Most people get ready for bed by walking before the mirror, brushing their teeth and letting the days events wash down the drain. Instead, just a few nights ago, I walked down to a creek while pondering my thoughts of the day as the the daylight diminished behind the craggy horizon. I did so in order to fill up a few liters of water, so that I could rehydrate my wine-kissed lips and boil a cup of tea for the morning.
For the last week, I’ve camped in the Deschutes National Forest. And not the sort of down-by-the-river-in-a-van-camping. I’m camping by the river, sure, but there’s no van… Not yet anyways. Instead it’s just me, my mountain bike, my tent, a couple camp luxuries like a small backpacking stove that can simmer (and boil water faster than my beer-can stove) and my phone to provide me a with a few tunes and a talk show. That sort of luxury.
I commute to work five days a week, 8 miles each way, partially on an easy mountain bike trail, then a forestry road and then a direct shot into downtown. It’s a pretty simple life. But why? Well, although it sounds contradictory, I’m too lazy to look for a place to rent at this point, and more importantly, Ill be house-sitting by the middle of the month and the idea of saving two months rent and buying a whitewater IK and other toys is much more alluring. And what’s rad about this is that exercise is built into my daily commute, so is sunshine and a view of the glorious mountains I live so close to.
I wake up in the morning to the sound of birds while light trickles across my tent. I then emerge to clean mountain air and relax onto a big ol’ backrest of a tree, where I boil some water for a good, strong cup of black tea and recline to read, write or simply gaze out into the forest. Life can be that simple.
And I’m not the only one out here who has a job and active lifestyle and passion for good food and good beer. There’s a few other campers. I know because I pass this one fella, a young guy like myself, who has set up base camp and commutes to work mostly via car, but sometimes bike. He has a tent, hammock and solar shower. I’m not particularly envious of the shower because I’m fortunate to have one at work, but man, that hammock. Yes, it’s decided, that’s on my list of luxuries I must have.
But if you had to ask: am I looking forward to housesitting my friends home next week, and another after that….? Well, of course I am. But that’s not the point of it, now is it?
And now I find myself, on my weekend, having hiked 6 wholesome hours up to one of my favorite places in the world. Beneath Broken Top, in a small thawed out island, I recline back on a rock and enjoy yet another good cup of black tea, tho a mug full of wine honestly sounds more appetizing, but that i forgot back in town. The sun is still an hour away from setting and I can’t think of anywhere else I would want to be.
I hiked part of the way up to this gem with a couple of exceptional people, two other women who like myself find themselves obsessively drawn to the wilderness, to the way of the trail, and the life that surrounds it. As we hiked past gushing waterfalls, heavy from the spring’s snowmelt, we climbed higher towards the wilderness and a blanket of snow. I have to laugh as there we were, three females whose collective thru-trail miles exceed 25,000 easy, and there we were walking in the wrong direction, up the wrong creek and wondering when and where we’d run into the forestry road. Eventually we found our way, finding fun in the just-slightly-misplaced navigation.
Good times, ladies. And good times just being outdoors, besides creeks and mountains and all the good stuff Mother Nature has to offer.