Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one that led me to my campsite.

Sorry Robert Frost, I'm just not that poetic.

I went camping this past weekend for a day with some friends and family at Lake Maria State Park in Monticello, Minnesota. Even though the park wasn't far out of the cities, once we arrived, I felt like I was in a whole new world.

We hiked up to our camp site which a little less than a mile in. It was raining and we weren't sure what to do, but we sucked it up and set up camp. I have a hard time not doing a whole lot, which is what we started off doing. I like to be busy, writing, reading, watching, doing. So when I had to sit and not do anything, it was a little stressful. We had to make a second trip to the car and even though it entailed hiking through a mosquito-infested forest, I was relieved. I wonder what this says about me?

After all was good in the parking lot world, we headed back in and began to practice our skills on the slackline. There are some weird notions of slacklining (that it's pretentious, for hippies, etc.) but to me, it was just challenging and really fun. I started off being able to take a few steps, but as the night went on I progressively got worse. No, I do not attribute this to drinking wine.

We enjoyed some beer and wine, bagged macaroni and cheese and brats. I was intrigued by all of the camping gear I saw and I immediately wanted to own a 7075-T6 hard anodized fork too. The shopaholic in me (hey, at least I admit it) was excited to go to REI and procure some camping goods. Now I know I need a headlamp, sleeping pad, bowl and utensil, hammock...the list could go on and on. At least I'll be able to take advantage of my membership benefits that I got sucked into last year.

I was miserable for parts of the day. I wasn't excited about the mosquitoes. I thought it was too hot. Then it was too cold. Then I had to sleep on the hard ground. But the parts that made all of that worth it were: (Here she goes making a list again...)

Spending time with family and friends
Making s'mores around the fire
Sitting in a hammock
Attempting to balance on the slackline
Hiking in the woods
Spotting a firefly wonderland in the meadow

Nature truly is moving, especially when it is still. I saw one, lone yellow leaf in a vast arrangement of green and it struck me as beautiful. I tried to find where it came from, to see if there were other yellow leaves anywhere, but there were not. In a way, I felt like that yellow leaf: that I somehow belonged there, but didn't at the same time.

One of my favorite parts of the trip, and it happened in the very last hour we were there, was my brother-in-law singing, "There's a skeeter on my peter, whack it off." (Imagine it to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands" or "She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes").

As we trudged out of the camp site, batting mosquitoes, we were all humming that little tune in our heads.


  1. I always stress about what I'm going to DO while camping too. Will there be too many awkward silences? Will I be counting down the minutes until it is appropriate to go to sleep? In the end it is always fun and I end up enjoying the time when I can just appreciate nature and hang out with friends, no agenda. And although I still have 20 seriously itchy mosquito bites, I want to go out again. This time better prepared and on a dry weekend.

    And slackline has become a new camping neccessity.

  2. You and I will have to camp. I'm a pro at the art of nothingness. When we had the trailer up on Oak Lake, I used to ask "but MOM what am I going to DO up there" and her answer was always "NOTHING, and it will be great". And it was.

    To me nothing in nature is good. It means you enjoy the company you're with. You enjoy the crackling and light of the fire (obvs smores). You enjoy nature itself, see the beauty you miss while living in the cities. (Find fields of fireflies, so glad you did, we had a field up at the trailer!) If you're lucky, you get out on a boat and do some fishing (which also involves a lot of nothing).

    You rought it up and leave the technology alone for the night. Still working on that part....

  3. Love it. I wish I would have spent some time up at the trailer when we were little! Here's to making up for it. :)


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