Ah, camping. The great equalizer.
This is my happy place. Well, not standing in that specific spot with a beer in my hand the entire time, although one of those things might still be true…
Upside: Peace, quiet, communing with nature, hiking, clear rushing creeks and towering trees. Oh, and absolutely no cell service. Places where you can’t even hum a few bars.
When I’m camping, the absence of electronic connections is a palpable relief, making room for more primitive forms of communication. It’s like having a direct land-line to my inner self, whose small voice is still so fragile and is often needlessly drowned out by the noise of modern life.
Downside: When a campsite doesn’t even have running water, unless you count the creek underneath the bridge I was standing on in the picture. Nope. Just one outhouse with a pit toilet for seven primitive campsites. Granted, it was a lovely and well constructed outhouse, but still – I was thankful for hand sanitizer.
I’m also a fan of gear that makes remote camping feel luxurious – like a French press attachment on my Jet Boil. I mean, primitive is one thing, Neanderthal is quite unnecessary 😉 It really is the little things in life.
This particular campground was on tribal land that also happens to be an open range area, so there were literally cows wandering around the woods, the campsites, and traipsing through the creek. It was crazy, all of a sudden we would start hearing cowbells jangling and three or four enormous animals would be walking toward you. It was a bit surreal.
It was pretty difficult getting my motorcycle down into this remote campsite. Gravel and rough, rutted dirt roads are not ideal for the Harley, but I took it slow and only came close to tipping it while trying to find a solid piece of ground to set the kick stand. That and it was a little nerve-wracking watching these huge cows walk around our vehicles with absolutely no regard for them whatsoever. Luckily I parked the bike right next to a friend’s truck so it wasn’t as vulnerable to the wandering herd.
I took a couple of amazing hikes and a lot of really great pictures. Hiking was interesting, because you had to look down at your feet almost constantly to avoid the cow pies, even on the steepest slopes. We hiked up to the top of one of the mountains that appeared to be just covered with evergreens, but when we got up there it had flattened out into a gorgeous meadow. Unless you flew over it or intentionally hiked up to it, you would have never known that the meadow was there.
I started to think about what it would be like to live up there and be self-sustaining and completely unplugged. Unaware of who was “in the running” for running for president. Or terrorism, or Tinder, for that matter. Just blissfully going about your own business of living, making your way in the world day-by-day. Gathering food, water, tending to animals and gardens and respecting the land.
Of course, that’s silly, right? No one gets to be completely unplugged anymore. But once in a while it is kind of nice. Connecting on Facebook or Instagram or blogging is way different than connecting out here. Connections are defined in multiple ways in our lives.
Sometimes we just need to be with the earth, the sky, the open land, the mountains, and the water. And maybe most importantly, we need to be with our fragile hearts who’s whispers are often trampled by the stampede of culture vying for attention.
It’s not surprising to me that 85% of all adults interviewed who consider themselves to be relatively “well-adjusted” human beings camped as children. Nature is a vital connection we often miss.
Sometimes, you just have to be intentional about it. Sometimes, that means living first and documenting it after the fact rather than in real time. Sometimes, you just have to follow your feet.
Sometimes, you just need more cowbell…