On May 5th, we drove into the woods with the intention to stay the night. It wasn’t going to be a long trip, but I had May 6th off of work, so we were going to take advantage of the relatively nice weather and have our first night outdoors of the season.
I didn’t take any pictures. I turned my phone off once I lost signal about 20 minutes from home. I didn’t bring my kindle for reading; instead I brought a couple of library books that I had checked out just before everything shut down. I was trying to make the most of my nature therapy by not including any extraneous electronics.
We ended up camping at the same spot we stopped a few weeks before when I just needed to get out there, but we weren’t ready to spend the night quite yet. It’s a roadside spot, but still has some secluded areas. I was disappointed to see how much trash had accumulated in the short period of time between when I last saw it. I picked up as much as I could, but it seemed like every time I looked at the ground I saw another bottle cap or nylon cord or – worst – toilet paper, ew.
Ambrose and I now have car camping chairs; the second one arrived that very day, right on time. They are luxurious, heavy, “zero-gravity” chairs that allow for both sitting upright and a nice recline.
I got to set up the tent, since Ambrose drove. That led to him getting to try out the new chairs first. I was a bit jealous of how comfortable he looked while I slaved at the tent, but I actually got it down pretty quickly. For the first pitch of the year, I was quite pleased with how it turned out. Every time I put up a tent, I refer to my internal notes on how best to do it. Sometimes, I remember what they are at the beginning of the season, and sometimes I forget…
This time, I forgot that I want to wait to put the middle pole in the grommets until after I’ve hooked up the two on the end to their own corners. But I remembered how to get the rain fly on nice and tight by hooking it up with loosened connectors and then tightening them up in two rounds, first an initial pull and then a final tightening. So I started out a bit off, but the end result was quite good for the first pitch of the year.
And then we just relaxed in our new chairs and watched the river flow by, and the clouds overhead and the sun’s light setting beyond the canyon walls so that we could no longer see it. Being out there, with the sounds, smells and sights, made me feel normal and good. I felt tension leaving my body. Even now, thinking about it, I can feel myself relaxing.
After we had gone to bed and were in the tent, we both were rather awake. And it wasn’t like we had to get up early in the morning. We could see, through the tent and rain fly walls, that the moon was probably out. Ambrose didn’t want to leave the tent initially, but I felt like it was an opportunity not to be missed. Plus, I was really warm, so the idea of going outside in the cold briefly didn’t bug me. I went outside in my bare feet, wriggled my toes in the dirt and basked in the moonshine while Ambrose got himself together enough to join me.
By the time he got there, I was shivering and impatient. But I knew I could handle the cold a while longer, especially if I sidled up to him to steal warmth.
We didn’t spend long outside. And I think I fell asleep pretty soon after. I’m not sure, because my digital ban included any watch. I didn’t know what time it was from the time we got out of the car until we started it up again the next morning (way earlier than we needed to).
In the morning, we slept in and were fairly leisure about it, but we still ended up leaving before 9 am. To be fair, leaving by 9 am is pretty late for backpackers.
Short though it was, the trip provided a balm for my spirit. And I was quite tickled that I didn’t even need to break out the heavy duty fleece pants that I’d brought for sleeping, because I was warm enough with just my quilt. It was a good start to the season, and I can’t wait to get back out there.