I finally got my cast off my right arm mid-August and I was definitely feeling like I had not camped enough this summer. I had started physio and I was feeling like the wrist would not be a problem if I went off for a few days by myself. Sharbot Lake is about 90 minutes from home and I had found a nice looking walk-in site right on the water.
The weekend was going to be beautiful, but getting pretty cool in the evening so my only real concern was staying warm enough. A good opportunity to try the sleeping bag liner I picked up earlier in the summer, and I also brought another sleeping bag along to use as a blanket.
So after work on Friday, off I went. Arrived at the park west of Perth around 6pm and had my tarp and tent up and supper underway by 7pm. It was a nice fall evening, and a good fire kept me warm as the sun went down. Since it is dark by around 8pm now, I was ready for bed by 9. I did not have to hang food, just had to walk up to the truck to store things overnight. In anticipation of a cold 8c night, I had a base layer, sleeping bag liner, bag, plus another sleeping bag to use as a blanket. As it turned out, sometime in the night I got rid of all of it and was comfortable just in the sleeping bag (which is definitely a summer bag). The park is close to Hwy 7 so I did hear highway noise through the night, the only other noise was the odd acorn falling. I managed to sleep in until after 8am, likely because there was nobody else camping around me.
Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day. Breakfast was pancakes with blueberry honey and percolator coffee. I had been on a bit of a slant during the night so I adjusted the tent a bit, took my time and wasn’t on Black Lake with my kayak until close to 11am. Had a nice paddle followed by lunch and a rest in the hammock. I was reading a book I had picked up in my work lunchroom, and dragonflies were all around me. With a warm sun I was soon napping.
By mid-afternoon I decided I should get the kayak moved to Sharbot Lake and do a bit more paddling. It was good to know that my arm could handle getting the kayak on and off the truck with no issues (this is how I do it). It was a great calm afternoon and I ended up paddling and fishing for a couple of hours.
I had decided to eat earlier today so had a fire going on stuffed peppers warming on the grill by 5:30. A tasty supper followed by just relaxing by the fire with my book and a glass of wine. By the time it got dark I was stargazing with the help of the SkyMap app on my phone, with Saturn and Antares standing out.
I thought I would be warmer tonight so slept in just my summer sleeping bag – but I did end up pulling the second bag over me as it did get chilly! Shoulders and hips were a bit sore so that may be an issue going forward. It was a much quieter night with less road noise. It is hard to sleep in once the sun is up, but it did warm up quickly so I just lazed in the tent. Breakfast today was just oatmeal and coffee, and I just soaked up the morning sun.
Packing up went quickly and I was on the road home by around 11am. It was another beautiful day, and a nice relaxing drive home – no trailer to pull!
Good things about this trip:
- the $8 gear hanger I picked up in Maine was fantastic. It can be hung vertically or horizontally, and you can clip just about anything to it.
- the fold up “stadium chair” from Dick’s was also great, a padded backrest anywhere you want it.
- no freeze dried food!
When I arrived home I was chatting with Denise and my mother in law about this trip, and m-i-l asked why I liked doing this. Good question. Why go sleep outdoors on hard ground, wear the same clothes for days, cook on a tiny stove or a fire, and wonder about every noise you hear in the night.
I’m not really sure. I’d like to say I am totally comfortable doing this, but I’m not. Every noise in the night has me thinking a bear is out there. I do enjoy the planning, set up, cooking, kayaking, and just being outside. So maybe that little bit of fear is part of the fun. Next spring I am going to do some more paddle in camping. I’ll be 60, and still learning and building up a comfort level. Maybe when the zombies come, I’ll be ready, but probably not.