“Home is where your heart is !”, a quote that is spewed all over internet and beyond. If that is true, why all the mortgages, mansions, stress, home decor, all those dresses in my closet, ….. I wonder. How much do we really need ? This is something I have been struggling with and been reading a lot about. Camping helped me find some answers. We need very little. I keep learning this lesson and forgetting it as soon as I get back to my routine life. Hoping its different this time. A small backpack could get me through 10 days.We packed a backpack with …. A stove. Two bowls. Two mugs. A tent and a sleeping bag. Some beans and noodles. A rain coat each….. And set out to explore the forest.
The promise of a fire pit, a picnic bench and a flat ground to pitch tent on, became luxuries. There was a night where our camp was on a slope and we couldnt stop sliding in our tent when asleep. Its hillarious to think about now but was frustrating. We pitched so many tents this month that we can do the job in under 2 minutes. I remember having to google how to do it two years ago and we are now pros at it. They had a few sites with showers, laundry and dishwashing sink. Having a hot shower after a day or two, after all the walking was true bliss. And recipe for a perfectly rejuvenating night’s sleep.
Backcountry is something I have been absolutely enamoured with. My favourite environmentalist couple Charles and Meg are always going on about their adventures and I had to have one myself. Extremely long trails that go beyond day trips, unmarked campsites away from animal territories, food poles to avoid your food from being stolen by bears and ABSOLUTE WILDERNESS.
Polenta and chilli is my absolutely favorite camping meal ever ! And comfort food. More than cooking, its felt more like I was warming it. Other options that we enjoyed a lot : oatmeal with spices, mac and cheese with masala, spanish rice with refried beans, dehydrated egg powder and kidney beans & PBJs ( although I don’t like gluten, hunger rules). Our little stove held up great although boiling water became an exercise in how long one can go without complaining when really hungry. I remember my greatgrandma cooking over open flame. I dont think I could go on doing this for a lifetime. Smoke free stoves, yes please !
Yes, I want to look nice when the bison and the elk see me. No reason to look sloppy. My Danner hiking boots were a life saver keeping me warm and dry. I wore my everyday stretchy jeans and linen shirts with a jacket when needed. I packed a set of yoga pants and a hoodie for cold nights so that I don’t wear my dirty clothes in the tent. Special love to the nice woolen socks from an REI garage sale. They really do work when in comparison to all the cheap synthetic socks I owned over the years.
Carrying assorted products is cumbersome but long trips need something to help out. Vitamin C infused wipes definitely help when you are too tired to wash up at the end of the day. Dr. Bonners is an all in one soap : toothpaste, soap, shampoo, dishwashing liquid and detergent. The rest, are the usual. I wear an antique navajo turquoise bracelet as a charm whenever I go hiking. No idea why. Just a habit.
We would come back exhausted every day. Prepare meals, eat and sleep. If we had some extra time before sunset, I would read a little and Harsha would pour over his maps preparing for the next day. It feels like we spent a lot of time lighting fires, boiling water and cleaning dishes at the end of everyday. I wanted to wake up and do yoga outdoors but never did. Next time maybe.
I may have a tendency to make all of this look glamorous. With carefully edited pictures and words. But we struggled. First night of sleeping on the floor was awful. The soot from the cookware == my hands looking like I worked in the coal mine. The smoke from the fires made my contact lens burn. Early sunrises made me an early waker inspite of being tired and sleepy. But I was getting used to it and don’t think I complained much at all. It rained putting out our camp fire, preventing us from cooking food. There were nights when it rained hard. The outdoors were roaring. It got me scared at first. And then in awe with the extent and power of nature.