The days are still warm, but there is an edge in the coolness of the night that lets us know summer is loosening her grip, and autumn is just around the corner. This September, as summer is winding down I ventured to the Pacific Northwest for a couple camping trips. The first was a backpacking trip, something I am accustomed to. The finite space of backpacking makes planning and packing easier somehow. A game of Tetris played with nylon and down, freeze dried meals and titanium cookware. After all the necessities are in you may have room for a comfort item or two, for this trip it was a fishing rod and a swim mask (okay it's always a swim mask) My partner opts for a journal and a good book.
Making camp while backpacking is a practiced habit that comes easily. Spot Chosen, Tent up, airmat filled, sleeping bag unfurled, hammock hung, kitchen arranged, and food tied high away from bears. The simplicity of the gear, their honed purpose makes setting up camp take moments. The backpacking gear I design I try to have it be simple enough to use for the first time, in the dark, while hungry, though I hope that will not be the case. The “work” of camping done I dive into the leisure of it. The chill water takes my breath away, how do kids swim for so long even when it's cold?
For me, venturing out into the wilderness is a chance to meditate on the basics: Food, Clothing, and shelter. A romantic, if optimistic, view that no matter how bad things get I can always return to nature. That I am as much a part of the natural world as I choose to be. Floating downstream, the canopy of leaves and needles overhead, my tidy dry and warm campsite on the river bank, miles from the sound of an engine, or cell reception I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the end of summer.