Ahhh, sleeping out under the stars. Such a fulfilling thing to do, uh that is if you like cold noses, strange noises, and the hard lumpy ground.
Yet there is something about waking up in the morning in the fresh dawn and looking about as the sun slowly lightens, dimly brightening, casting shadows upon the rocks and pebbles as it rises.
A word painting about camping...
Traveling far, or in your own backyard there is something about camping.
Preparations to go camping can be fun and stressful as well. You pack all of the imaginable things you might need, to find that you don't really need it and that you've left what you really needed at home.
We usually travel, the vibration of the car lulling the travelers into a soft reverie, after the kids get sick of poking at each other and fighting. As we are driving I watch as the road zips past, looking down at the pavement, following the white lines.
Water and chips are passed around, I eat a few but find a bag of carrots and crunch on them as I am counting the metal poles, counting, counting, until my eyes get tired. So I snatch the pillow from the back and lean it up against the car frame, akwardly snuggling into it as I close my droopy eyes.
I contemplate the car handle sticking out and try to position my arm against the arm rest. I reposition my body, moving my legs in cramped quarters, surrounded by stuff on the floor. Somehow I go to sleep and I awake to find that we are still zipping along past majestic pine forests, rocky outcroppings, fields, farms and little city's with only a few stop lights.
We eventually turn off onto a gravel road, mostly maintained, yet still filled with bumps and little pits in the dirt. It is impossible to sleep, a yawning stiff awareness comes over you as your jerked this way and that.
The tires crunch along hundreds of little rocks being scraped in between the wheels and occasionally you can feel the pings on the floor of the car as some of them are flung up wildly by the tires.
You may be at first ascending a small trail, winding around and around, dizzy as you glance over the side. Then suddenly you may just as well be heading down, feeling almost as though the wheels of the tires are slipping as the driver slowly breaks and steadies the vehicle down the trail.
When you reach your destination the confines of the car suddenly seem to be so great, carefully you open the car door and smell the dust that is still gliding past from the road and the smell of pine off in the distance.
Finally you can stretch, reaching up towards the sun, everyone goes off in search of the bathroom. As they all leave I walk a ways towards the water lapping against the shoreline, the smell of it comes to me as the smell of the dust fades away.
As the others are heading down I go back up to use the restroom, my feet crunching against the gravel, slipping a bit. I pick my way through the weeds and the rocks, breathing a bit harder than I thought I would in the high mountain air.
The door to the toilets is heavy, swinging on thick metal hinges, you pull it open from the high handle. Then you find a reminder of how our ancestors all used to go, a nice toilet seat, suspended high above an airy hole. The room is freshened by the smell of a disinfectant tablet, like the smell of moth balls.
After feeling the breeze underneath, it feels great to get out of there to walk back down the trail again. Stepping carefully again to avoid sliding, and stepping in rough scrub brush, on small mountian flowers or even the occasional cactus, I walk haltingly downward leaving a trail of dust in my wake.
The water though, the sounds of the water, lapping up against the shoreline, freshening the air, it is worth it to have come.