Sunday, April 27, 2014

Preparing For My First Camping Experience

I'm starting to get excited.  I'm almost fifty-one and have never gone camping but in just under two weeks that will change.  I'm going on my first overnight camping experience.  I'm calling it an 'experience' instead of a 'trip' since I'll be camping only forty minutes from my house.  Forty minutes doesn't sound big enough to be labeled a trip.

If everything works out I will be camping at one of Hitchcock Nature Center's back country campsites located on Westridge Trail.  By everything I mean availability and weather.  The back country campsites are first come first serve and can only be reserved same day.  If there is rain in the forecast I may postpone - not sure I want my first camping experience to be in rain.

It's going to be a fairly bare bones camping experience.  I have a one man tent (the Tarptent Notch), a sleeping pad (the Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite), and a sleeping bag (the Eureka Hoback).  This sleeping bag is not that warm - only rated for 60°F (15.6°C).  I bought it originally for the Camino where cold temperatures are not an issue in albergues.  I think the bag, combined with the sleeping bag liner I used on the Caminos and some warm long underwear, will be good enough for early May camping.

I think I'm almost ready.  I've sealed the seams for my tent so I'm ready for rain if there is any.  I still need to treat my sleeping bag and bag liner with insect repellent.  I went up to Hitchcock this weekend and people were picking ticks off their dog.  I don't want to pick ticks.

I won't have a stove.  I have one on order but it won't arrive in time ... a victim of my procrastination.  I'll be having a cold evening meal instead.  A hot camping meal will have to wait for my second camping trip later this summer.  The campsites on Westridge Trail have nice fire rings so I may bring in some wood to make a nice fire.

My excitement is building.  The campsites have great views to the west towards the sunset and the  Missouri River valley.  I'm hoping for a clear night with lots of stars.  I'm packing in my camera and tripod to see if I can get some nice nighttime pictures.  I can't wait to do this.  We'll see if I'm as excited after a cold night out in the 'wild'.

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