A Tough Year for Solo Camping ~ A look back, a look forward
It is the first week of January 2023 - always a really fun month in my annual camping. Not because I am a winter camper, because I am not. I tried glacier climbing and snow camping once and it was NOT for me. No, January is a big camping month for me because this is when I traditionally book many of my year's solocamping trips. That's a blue sky event, right? Booking some future fun?
I am a person who gets a lot of the fun of an activity out of the process of planning it, and then anticipating it. Making lists and preparing. Dreaming a bit. And, let's face it... in Washington State, the beautiful area of the country in which I live and camp, one needs to have some trips in the hopper on reserve because they are popular places, and you'll miss out if you don't. (I also like to pepper in a spontaneous trip or two as the mood strikes, grabbing a cancellation for an upcoming weekend, as well - but that's another topic for a different entry! :) )
Casting myself back to January 2022, and the trips I booked in January of that year, it didn't go so well. At all. Memorial Day weekend at Fort Flagler State Park rained 95% of the trip, my first ever set-up and take down IN the rain. Not a fan. A June trip for Millersylvania State Park, one of my absolute favorite parks; was sick, postponed until September. During the rescheduled trip, came back a day early due to low spirits, extreme distractedness and an inability to relax. Oh, and heavy smoke in the air causing asthma flare up.
Pictured above and below: Fishing was the only time on my Millersylvania trip that I really relaxed. Something about the concentration it required to cast, undo knotted leaders, tie a fly on, that took me out of my head and put me firmly at the lake, for a bit.
And a late July trip to a new campground for me, nearby Dashpoint State Park, cancelled due to illness AGAIN. 2022 was hard on joy, a real buzzkill. I look to my solocamping for filling my reserves of enjoyment and refreshing my soul and outlook. It was disconcerting when the trips were disappointing, and just... didn't. I really, really worried. Do I no longer love this practice, this process, this special thing?
Is it just... gone?
Pictured: As I meanderhiked and tried to relax, in my present state of mind, this tree looked like a woman with her head down, weeping
There wasn't a way to test it. You feel what you feel, and I was not feeling camping. And I didn't know if it would come back. I didn't know how to encourage it back, when actually camping, itself, wasn't doing it.
And then it was fall, and I wanted to MAYbe do some fall camping, as I love the season and how it looks in this area. But I had other things that crowded in front of it. Important, really important things. I am co-executor for my mom's life wishes, and there are SO MANY HARD THINGS one doesn't even ever know need to be done, or how to do them. Someone very dear and close to me was diagnosed with cancer (their story to tell, not mine, so not delving into it here in more detail) - but a big tailspin, the diagnosis and trying to show up within that, and get through by relying on the fierceness of my love and strength and faith. It seemed sort of irresponsible and frivolous to go camping, in the light of all that heaviness.
Pictured: Junie, Rescue Kitten
I adopted a rescue kitten. I fostered a rescue dog for a week and a half, hoping to adopt him, too, a 3-year dream come true, and yes, dreaming of camping with him. I made the disconcerting and disappointing discovery that I could both love a dog, and not at all be ready in my life for said dog, AND areyoukiddingme apparently I am also ALLERGIC to dogs?! Which seemed like just one more camping dream that was taken away from me. I will not be a solocamping gal with a great dog (and this was a GREAT dog. He was great Pyrenees and Australian Cattle Dog and mutt, goofy and freckled with one floppy ear, and he was a LOT. And I miss him, even though we were not meant to be together.) Was solocamping like Percy? Something I loved that was not, or no longer, meant for me?
Pictured: Percy, foster ALMOST rescue dog
Honestly, I don't know. I guess this is when I find out? But who knows? January 2022, I couldn't have told you ANY of THAT was going to occur, either. So it seems sort of sketchy to try to predict an outcome. Or, really (and maybe this is the lesson) predict anything that could happen in the span of this year.
I guess we'll find out together.
I can tell you this. I received a $100 Washington State Campgrounds Gift Card for Christmas. And I was excited to get it (Right??!! I mean, what an awesome gift! You enjoy it THREE times - when you receive it, when you make your reservation with it and you plan and anticipate and dream about it, and then when you experience it! Hopefully.)
And I am, I think, looking forward to taking a few hours and looking up campgrounds and viewing site pics, and making reservations sometime this month.
I'll keep you posted.
Is this the year Kathy gets her camping groove back? Fingers crossed.