Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A First

I went camping yesterday. 

I went up to an island park, complete with my car packed full.  How full?  I think the Lewis and Clark expedition had less stuff.

Maybe not quite, but there was a lot of stuff.  Some years ago now, I bought a tent for a specific purpose, though I no longer quite remember why.  I used it once for that purpose.  And I lent it to a friend about five years ago.
When I thought about going camping recently, I aired it out and found the friend's reading glasses (a different style than my own).  So it's been a while.  I wasn't sure I'd enjoy camping, even, so I made a one night reservation, and figured if I hated it, I could leave and come home and never go again.
I got my camping spot and set up my tent.

As you can see, it's a beautiful site.  There's water!  (But there were surprisingly few bugs, which was great.)

I had the Retirement Fund with me.

So I went for a paddle, a couple of hours, first up the river, and then back down.  It was beautiful, and quiet.  I saw some other boaters, but mostly fishing or paddling themselves.

Then I went for a 20 mile bike ride, first scoping out the nearby town, where I found a diner.  Towards the end of my ride, I stopped at the diner and had dinner, and then road back, making it to my campsite in plenty of time to get stuff ready.  And then it was time for bed.  I was really tired, so I was lying on my sleeping bag, trying to get the energy to take out my contacts  (I did).  It was semi-noisy until it got almost totally quiet at 8:45.  After that, there was the occasional kid noise, but almost nothing.

And then it was morning!  I made my coffee (elixir of life!), and had some basic breakfast, and then I paddled around the island.  And as I was reaching the landing, I saw something swimming in the water.  I thought it was a muskrat, but hoped it was an otter.  So I paddled closer.  (I was a good ways off.)  And then it turned towards me, and it had a tan muzzle.  And round ears.  My eyes got big, and I stopped, and it swam a bit faster towards the shore.  So I paddled a bit faster.

And Yes, I saw my first bear!  It wasn't huge, but it was definitely a bear.  It got to shore, and jumped up, and went off into the underbrush.

That was pretty much the highlight of a really good camping trip.  (Short, but good.)

Meanwhile, I did some birding recently and saw a couple new birds, some of which I even got pictures of!  (The first is a Least Sandpiper; there there are Red-headed Woodpeckers.)


  1. What a great trip! My favorite part of camping out is waking up to the calls of birds in the morning with the knowledge that I didn't have to be in any hurry to get up.

  2. That's awesome! What a great little trip!

  3. Wow, that sounds like a fabulous (and very athletic) trip!

  4. This sounds like the best camping trip ever. I love that you rode your bike to dinner and then came back. Making dinner while camping is fun but a true pain in the butt. A bigger pain in the butt than a bike seat, maybe!
    And a bear! Perfect perfect perfect!

    1. Especially for me as a beginning camper. I used charcoal to make my water hot in the morning, and did take plenty of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in case there wasn't an easy place to eat, but dinner at a diner was good!

  5. Nice camping trip! Is your bike on the back of the car or did you put it inside the car? What kind of bike rack? (I am in the market for one.)

    1. Undine, the bike is inside. You can see the handlebars behind the green sleeping bag. I do have a good rack, but I usually just put the bike in back because it's safer (or that's my perception), especially if I have the kayak on top. (My rack is a Saris and holds two bikes well on my Outback. It's supposed to hold three, but my handlebar/seat difference is too little to work that well. I hear good thinks about Thule and Yakima, too.)