I broke my camping duck a couple of weeks ago. Which isn’t to say that I hadn’t partaken of many of the activities associated with it before – y’know, setting up tents, cooking by campfire, and such like – but when I was a Brownie I used to get sent home in tears on a regular basis when it came to the very idea of spending the night away from home. So that weekend marked my first one actually spent under canvas. Except it was two nights, and it was under whatever polyester-y stuff they make tents out of these days.
We left after work on Friday, which had me ever-so-slightly stressy, since “after work” to everyone else means “immediately”, and to me it means “a least two and a half hour, after you leave the state you work in, get through the state you travel through, and arrive back in the state that you live in”. And I hate being the late one and the one that holds things up, but it’s become slightly inevitable. So we set off ‘after work’, in the loosest sense of the word, and made the ninety minute drive to Stokes State Forest.
We arrived after dark to find dinner already being made by the light of a head torch, like some kind of outdoorsy picture of a 1950s suburbia where the housewives wear North Face and technically aren’t really house wives on account of there not being any house.
After an 11pm dinner, and 11:30pm washing up session, because we were in bear county and we didn’t want them coming after our pickernick baskets or faces, we went straight to bed. The temperature dropped to four degrees over night, which was lovely on two counts.
- It was cool. For someone who’s been (probably too) vocal about my dislike of the hot weather over the past couple of months, it was lovely to spend a while being able to see my breath.
- I had the best army surplus sleeping bag. It was designed both for the purposes of surviving a Siberian winter, and also for making the occupant look like the fifth member of Oasis. It was khaki, it zipped up to my face, and it looked very much like something parka-y that a Gallagher might wear while beating up another Gallagher.