The Adventures of Helen and Daniel
Chapter 4 – Starting Fresh
The first campground was only about a half mile from parking, and the sky was still bright orange as Helen & Daniel dropped their packs.
There were two geocaches along the way, and they had stopped for both, dropping a couple of TBs in one of them.
“Uh oh, ” said Helen, “it looks like we should have made a reservation after all.” The campground looked pretty crowded.
“There are several more private sites just up the trail.” said Daniel shouldering his pack again, “Most hikers overlook them.”
A few minutes later, they found a secluded, vacant one. Helen got the tent out as Daniel went back to the entrance to pay for the night.
Helen had the small tent up by the time Daniel got back, and together they broke out the camp stove and food prep gear.
Dinner would be somewhat special and celebratory, as this was their first vacation as a couple. Daniel fired up the small stove.
In a few minutes, there was soup simmering and the steaks were on. First, the homemade carrot/onion soup with sour cream.
As Helen and Daniel savored the mix of flavors, he put broccoli, onions, and tomatoes on the grill, seasoned just right.
After their steaks and vegetables, Helen heated water for tea, and brought out her award-winning chocolate chip cookies.
Here’s the recipe for the soup: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Carrot-Soup-with-Ginger-and-Lemon-4083
The aroma of the fresh green tea was enhanced by the scents of the desert around them. A light breeze, bright stars, crickets.
Helen told Daniel about her experience of entering her cookies in the local county fair, and her surprise at a blue ribbon.
“I’d only followed the recipe in the old Betty Crocker cook book!” she confessed. Daniel finished his third, then rubbed his temples.
“I was hoping I wasn’t getting a migraine, but I am. I’m going to need to take my prescription for it and just get some sleep.”
A kiss and he disappeared into the tent. She sipped her tea, gazing up, wishing she knew more names of constellations.
Daniel stiffly turned over in his sleeping bag. ‘At least the headache is gone’, he thought, as he yawned & carefully stretched.
Helen was already up and gone. He looked around the campsite for her, then remembered what she’d said the night before:
“I’m going to need one last hair washing in the morning, and there’s a perfect place for it just over the little hill here.”
Daniel wanted to check on her, so he walked toward the stream, then noticed her shoes nearby, neatly arranged on a rock.
He saw her clothes and a camp towel a few feet away, and thought he heard splashing. ‘Should I join her?’ he mused.
Daniel peeked through the surrounding shrubbery to spy on Helen as she bathed, indulging in the guilty pleasure.
He watched her for few moments, and soon his body started to react to her lithe beauty and movements, and it felt good.
He was tempted to act on it, but thought better of it, as they had a 15-mile hike ahead of them, and needed to get an early start.
Knowing how important coffee was to Helen in the morning, Daniel opted to get that going instead, along with breakfast.
The refreshed Helen returned to their site greeted by the aromas of java and bacon and to the sounds of frying and his humming.
“Daniel, you’re the best,” she said, rubbing his back as he plated their morning repast, and he knew he’d chosen well.
He gave her a kiss and handed her a plate. The peppered bacon was a perfect complement to the scrambled eggs with tomatoes.
“You look a little preoccupied, Helen.” Daniel sat down next to her with his portion. “Well, I didn’t want to say anything, but…”
“… it’s kinda weird.” “You know you can tell me anything.” Helen looked at him a bit sheepishly. “I saw a big, odd bat last night.”
Daniel laughed. “I’m sure it was just a bat.” “I felt like it was looking at me as it fluttered around while was, um, in the bushes.”
Daniel gave a Helen a look, but could tell she was a little upset, so he reconsidered his glib response. “Maybe you’d just had a dream.”
Helen looked relieved. “Ah, that would explain it… a kind of residual feeling. I’m sure you’re right.” She relaxed and finished her coffee.
The two of them washed up and packed up, both in a light, flirty mood. The chores became fun when done in tandem.
Shortly, they had packs on. The took hands as they started up the trail to the next site, where they would camp for a few nights.
“Hey! Don’t we know you guys?” The couple whirled around to see a pair of hikers behind them, also armed with GPSrs.