[Note: As the shock of the American election results slowly retreats, and I gradually regain the desire to write about our trip this summer (an experience which seems far, far away and a long, long time ago), I once again pick up pen, err computer keyboard, and attempt to relive parts of this amazing 44-day cross-country odyssey.]
Arriving at your campsite, you experience a feeling similar to turning up at the front door for a blind date.
Will your spot be spacious while still cozy, adequately separated from your neighbours? Will these neighbours be quiet or will they make noise until the very minute official “Quiet time” arrives, or worse, continue afterwards? (“Quiet time” can be either 10 pm or 11 pm, both past my preferred bedtime.)
On top of that, there are the truly unexpected unpleasantries, something which occurred early in the trip at Lake Superior National Park: Will the smoke of your neighbours’ campfires burn your eyes while you lie in your tent nearby?
How will the mosquitoes be? Will they be a minor nuisance or a marauding army, biting away on every exposed part of your body and then some, successfully getting through sock or T-shirt?
Then there’s the weather… You’re obviously more exposed and vulnerable to rain at a campsite. Will your tent leak at two o’clock in the morning when a downpour begins? (Answer: Yes.) How will you feel when thunder and lightning begin to shake the sides of your relatively flimsy tent? (Answer: Scared.)
Still, the rewards of camping often outweigh other forms of accommodation, which are, among others, being in the great outdoors; preparing, cooking and eating outside; enjoying a star-filled night sky and a comfy sleeping bag all to yourself; the special joy of fresh coffee in the morning by the campfire. All these lead to more blissful memories than your average hotel room, even the luxury ones.
And what does Naomi think? Until camping fatigue sets in, I daresay she enjoys camping more than I do!