I’ve been camping. i just got back this afternoon, and had to rush to work to give a couple of massages.

i love camping. i want to camp all the time. is there a way to make a living camping? please let me know if there is.

the only thing i don’t like about camping is the long walk to the porta potty type place. it’s either that or squat somewhere, and i don’t like either thing so much. Not at all.

everything else about camping is great. we went to a primitive campsite at the jim edgar panther creek park, and the primitiveness was the distance to the outhouse and the fact that there was no running water. we got plenty of water at the group campsite, which wasn’t so far away.

the thing i love most about camping is that it’s quiet and peaceful and completely relaxing. there were no other campers at the six other primitive campsites, except the first night there was a guy at one of them, but he fished all day and left early in the morning, so we didn’t see or hear him at all.

B. (beauregard) has a wonderful tent that has mesh on the top. the last time we camped, there was a horrible storm and so we kept the rain cover on the tent all the time. but this time we didn’t put on the rain guard, so as i was lying there at night, i could look up and see the stars. because it was dark, i couldn’t really see the mesh of the tent, so it was like sleeping under the stars.

here’s the tent:

the tent

truly lovely. here’s the view from lying down inside the tent:


while camping, we went running, hiking, kayaking, and mountain-biking. if you read my last post, you’ll understand that mountain biking is a fairly terrifying thing for me. but when we did it (for only the second time) yesterday, it was more fun than terrifying. B. let me ride his new, fancy, expensive mountain bike, and i kept telling myself that because it was so new fancy and expensive, it was DESIGNED to glide right over the myriad of roots, branches, and assorted treacherous debris littering the trail. and when i did focus on this, instead of PANICKING, it went just fine.

B. told me to stand up on the bike when going uphill, and this was very very helpful. i actually made it up most of the hills. and i even went down most of them, too. i made it by saying out loud to myself “you can do it, you can do it.” and i did.

so now i feel that my fear of downhill is somewhat better. i told B. that he’s helping me overcome fears that i had absolutely no intention of even ever facing. the only thing left (that i can think of right now, but i’m sure there are more of them) is trying a team sport, but hopefully that can wait for a good long while. no need to be rash here. i won’t mention the team sport thing to him, so he won’t try to think of one to play. badminton, i can do that. but it’s not exactly a team sport, is it?

in between all the activities, we hung out. sat around. chatted. the great thing about camping is not thinking of real life reality, all the millions of things that vex and torment me in any given day.

here’s our campsite, by the way. i think it was nicer than the one at lake sangchris:

our site

somebody clearly spent a lot of money fixing up this park. the shower houses were also very fancy. it’s also funny how camping makes showering suddenly a great treat, instead of the boring daily thing that you have to do.

here’s one more photo of the view from inside the tent. tent view

i’m telling you, camping is good. i didn’t want to come back, not at all, but so far, in the few hours that i’ve been back, i do feel more mellow and calm and happy than usual, which is a mighty fine thing, and if i go to bed really soon, maybe i can keep that feeling going throughout the night and sleep without waking up and worrying about things i can’t fix.

my dad says that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he says to himself, “i’m trying to rest now,” and this helps him go back to sleep. i’ve been trying it, and when i can remember exactly the phrase, it really helps.

today i got a somewhat troubling e-mail from somebody who didn’t actually sign their name. they said it seemed from reading this site that i’m not enjoying my training. is that the impression you’re getting? i’m getting a little bit panicky because i haven’t been training ENOUGH, but i like the training pretty much. the last time i swam, i didn’t even have any goggle trauma, which is usually what happens – water leaks in, or the suction is so great that i feel like my eyeballs are going to pop right out, and then i have deep circles around my eyes for the entire rest of the day.

but i like swimming in the lake more than at the fit club. it’s very pretty in the morning, and i figure that it’s pretty safe, as long as i keep an eye out for boats that might run me over.

and i’m addicted to running, and now that i’ve CONQUERED MOUNTAIN BIKING, i’m eager to get back on my bike and i’m sure i’ll be flying down the street, no worry about bumps or crazy up or downhills.

this person who wrote told me about some crazy bicycle race in staunton called the tour de donut. my brother in law did that, i think, because he has a tour de donut t-shirt. the race is 30 miles long, and you get to stop and eat donuts, but it sounds kind of revolting, donut-wise, plus of course too many miles.

you may recall when i wrote about my first camping experience, i talked about B. building fires. i think fire-building is a very good thing for him, because he seems to take great pleasure in chopping the wood and starting the fire and keeping it going for a good long time. he actually had me start one fire, and i even managed that. did i mention that because i survived mountain-biking, i’m quite sure i can do anything? i can.

here’s B. tending to the fire, a neverending job:

tending fire

i think one reason he likes building the fire is because it’s an instinctual thing, from being a boy scout. yesterday he told me that there are ALL KINDS of SECRET BOY SCOUT THINGS that a boy scout learns. all kinds??!! i couldn’t get him to tell me even one. he said there’s a secret handshake, but no secret song. i wonder if there’s a secret boy scout dance? i forgot to ask him, not that he’d tell me – he’s sworn to secrecy, and if he lets anything slip, boy scouts from days of yore will start haunting him for the rest of his days. hey, that sounds like a good idea for a movie, doesn’t it?

but i digress. we saw lots and lots of nature this trip. quail, deer, owls, more deer, plus so very many bugs. lots of frogs and birds. we heard lots of things in the night, too, including coyotes and something that rustled nearby in the underbrush that i was sure was going to kill us. plus many many ticks. i’ve never actually seen a tick before, and they’re really dreadful creatures. One would cling to B.’s leg, crawling right up, and we pulled many of them off of Mollie the dog. after about a half hour of tick-pulling she got very crabby about the whole thing, though, and would wander off. B. delighted in plucking them and throwing them into a big citronella candle resting in an earthenware jar – he heated it over the fire so it was molten, then dropped the ticks in. good tick torture. i preferred pulling the legs off and then ripping them apart, and commented that it was a great way to let go of any deep-seated feelings of anger and/or aggression about anything at all. i don’t actually have any deep-seated anger/aggression usually, but it was still fun to kill the evil little ticks.

Mollie got something in her paw; we thought it was a tick, but it wasn’t. she limped around all day today, and here’s a photo of her trying to dig whatever it was out:


yesterday we thoroughly wore her out, with the running/biking/hiking. she didn’t have to do anything during kayaking except sit there, so that was good. but whenever we ran, she bounded into the woods or the tall grass, and every once in a while her head would pop up as she lept about like crazy. we saw deer a few times, and she went tearing after them, as if they were giant bunnies. i wondered what she’d do if she ever caught one.

after we got back from camping, she was suddenly fine again. maybe she didn’t really hurt her paw, maybe she was just pretending so we woudln’t keep up our pace.

as we hiked today, i asked B. what it must have been like to be a settler. it must have been lousy, don’t you think? truding along for miles and miles, or sitting in a hot smelly wagon, wearing those hot uncomfortable clothes. lousy. do you think that in a hundred or two years from now, people will look back on us and wonder how we managed to cope in our antiquated fashion? surely they will.

ok, ok, don’t start thinking about things too much here, just repeat “i’m trying to rest now,” and get at it.

ok then,

grace ready to camp tomorrow if anybody else is game (although i’d be perfectly fine camping alone because I CAN DO ANYTHING! but it wouldn’t be as much fun).