Now that I've lined up the numerous bags (3 packs, 1 tent, 1 sleeping bag, plus some other random stuff) to tote all of the stuff that I *must* have for a total of 3 nights and 3 days, I don't ask myself why don't I go camping more often. It requires SO much stuff. And I have no doubt that I will have forgotten something. Plus, I am not even schlepping pots and pans and other items that are often required for camping. I am, however, taking my wetsuit, two towels and plenty of other odds and ends for the trip. Thus, the gazillion bags!
This is the annual camping trip that I take - or have taken for the past 3 years. Gasp, this is year four, so I must be turning into something of an "old-timer" on this particular trip. It is not for pleasure, although there are many fun moments, as I head north with fellow teachers and a large group of students for a final hurrah to the year or to the high school career. As I piled up clothes and gear, it did make me wonder why I no longer camp on my own - or with Michael as a great way to travel and experience new and familiar areas. I admit that I do prefer to spend the night on a bed, but there is something so wonderful about being outside, so close to the sky and to the earth, in a tent.
The last time Michael and I camped together was this trip, and just looking at the pictures makes me want to go back and do it all over again. It also makes me wonder when did I stop hiking and camping so much. Oh, yes, the swim, bike, run training and racing thing which can often take over most and all free time which I have to dedicate to 'training'. It also requires that all of the money I spend on gear, well, I spend it on THAT sort of gear rather than on a new filter for a water bottle.
But pulling out the tent and the backpacks and my lovely Thermarest does make me feel nostalgic. It is definitely time that I go camping without my colleagues and students, as much as I like them, and without it being a work obligation. After all, putting the 'work' limits or expectations on camping changes the meaning of the experience all together. And I would like to return to the true meaning of camping. You know, struggling with the tent, cooking dinner in a small pot and eating out of said pot, falling asleep as soon night falls while listening to the quiet that surrounds you. Soon, I hope!
For now, however, this trip signals the end of the academic year, and it is a nice way to bring so many different aspects of the year to a close. By Thursday, I will feel anxious to return, but I look forward to being so close to the coast that I can easily run or walk there, perhaps practicing some easy yoga at sunset and having all of my meals prepared for me. There are worse things in life, especially when I can take in beautiful scenery and sneak in a few moments of relaxation. Now that is camping!