I shook off the pattern of weekend existence - simply passing time with various distractions and chores whilst waiting for Monday to roll around - to join technomonk
for a camping trip along Skate Creek with an extended crowd of his folk. Although it was not my intention to get rat-arsed inebriated or act like a wildman in the woods, I desperately needed to mellow out, reflect on shit, and generally escape suburbia to shake out some cobwebs. The soaring temperatures also made the prospect of camping at cooler altitudes next to glacial water an attractive proposition.
I find my emotional state becomes closely tied to my physical comfort levels when camping. I go through three stages of being when camping. Like any story these are the start, middle and ending of each camping trip. The first stage is an extension of setting up camp and exploring one's immediate environment; it is the immersion into an environment one is not immediately used to. One has to adapt to the loss of creature comforts. For example, there is the welcoming committee of wasps, mosquitoes, horseflies, spiders, ants and more that bring those first moments of regret. As I deal with the growing discomfort of sweat soaked clothing and dirt covering everything including myself I also sink into the desire to quit and head straight home. Some never get past this stage and end up having either a thoroughly miserable time, or finding the excuse to bail out and head home.
The second stage is the acceptance of the situation and its accompanying discomforts. It might be a tolerance for enduring the outdoors, albeit temporarily, that I find within myself but it is shaded by periods of activity (such as exploring, taking photographs, reading, eating, and so forth), passing moods of boredom, and the interaction with others such as playing cards or just chatting. This is the essential part of any camping trip as one can only find appreciation for what camping provides during this time.
Finally, and typically the morning of the last day, the physical discomfort is put aside to accommodate the overwhelming emotion that comes with breaking camp. The single thought and desire to 'just get back home to a hot shower' possess one's drive to hurriedly collapse the tent, gather equipment and trash, and leave the campsite in as good if not better state than one found it.
I was rather introverted and reflective during my camping trip. I needed it despite the crowd around me. It may have been better that I had gone camping solitary but I would have missed out on enjoying everyone's company during the weekend. I think they didn't mind that I was quiet and a little reclusive at times. During one of my more convivial and chattier moments I did elucidate my reflections on camping above into a shorter, more philosophical punch line, "Camping is a good analogy for the human condition in general; without enduring the suffering and physical discomfort you can't appreciate the beauty of the surroundings you are in."