Oh sure, I like a nice hotel, an inn, a B&B, a place with a real toilet and room to shower, but hot water and comfort aside (and I speak for both Thoreau and myself here), there’s really nothing so restorative as a week in the wilderness, under the Milky Way, reading and writing among jittering aspens, searching for the elusive left-handed windshifter and fixing meals to songs about trucks and beer and especially little lady bugs on little yellow blankets…which, regrettably, I can now sing along with… on the only radio station that comes in clearly: Country Something Something FM; nothing so affirming as knowing one can survive on a small amount of fresh, local food, cooked on an open fire made with tinder and twigs and logs collected, sawed by hand (splinters removed with a sewing kit needle); the stars at night, a glass of red, a cup of tea, a handful of stones in an empty Unicorn kidney beans can to shake occasionally (due to bear warnings, not to mention the sight early one a.m. of a big black furry paw pulling at branches on the serviceberry bush outside the door—two metres from the door—of our rented trailer).
Which is exactly why I don’t do tents.
The deer were there too. This year a family of five: mommy deer—not thrilled about our big camper thing but tolerant—who tossed a few as long as you remember who was here first looks our way; twin babies, but for a torn right ear on one, who really really wanted to come closer but I worried mommy deer might have something to say about that so gave my ever-present Unicorn can a little shake (was considering wearing it on a string around my neck); papa stag, who merely followed or led or did whatever he was told to do and seemed mostly concerned with the size of his new antlers, stopping to let us have a good look at them from various angles; there was also another mid-sized adult tagging along, rather unwillingly I thought, which I took to be a visiting aunt. Numbers are significantly down, due, I suspect, to proximity of big black furry paws—only the very brave and the slightly witless linger (and deer aunts who are there under duress, possibly to attend some torn ear’d deer niece or nephew’s birthday).
Then there was the bread.
Loaves of it made by a guy with a donkey that turned the grist mill that ground the flour that was then mixed with fresh mountain spring water, sea salt. Sourdough. Toasted on the fire, buttered, with a slab of jalapeno cheese, slices of fat red onion or made into a pan-fried salami/turkey/romaine sandwich or as accompaniment to red kidney bean soup in chicken broth with chopped coriander, carrots and garlic. We had bread with eggs, bread with fruit, bread salad with yellow tomatoes and garlic bread and green salad with croutons; we had bread with bread and bread with jam and juice and by the end of the week, all that was left of the entire food supply was one tiny crust of donkey milled bread (somehow we’d managed to ration down to the last slice of shallot), which crust I packed and ate on the flight home.
As for the Milky Way—it’s usually directly and conveniently above our campsite but this time the nights were either too cloudy, too bright with the moon, or too windy dark and bear scarey. So, like the serendipitous way of the world, today, on returning to emails, we find this amazing time lapse video waiting for us, sent by someone who knew nothing of our starry starry quest.
Looks bad. Tastes good. I think this is roasted veg: carrots, peppers, garlic. Might be potatoes.Notice the temperature control lid/no lid technique… which we’re not sure made a blind bit of difference but we felt like coureur des bois for having thought of it.
Elusive left-handed windshifter.
Members of our extended family.
The loaf we brought home.
Thinking next time maybe we’ll get a couple of these for our campsite… makes the feet look so pretty.