Camping is a very Seattle activity, but not really something I grew up doing. As much as I’d enjoy being a badass outdoorsy pro, prior to last weekend I’d been camping 3 times:

  1. Girl Guides at ~7. The older girls set up the tents and cooked the food…I recall burning my name into a leather band with the help of a magnifying glass, a skill I’m sure I’ll be grateful for in many future situations
  2. Car-camping with a friend’s family. My only memory is learning to ignore the discomfort of running around in jeans because I was having fun playing pick-up soccer
  3. Joining a UNSW Adventurer’s Society camping trip with 2 friends. We were woefully unprepared - it was lucky it was only an overnight thing or we might have actually suffered for it (instead we spent an hour scrubbing a borrowed pan that we’d managed to burn porridge in)
Looking up through the trees

The weekend was like walking into a story. It was a perfect group of people to just relax with, and we filled the time with pure stereotype activities.

Chilling in a hammock

Hillary talked me through how to set up the tent, but sat back and let me actually do the work so I’d know how to in future - something I appreciated a lot.

Cider around a fire

We arrived at ~midday and after setting up the tents we spent the afternoon drinking and exploring the river.

Fireside conversations

I could watch fire for hours. Scales appear on the logs and flames consume our marshmallows and I’ve never felt this at peace with the world.

Smores though

I didn’t try to photograph the stars, I was too busy being caught up in them - we found a wide-open clearing (which was not the 50ft away that I’d been promised) and lay down for a while. It was a weird experience lying just off to the side of a road at midnight, but also sort of beautiful.

Eating peaches

The top of Beckler’s Peak is gorgeous - classic PNW. The feeling of having earned the view extended to the peach; eating delicious healthy things felt so rightous after having just hiked 3.5 miles.

Beckler's Peak

I always feel the need to justify writing activity-documenting posts, as opposed to thought-exploring ones. So to appease myself; this last weekend I lived the life of Better!Beth, and practiced some skills I’ve been working on.

  • Balance/Grace: Wandering along a rocky river in slippery flip-flops was a great opportunity to practice activating my core and being aware of my physical presence
  • Tired -> More Effort: Our 7.5mi hike was a lot of fun, but I decided to bring heavy camera gear and a lot of water (and all my shoes are causing me pain at the moment). I have a tendency to struggle with walking in straight lines when I’m tired so I focussed on making my steps strong and consistent, rather than (literally) dragging my feet.
  • Conversation Flow: I’ve been working on navigating conversations out of dragging silences. Mostly this is by coming up with potential topics in advance or by having an activity to fall back to so that conversation drifts towards comfortable silences rather than awkward/expectant ones.

Lessons for next time

  • Reserve a campsite in advance
  • Hand sanitizer is my new best friend - a lot of campgrounds have toilet paper but not soap/sanitizer
  • Water purifier tabs will leave you with less “I didn’t bring enough water” regrets
  • One camera lens is enough for me, anything more is unnecessary weight
  • If we’re bringing cold things we should get a proper esky
  • Headtorches are a smart idea
  • I want a tent that lets light in (sleeping in whilst camping felt super weird)
  • Hammocks are not a good sleeping plan :(