In which my prior week’s unrealistic anticipation leads me to all manner of spot-search silliness, and very little sleep…
It’s been a hot week in north Texas. It isn’t yet the truly hot stuff we’ll have next month, but it certainly was a strong signal that delightful spring weather is over. Normally, I’d probably wait until October to camp again, but I decided to try an experiment to see if it might be feasible to stretch my camping season another month or so. I’d be smart and find a camp site with a refreshing on-shore breeze.
When I arrived at the camp ground at 7pm, all the sites I imagined in my prior week daydreaming episodes were already taken. My first camp site, the one I’m not even going to count, was stagnant. It didn’t even get off the bike before pedaling back to the ranger station to request a trade. My first true camp site was also a disappointment, but I tried to roll with the circumstances. I set-up my hammock in the path of the only moving air I could find, had my dinner, and retired as darkness took over. Lying sleepy in my hammock, I wondered when it would cool off enough to sleep. I also realized that it was after 10pm, the gate would be closed, and no new folks would be coming it to claim sites. I’m not sleeping anyway, so I could pack my things and move to a new site.
The second site was about a mile and a half away. It was a treeless area on a sort of peninsula, but had a covered picnic table, and a strong breeze. I set up my hammock diagonally on the cover support columns above the picnic table. I enjoyed the coolness, the gentle rocking, and soon fell asleep. After awhile, the temperature had dropped and I pulled the sheet I brought in place of a sleeping bag over me. A little while later, I stirred from my sleep to eerie quietness. The wind had stopped completely. But since I was comfortably cool, I quickly went back to sleep. In another little while, I was blasted by wind gusts. It wasn’t a breeze. I was being buffeted by strong gusts. My hammock was swinging wildly. It was a little before 5am and I was lying awake thinking about how nice it would be to have a quieter place to sleep. I’m not sleeping anyway, so I could pack my things and move to a new site.
So I performed my second camp pack up and move in darkness. I found an inland site not far from my original site, but at a higher elevation and a slight breeze. Since it was cooler now, and I was quite tired, finding a site with a couple of decent trees was my main objective. It was quiet, cool, with just the whisper of a breeze. I lost consciousness almost immediately and slept well until the sun came up and shined in my eyes. It was getting warm again and I started thinking of breakfast. Wouldn’t it be nice to have breakfast in a shady spot where I could see the water? I wasn’t sleeping anyway, so I could pack my things and move to a new site.
I remembered a picnic spot I’ve used often for summer day trips. It has a nice shade, a water view, and a couple of good trees for hammock lounging. It was almost back to the camp site on the peninsula. My old reliable picnic site didn’t disappoint. It was the shade, view, and breakfast set-up convenience I was seeking. My breakfast wonderful, and I had finally found that lake shore breeze I had longed for all week. So I brewed one more cup of coffee, packed my things, and pedaled home.
I learned I CAN extend my camping season. It’s all about finding the right spot.