Archives for posts with tag: Banks-Vernonia Trail

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone camping. I can’t recall now why that is. I remember what sweet relief being camped out under the stars can be… So… Why has it been, seriously? More than a year? My gear stands packed and ready, and my Traveling Partner will be off on his summer travels soon, and this year leaving the car with me looks like a thing. 🙂 Convenient for so many reasons! Heading into the trees and reaching distant trailheads, are surely among those reasons.

It’s been nagging at me since yesterday; June is near at hand. The weather will be lovely for camping, most likely, and summer just beginning. This morning I sit down purposefully and make reservations, securing a favorite tent site. When I get into the office, I’ll request the time off. 🙂

A favorite spot waits for me.

My “last” camping trip was cut short by my lack of preparedness and the fairly irksome discovery that I had forgotten both my bee sting kit, and any coffee at all, proved to be too much for me. (I’m very human!) I went home feeling vaguely, somewhat playfully, “disgraced”. I can do better, and knowing that I can, and didn’t, continued to bite at my consciousness like a stinging insect for some time after that. I did actually go camping last year (that other wasn’t really the most recent trip, at all) though it doesn’t linger in my memory with so much clarity, it too is a recollection tinged with “failure”. I went to a distant trailhead, camped under the stars during a meteor shower, but struggled to enjoy it because it was one of those super popular locations that everyone thinks is their own secret find, and it was over-crowded, swarming with hikers, picnickers, rowdy party folks hollering from camp to camp through the night, and headlights sweeping through the trees all night long, as weary travelers arrived, discovered there was no room, and turned around to drive on. Not really a pleasant trip as much as checking a trail off a list, and doing so rather half-heartedly, once it proved to be – for now – beyond my abilities to get to the summit. I could go there, and try that again, except that the crowds were just not my thing at all. I head to the trees to be alone without all that. lol

I have everything I need to just go camping on a moment’s notice. It came in handy during the recent power outage; I simply lit candles, started a fire in the fire-place, and invited friends over to chill. No panic. Camping generally feels easy like that, too, these days. I quickly get set up, and then quickly shift gears to slow things down, stretch time, and soak in the sounds, scents, and sights of the forest. I spend most of my time hiking, reading, writing, and meditating. I take pictures. I sit quietly. I sit quietly a lot. I could do all these things at home. I do all these things at home. Camping takes them to another level of inner stillness, and turns my attention more fully inward; there are no escapes from self out among the trees.

I’m eager to go. Eager to begin again. 🙂

 

I left my campsite yesterday, just before it began to sprinkle. The rain drops were not a surprise; I woke at dawn to the rumbling of distant thunder.  A visiting young owl had dropped in on me Saturday morning and on her departure ripped a small hole in the fabric of my rain fly, making a pre-rain departure a nice convenience.

An ominous sky, and a reminder that the weather doesn't argue about gear.

An ominous sky, and a reminder that the weather doesn’t argue about gear.

There remains further unpacking to do; I do the basics right away, and throw washables, and clothing into the washing machine first thing, and ensure that any everyday use items that I had taken with me are returned to their everyday locations. The rest can be handled piecemeal through the week.

There’s more to say. I walked more than 15 miles of forested trails. I reached 1528 ft of elevation, from a starting point at less than 200 ft. I meditated for more than 12 hours of my three days away. I took more than 1000 photographs (of which fewer than 200 actually ‘turned out’). I learned some good lessons on hiking and camping basics, and reinforced good best practices left from my military experiences. I considered things. I contemplated intangibles. I felt feelings, and explored thoughts. I unpacked some very old baggage, and took a close look in a very honest mirror. I slept well, and deeply. I discovered that DEET irritates my skin – and that there’s always some bit of unprotected flesh that a mosquito can find (it’s their ‘thing’ in life); I am covered in mosquito bites and learning the value of that experience for mindfulness practice. lol

And there’s still more to say, but it’ll keep; today is a new day. I’ll just share this one thing I learned while I was meditating in the forest…

Yes, 'the answers' are here; I brought them with me.

Yes, ‘the answers’ are here; I brought them with me.

Today is a new day, a new experience. Today is a good day to change the world.