Summertime strikes, and car camping

It has abruptly gotten hot and muggy here in New England. Yesterday was dry, clear, and almost chilly in the shade. Today it was in the mid-90s with a heat index >100. Despite having the afternoon off, I couldn’t bring myself to do much more than lie around in the apartment, sluggishly working on fellowship applications and reading trashy novels (I have gotten addicted to the Game of Thrones series, to my embarrassment). When the sun started to set, I dragged myself out for a short run (about 4 miles) that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, one that incorporates an number of ups and downs on the big hill in town. It may not have been the best day for it. Now that it’s dark, I’ve finally gotten around to doing laundry and making a last-minute run to the grocery store for fruit and popsicles, the only things I seem to want to eat once the temperatures are above 85.

Thoughts on car camping:

As of this time, we haven’t actually yet backpacked, so take this with a grain of salt. Hopefully we’ll get that experience over the summer. At the end of our long hike last Saturday, I found myself sort of wishing that we’d camped in the backcountry  so as to be able to take things a little more slowly. On the other hand, it was awfully nice not to have to haul a tent, sleeping gear, cooking gear, and food (as well as the 10 essentials) up and down the peaks. And I have to say, I kind of love car camping. It’s nice to have a base camp to leave all your junk. Not carrying your gear leaves a little more room for slop, which is good when you plan things at the last minute the way we sometimes do. We do car camp in a pretty minimalist way, but I can’t help but admire (even though I sometimes  also scorn) the plush setups some of my fellow campers have…particularly when I can smell them cooking bacon and pancakes on their Coleman stoves in the morning and we’re eating oatmeal. I particularly enjoy the camping habits of Boy Scout troops, though I prefer to camp a fair distance away from them. We did feel like we were camping quite luxuriously this past weekend, though, between the palatial new tent (in which H could both stretch out full length AND sit up) and the new Eton crank radio (courtesy of my new local NPR membership!) that allowed us to listen to NPR with breakfast.

Much of my love of car camping comes from fond memories as a child. I particularly remember one of our first camping trips when I must have been quite small. It was evening, and must have been a damp day because the grass was slightly dewy…my mother, sister, and I were blowing bubbles and they clung to the grass and shone in the lamplight. It was quite magical. I have also been lucky enough not to camp near disrespectful others. I think this is one of the great dangers of car camping–getting stuck next to the party animals–and can be a huge turnoff. But for now, it remains lovely.

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