camping with daughter gone wrong

The birds chirped in the pine trees that flanked the trial. My daughter hiked before me, looking so cute in her big backpack as she walked with such a determined stride. Her black pigtails bounced around her shoulders as she marched in her hiking shorts and hiking boots.

Eighteen, and out here carrying all her own gear, even her own tent and sleeping bag.

Okay, I had most of the food, but she was still here.

“I can’t believe Mom and Lana chickened out,” Aubrey said as she marched up the hill. “This is great! It’s so pretty out here.”

“Well, your mom never liked camping, and Lana…” I chuckled. “No cell reception out here.”

“True, she would be so lost. She’d try to use Google Maps to tell her which branch in the trail to take, and it wouldn’t work out here.”

It was just me and my daughter on a weekend camping trip up in the Olympic Mountains. We had gotten up early, way before dawn early, to be here. I was fueled by coffee while my daughter had slept on the ride up here.

Looking just so cute as she did it.

I had to take a picture of her waiting at the top of the trail. I pulled out my phone and snapped a picture of her in her t-shirt and jeans, a big smile on her lips. She looked like a conquistador who had just conquered the hill.

“That’s right,” said Aubrey. “Lots of pics. Mom would kill you if you didn’t take at least five hundred a day.”

“And we don’t want that,” I said, turning my phone off and slipping it back into the fanny pack I wore. Such a useful place for a pouch when out camping.

The sun rose higher as we moved deeper into the mountains. Aubrey bounced with excitement when we spotted a doe with her fawn crossing the valley below by moving along the treeline. She cooed and bounced with such joy.

I was glad to distribute this with her. The outdoors was amazing.

Not long after, we came across some people heading down the trail. An older man and woman who nodded to us. “Beautiful day,” the woman said, a fit grandma. “Great day for a hike.”

“And a weekend camping,” said Aubrey. “dad and I are going to fish! I’m totally going to catch us dinner!”

“I bet you are,” the grandfatherly guy said, chuckling. “The fish were biting up at the Lake of the Angels. That where you heading if you keep going up the trail.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Didn’t see anyone else up there,” the woman said. “We spent the night there. That water’s brisk.”

“It comes right off the glacier, right?” asked my daughter.

“Yep,” the guy said. “About six hundred feet up the slope’s the glacier. Water runs down. Brisk. Very brisk. Wakes you right up!”

My daughter grinned at me. I wasn’t too keen on swimming in a glacial lake, but I had a feeling she’d drag me into it. We said goodbye to the couple and kept on down the trail. It was pleasant. And pretty safe. There were black bears and cougars, but so long as we were careful with our food, we’d be fine.

We stopped for a break at lunch and pressed on. She was managing it well, and she was in great shape. We passed a cliff with a waterfall, the outlet for the Lake of Angels, our destination. It would be another hour before we arrived.

I was glad. I had the stamina, but I was feeling it in the knees. I would need some of the Ibuprofen I brought when we reached the lake. But it was a good kind of soreness. The kind that came from moving around and seeing things.

We arrived a good three hours before the night would fall. It was so beautiful to be out here at the Lake of the Angels. We walked past the lake, which was only about a half-mile wide of pure glacial melt. It was crystal clear even from the shore. It was water you probably could drink without getting sick.

Well, definitely the creek running off the glacier. But, still, we wouldn’t take chances.

“God, this is amazing, Daddy,” she said, skipping along the trail on the east side. On the west, there was a rock outcropping that thrust into the lake about twelve feet up. “Ooh, ooh, can we jump off that!”

“Just get ready to freeze your toes off,” I said. “That is cold water. Even in summer.”

“Okay, dad,” she said in that way that didn’t quite sound like she believed me. I was surprised she didn’t, “Okay, Boomer,” me there.

Well, she would learn.

We reached the north side. There was a good place to camp with a nice lee to keep the winds off us and let us have access to the melt water creek flowing by. There were woods around the lake, so firewood wouldn’t be an problem, and there were no burn bans going on where we were. We could still have a fire for cooking during a burn ban, but now we could have one for light, too. Of just to have one going.

I set her to gather firewood while I pitched the tents. I was an old hat at it. I soon had the tents ready and pushed some stones around to make a fire pit. I organized the tinder and kindling while she stacked the bigger pieces around the edge.

“Fishing?” she asked. “They’ll be biting now that the sun’s setting.”

“Sure,” I told her.

We put together our poles and tack. I had some live bait I brought up, wiggling earthworms, and we sat on the shore. It was great to be away from technology. One with nature. My daughter grinned as she cast for the first time, her red and white bobber landing on the surface.

As the light faded, we caught three fish, enough for dinner. They were rainbow trout. My daughter blanched at gutting them, but she did scale them. We ended up working with Coleman lanterns, both of our stomachs growling.

But when we had those cooking on the little grill that we placed over the fire, it was worth it. The smells filled the night, seasoned with some salt, pepper, and lemon zest we brought up in little bags. They were succulent.

Worth having to keep picking out their little bones.

The stars were out. We sat and watched them for a while. They were crystal clear. Stars you’d never see in the city winked above us as the fire burned down to coals. A black so profound swallowed us. A beauty that could only be seen far from civilization.

Then we turned in. I had pitched us separate tents since I figured a girl of eighteen would want her own privacy. I know I didn’t want to have to do the changing in the sleeping bag or waiting outside. She vanished into hers with a, “Good night, Daddy!”


“It’ll be raining tonight,” I said. “Don’t sleep pressed against the side of your tent, or it will bleed through and soak your sleeping bag. Should be cleared up by morning.”

“Kay!” she said as she zipped up her tent. Her flashlight glowed. The silhouette of her body appeared on the outside of it as she…

Started stripping. I blinked as I realized she was getting naked in there. She turned to the side, and I caught the swell of her… breasts. Warmth washed over my cheeks. I dove into my tent, shaking that image out of my mind. She wasn’t my little girl any longer, was she?

I sighed and pulled off boots, socks (which I tucked into my boots), and started stripping the rest of my clothes off. I liked to sleep naked–okay, so I had two tents so I could have some privacy, too. I grabbed the clothes I’d wear tomorrow and shoved them into my sleeping bag so they’d be warm.

I climbed in and zipped up. I used a sweater for a pillow and closed my eyes. The sounds of nature bled through. It was the best ASMR. It might be a tad uncomfortable, but I was exhausted. Sleep dragged me down into dreams.

* * *

I was sleeping when the rumble of thunder woke me up.

The rain drummed on my tent. I stared up at the top, lying on my back. The tent shook, but the sound was soothing. My eyes started to close as I slipped back toward sleep. I was just hovering on the boundary when lightning flashed.

It illuminated the inside of my tent. A moment later, the hot growl of thunder swept over my tent. It shook from the force. The lightning was close. Less than a mile away. A second bolt came down, the thunder snarling with rage.

My daughter screamed in her tent.

Shit. I started to sit up when I realized I was naked. I had to discover my clothes. They were in my sleeping bag somewhere. I reached around when I heard a zipper rasp. Footsteps splashed then my tent opening was being unzipped.

Daddy! Daddy!” Aubrey cried as she opened my tent and dived in.

Lightning flashed.

I caught a brief glimpse of my daughter’s wet form. Was she naked? Why was she naked?



NSFW: yes


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