I Went Camping Last Night

Ruth sitting at the entrance to her tent with her backpack propped nearby. It's sunny and she is gazing off toward the sunset.

I did. Before you get all uppity, I did it right outside my back door. In my back yard.

Women Who Hike is hosting a weekend of Stay at Home camping. I’d done an indoor camp at home a week ago, but it wasn’t quite the same. This time I talked myself into setting up my tent. I knew it would be chilly, but that’s not the first time I’ve camped in the cold. I made a risotto with a sausage and some red peppers that felt as close to trail food as it could and poured myself a glass of Happy Camper wine. I grabbed my camping quilt and headed for the backyard for my dinner.

It’s also No Man’s Land Film Festival’s Virtual Festival weekend. I have been wanting to try and to get to see some of these films that I haven’t seen through other venues. I was able to get a ticket for Friday and Saturday night. I settled into my chair with dinner and fired up the movies for the night while I ate dinner and watched the sun go down.

The night’s movies started with one of my recent favorites, a collaboration with Patti Gonia and REI titled Everything To Lose. It’s poignancy was biting in light of our world right now. The experience flows from short film to short film. There is the story of Women Who Hike Ambassador Melody and her daughter Ruby, who’s relationship has been enhanced through hiking. There’s a beautiful film called Chasing the Sublime about two women who swim in unusual conditions that put them in the path of discomfort and risk. So many films with remarkable beauty. It was a lovely way to end my week.

As the movies ended and the darkness settled in, I climbed into my sleeping bag and listened to the relative quiet. I live near a city street that is busy, though much less than it would be if there weren’t a stay at home order in place. As the night deepened I finally feel asleep. I can’t say I slept well. Sure I was warm and comfortable. But much like my times in campgrounds or on trail it takes a day or two before I fully let go into the security of my little nest that is my tent or my hammock. To release into the comfort of nature and trust that she will provide for me all that I need.

A photo of Ruth inside her tent in the early morning. She is wearing a black stocking cap and is nestled into her sleeping bag.

As I woke to the mixed sounds of birds chirping, cars on the road and a squirrel scurrying across the top of the fence, I took in the cold air and the warmth of my sleeping bag. For the first time in weeks I felt calm. Happy, relaxed and safe. I didn’t want to get up.

Eventually I gave up my cozy spot and headed into the house for my new routine of Saturday morning yoga. Of all the things I’ve been grateful for in the past month, this might be one of the experiences that I’ll reflect back on for what it gave me that I least expected. May you find the same out there.


Photo of a group of hikers on a sunny day in a field heading towards a wooded area. The photographer has taken the photo from behind the group.

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