Thanks to the prior exploration and get-up-and-go of my friend Natalia, I capped off the intense sequence from my brother Sasha’s visit through my mother’s departure with my first camping trip since pre-PhD.
This trip was meant in part as a gear shakedown for camping in the shoulder season. I can say definitively that the sleeping bag and fleece liner combo which I chose mostly to avoid sleeping in hostel-provided sheets was not comfortably warm at -11 ˚C and -9 ˚C during the coldest night hours, even with all my clothes on. My graduation gift tent did an admirable job of staying condensation-free, despite me curling up at the bottom of my sleeping bag to preserve my warm outbreaths.
We camped in and explored an area of crown land near the Catchacoma forest during a time of exceptional high water. A wetland area as seen in recent aerial images was mostly a large lake for us, with the outflow down a creek partly obstructed by an ATV bridge.
The trip was a remarkable and much-needed grit- and friendship-building experience. I can’t wait to get out again; taste simple food off the fire that tastes better than anything at home; wake to the bird chorus around dawn; and joke and talk with good friends while stomping through snowfall and hauling falling branches to the fire.