Autumn Camping

Summer is gone and autumn is upon us. Though last weekend our family and our friends still went out for a camping trip. Maybe this will be the last hurrah for this season before our temperature dips down to bitterly cold range.

We drove down to Lacey-Keosauqua State Park which is about 2 hours from Des Moines. This state park is one of the biggest and most picturesque in Iowa. “Keosauqua” is a Native American term meaning “the stream bearing a floating mass of snow, slush or ice.” Though no snow yet when we were there.

Autumn camping has a different appeal due to the awesome color of the surrounding nature.

fall foliage with its peak color

You may argue that it was not a true camping since we did not sleep in tents. Instead we stayed in small rustic cabins. The cabins were complete with a toilet, shower, heater/air conditioner, refrigerator, stove, microwave and sofa beds. What else can you ask for? A jacuzzi maybe?

our comfy cabin

camping is not complete without a campfire

When I went out for my morning jog, I can hear a lot of movement and rustling in the woods. I know I was not alone. But before you think that there were fairies and supernatural creatures in this forest, it was not that. What I mean were forest animals. In this case, there were deers.

can you spot the three deer?

more deer crossing

There was a lot of hiking trails in this park. And I believe the best way to enjoy nature is by hiking through the woods. And that’s what we did.

hiking trail

We encountered these ghostly creatures in this enchanted forest. OK they were just our kids in a “jumping” photo.

stony path

Our hike led us to the lake. The water was so serene. With the fall-colored foliage reflecting on the water, it was really beautiful. There was even a beach. Alright, alright, it’s probably not a beach that you picture in your mind just like in Hawaii. But still, it is a beach with a sandy shore.

lake

downward pathway leading to the lake

stairway

fall colors reflection in the water

my son and his friend in the beach

The following day, we headed down to a nearby bigger lake. This time we did not just stay on the banks of the lake, we went into the waters. No, not swimming. We went canoeing.

my son and I in one canoe

we even did some fishing

flock of geese flying over the lake

our friends in the other canoe

our friends in the other canoe

my daughter and her friends in another canoe

After almost two hours paddling and fishing, how much fish do you think we caught? A big fat zero! And we thought we can have a freshly caught grilled fish for lunch. O well, we settled for egg-salad sandwich instead.

our canoes side by side

It was a great camping trip and it sure was fun. We may have not caught any fish, but we still do have a lot of stories to tell. (And pictures to show too.) Until the next adventure.

(*all photos taken with iPhone)

Binibini ng Lawa

Nuong Linggo ng umaga ay tumakbo ako ng sampung kilometro. Mga ilang buwan na rin ang nakakalipas mula nang ako ay tumakbo ng ganitong kalayo. Nakakapanibago. Nakakahapo (kaya nilakad ko na iyong huling kilometro).

Bagong tila ang malakas na ulan nang ako ay lumabas ng bahay para tumakbo. Basang basa ang buong kapaligaran. Salamat naman at ang ulan ay nagdala ng malamig-lamig na ihip ng hangin at napalitan ang maalinsangang klima, matapos ang isang linggo ng “heat wave,” kung saan ang temperatura ay palaging nasa 90-100 degrees F (highest heat index: 115 F).

Kahit pasado ala-sais na ng umaga ay nag-aagaw pa rin ang liwanag at dilim, dahil sa mga maiitim na ulap na kumukulambo sa kalangitan, at tumatabing sa sumisilip na araw. Bumubulong-bulong ang ihip ng hangin.

Nang ako ay magawi at papalapit na sa isang maliit na lawa na may bumubukal na tubig, ay may na nakita akong isang anino ng taong nakatayo sa gilid nito. Malimit ay may mga nakaparadang kotse o golf cart sa tabi ng lawang ito, at mga lalaki na nangingisda ang natutunghayan ko dito.

Ngunit sa umagang ito ay isang babae ang naroon. Siya ay nag-iisa, at nakatindig na nakamasid sa malayo sa kabilang ibayo ng lawa, na para bagang may hinihintay. Nakalugay ang kanyang buhok na hindi kahabaan. Puti ang kanyang kasuotan. Maluwag-luwag ang kanyang damit na wumagawayway sa ihip ng hangin.

Ibinaling-baling ko ang aking tingin sa paligid. Walang ibang tao akong nakita. Wala ring kotseng nakaparada sa tabi ng lawa. Marahil ang binibining ito ay naglakad lamang patungo dito. O marahil siya ay tumakbong katulad ko. O kaya naman siya ay…… lumipad at lumutang!

Bigla akong pinagpawisan ng malamig.

Patuloy kong tinahak ang daan patungong lawa kahit na sa likod ng aking isip ay ayaw ko sanang gambalain ang babaing nakaputi. Nang ako’y malapit na sa kanya, ay isang impit at pilit na pagbati ang namutawi sa aking labi. Lumingon ito sa akin at nagtama ang aming tingin. Napansin kong malalalim at madilim ang paligid at ilalim ng kanyang mga mata, marahil sa puyat sa nakaraang gabi. Siya ay dahan-dahang ngumiti, at lumitaw ang kanyang mga baku-bakong ngipin na para bagang mga pangil. Pangil?!!!

lady of the lake

Napabilis ang aking mga hakbang, at kahit ako’y hingal na hingal ay patuloy ako sa aking pagtakbo. Hindi ko na muling liningon ang binibini.

Pagkaraan ng mga kalahating oras, nang ako ay pabalik na, ay wala akong ibang daan kung hindi muli sa tabi ng lawa. Mataas na ang araw at maliwanag na ang kapaligiran. Wala na ang kulimlim na mga ulap. Wala na rin ang babae doon sa lawa.

Sino kaya ang babaeng iyon na nakasuot ng puti? Siya kaya ay isa lamang sa aking mga kapit-bahay? O siya kaya ay isang white lady? O kaya nama’y engkantada ng lawa? Tutoo nga kaya ang aking nakita? O ako’y pinaglalaruan lamang ng aking malikot na pag-iisip? O kaya nama’y guni-guni lang ito ng isang utak na naghihikahos sa oxygen.

Iyan ang hirap pag-wala sa kundisyon ang katawan na tumakbo ng malayo, nahihibang sa pagod, at nakakakita ng white lady.