was full. Bummer! But we still had a wonderful time. Delia is growing more sure of herself, and she was willing to go much farther out into the water than I thought she would. We got halfway out into the river, the water was about two feet deep and the current was fairly strong, I was afraid we'd get knocked over! So we retreated a bit and just played among the rocks. It was a lot of fun.
About an hour later as we returned to camp, I noticed that Keith was still messing about with the fire, he hadn't gotten it going yet. Delia said she would distract him so I could get it going, but I think he was onto our plan from the very start. I did manage to get a few flames going, but the wood was damp. Only by kneeling in front of the fire and blowing on the coals till I was lightheaded could I get any flames at all. It was like that all night, we never did achieve a roaring blaze, but we did get enough heat to roast not-dogs and make smores!
I want to send out a HUGE Thank You to Delia's Uncle John, who told her that spiders don't like the scent of oranges. She was armed with an orange on her first trip to the bath house, and saw no spiders. So I guess it worked! Now her main camping complaint has been overcome, and she's decided that she can stand to go camping more than once a year. YAY Uncle John! You are our HERO!
Anyway, after a stress free trip to the showers to rinse off all the river grit, we retired for the night to the soothing sounds of the water rushing over rocks.
The next morning, we tried in vain to get the fire going. I decided to let Keith have at it and I went to retrieve a Red Bull from the cooler (I brought them for just this reason, it takes us FOREVER to get that first pot of coffee going). That was when I discovered THE COOLER WAS GONE. We'd left it by the picnic table, just like we've done every time we've gone camping in the past, and someone must've come through during the night and carried it off. So breakfast went from turkey bacon and eggs and fried green tomatos to granola bars and slightly soggy graham crackers, and Keith was so mad smoke was coming out of his ears. He set off around the campground to see if he could find our cooler, and though he found that approximately 12 other campers had blue and white coolers, none were ours. He also found another empty cooler in an empty campsite, which we thought might have been put there by the Night Thieves, but it wasn't ours. Keith suspects the culprits might have been the same ones who decorated the men's bathhouse with toilet paper during the night. Keith and the Park Ranger woke the Superintendent, who was super nice - he apologised profusely and said they usually don't have that kind of trouble at the park. He said he really couldn't do anything but take our phone # and call us if they found our cooler. I was not really worried about the cooler, I was more upset that someone stole my daughter's breakfast.
We decided not to attempt a big hike, since it is no good to trek out into the wild woods on a mostly empty stomach. Campers two sites down had left a blazing fire in their grate when they packed it up, so we usurped it to make a pot of coffee. At least we got to have Campfire Coffee (although the bastards stole my MILK). We left Audra around 11 in fairly good moods, and got a bit of lunch at the Sheetz in Philippi. Gotta love Sheetz, a life saving bastion of sandwich goodness in the wilderness of NorthCentral WV.
Oh, and on the way back to Rt 119, I had to swerve into the other lane to avoid hitting the biggest turtle I'd ever seen. The thing was almost as bigh as a basketball! I pulled over and made Keith go pick it up and take it to the side of the road. Turns out that the turtle did not appreciate the assistance. Keith said it almost bit his finger off! When he finally got it off the road, the turtle turned around and hissed at him! How's that for gratitude! On top of that, the turtle left some terrible smell on Keith's hands. Baby wipes did nothing to remove the odor, so Keith rode all the way to Philippi with both hands out the car window.
Since we did not get to go for our big hike, Delia and I did an exercise video after supper. Neither one of us evidently has very much abdominal strength, the Australian Public Television video ladies kicked our butts! But we'll keep at it, a little bit every day!