09.18.16//Camping in the rain

I’m campin’ in the rain
just campin’ in the rain
what a glorious feelin’
I’m happy again…
~Gene Kelly

I think that’s how it goes. 😉 I spent the weekend at Wyeth campground, you guessed it, camping in the rain. Unlike my first night of solo-camping, this time I knew the weather forecast was calling for rain before I pitched my tent. I pulled out my backpacking tent, Kokomo, and started to set her up. Then I packed her away again. I decided if I’m going to be spending a couple days in the rain, I want as much dry space as possible (especially with my camping buddy, Charlie). So, I dug out the 4-man REI Kingdom 4 tent and went to work setting it up.

This was the first time I set up the 4-man on my own. The Kingdom 4 tent is almost 70sqft of space, so pitching this tent is (almost) akin to building a tiny house. 😉 Ok, it’s not, really. But the poles are more than twice as long as I am tall, so maneuvering them into the grommets at the base of the tent was a little sporty.

<< Actually, as I was looking up the dimensions of the tent, I found this commentary on the REI website. I hope you can appreciate it as much as I did. 😉 >>

Q: Can one person set up this tent alone, or does it require at least two people?
A (from REIservice): The Kingdom 4 Tent can be set up by one person provided they are tall enough to reach the center pole and clip the tent body. The peak height of this tent is 6 foot 3 inches.

I honestly thought I had mixed up the order of a couple steps while I was setting up the tent though I never would have admitted it at the time. Measuring in at a towering 5’3″ (on a good day), I definitely struggled to reach the center pole, just as the above Q&A mentioned. In hindsight, next time, I would clip the tent to the center pole before inserting the ends of the poles in the grommets and raising the roof. Surely it is a better idea than stepping on the sides of the tent to pull the center pole down within my reach.

<< I am nothing, if not resourceful. 😉 >>

Anyway, once the tent was set up and the car was unloaded, Charlie and I retired to the tent for a little R & R. I had been looking forward to this weekend of solo-camping, even with the rain in the forecast. Spending a couple of days in the quiet solitude of the woods is just the kind of thing that feeds my soul. I opened the tent ‘windows’, picked up The Shadow of the Wind, and quickly escaped to the streets of Barcelona, where I spent the remainder of the evening.

Usually when I camp, I like to keep the hours of the sun. But, Friday night, I just couldn’t help myself; I used a little booklight so I could enjoy more of the story. Despite reading well into the night, Charlie and I woke up early Saturday morning. (More correctly, I woke up early and then woke up sleeping beauty-pup. 😉 ) That turned out to be a stroke of luck, as it allowed us to take a walk and return to the tent for breakfast before the rain began. The rain started around 8am and continued all. day. long. I’m definitely not complaining; it’s just that after years of living in SoCal, I wasn’t used to that much rain. I kept the ‘windows’ open on the vestibule side of the tent so we could continue to enjoy the cool, fresh air that brought with it the sweet scent of the rain. It was safe to say that fall had arrived, even if a few days early!

Charlie and I snuggled together, while I continued with the weekend’s itinerary: reading, reading, and more reading…with a few podcasts and some writing mixed in. Seriously. Some may find that to be a dreadfully boring way to spend the day, and even I wouldn’t want to do it every day, but it was truly an amazing way to spend my Saturday. I listened to the rain endlessly patter on the rainfly and finished reading The Shadow of the Wind. Oh my goodness! What a book! I will share more thoughts on the book at the end of the month, but do yourself a favor – go ahead and pick up a copy now. 😉

As I mentioned, it literally rained all day long. It wasn’t until the rain stopped around 10pm that I realized just how loud the sound of the rain was on the roof of the tent. The resulting silence could definitely be described as the calm after the storm. And, somehow, the rainless silence was almost louder (if that makes any sense) than the rain had been.  As much as I enjoyed the rainy day, I was pleased the rain had stopped and I crossed my fingers the tent would dry before I had to pack it up on Sunday. There is nothing fun about packing up a wet tent! Trust me. This is a lesson I learned firsthand last year.

On Sunday morning, I took the opportunity to make some coffee – my first mug of the weekend. In addition to keeping the hours of the sun when I camp, I also find that sleeping in the fresh air yields waking up feeling unbelievably fresh and energized, negating the need for coffee. I still didn’t need the caffeine Sunday morning, but instead wanted the warmth of the coffee. As I waited for the JetBoil to heat the water, I chatted with Fred (the campground host). This, the opportunity to meet people I otherwise wouldn’t meet, is my favorite part of camping! Fred is an older gentleman who spent 22 of his younger years serving in the US Air Force. He stood with me as I made my coffee, telling me about the different places he’s lived over the years – Alaska being his favorite, in case you wanted to know. I enjoyed his company and found it pretty cool that Fred continues to serve the community volunteering as a campground host around the country. It was with some reluctance that I packed up our things Sunday afternoon, but I know I’ll be camping in the rain again before too long.

I’m back in Hood River now, but I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend of camping in the rain. Between the spacious shelter provided by my tent and the warmth provided by my cozy sleeping bag (and, the world’s best snuggle buddy), I was able to enjoy the change of the seasons while staying dry and warm. Embracing the weather, instead of surrendering to it, was the difference between a miserable weekend of camping and a weekend like the one I just enjoyed. It’s all a matter of perspective. 🙂

~malama pono~

18 thoughts on “09.18.16//Camping in the rain

  1. Do you make those trips often? I live in Oregon and am considering a 3 month trip.

    • The roadtrip home (to San Diego) from Oregon was the last lengthy roadtrip I’ve been on. I’ve been tied up with work pretty much since then. I’m itchin’ go hit the road, though, so maybe I should start making some plans. Where are you thinking about going for 3 months?
      PS. I’m a bit jealous you live in Oregon. I *LOVE* Hood River and the whole Columbia River Valley. I miss the trees, the waterfalls, and Salt & Straw. 🙂

      • Cool. I live in Southern O’regan. I want to get through Yosemite, the Redwoods and Joshua Tree -but Joshua Tree is a long haul.

      • All good picks! Joshua Tree is quite a haul from Oregon. I’ve only spent one night there myself, in a thunderstorm. It was my first night of solo camping, so I hold it near and dear anyway, but since it was close to home it was definitely worth the short trip. I don’t know if I’d make the drive from OR for it…but, I suppose, it depends on if you’ll be able to go hiking. I had my pup with me, so I was relegated to the campgrounds and paved areas. The rainbows the morning after were awesome, but there’s no guarantee of rain for your trip. All of that being said, I totally think Crater Lake is worth the drive…so, I guess it depends on what you like? NorCal is more my speed. I like trees. 🙂

  2. I love trees too. Love big magestic pieces of nature. My work allows me to do this stuff. I am just feeling a little chicken I guess… I’m in shape but still 44. Cataracts could develop at any moment. Then I’ll be another “into the wild story”

  3. Good luck with your work and your next adventure. 🦋. Going to perhaps explore some more travel blogs.
    (sorry i don’t post my actual email on random blogs, I get weird spam with my work)

  4. Hi Courtney, If I said something to trouble you my apologies. I am not an expert online, I just ran into your posts searching for travel bloggers and enjoyed them. Good luck to you, that is a great story you blogged here. No more posts from me. Good luck on your next challenge.

    • No worries! I’ve not been offended in any way. I work weekends, so I’ve been quite busy the past few days. I wish you luck on your trip! Let me know if you end up sharing your journey…I’d love to follow along.

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