Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice Camping

On a whim, I went camping at a boat-in site at Chena Lakes. I was yearning for some late night kayaking and solstice seemed the right time to do it. I threw caution to the wind to my usual check-list style of packing. I typically over pack for camping, wanting to be prepared for any given situation. This time I thought, "Nah, I know what I'm doing". This should have been a red flag. I need to remember that whenever I hear myself saying those words, it's a sure sign that no, I do not. Here are the results of my thinking I knew what I was doing.
I nearly went blind taking this picture. Shortly
after taking this I took off my sunglasses only
to realize I was a bit too close to a moose.
I thought she was a bush.

1) Always take a sleeping bag even if it has been blazing hot and you're sure you won't need it. When the weather changes and it rains, you'll be glad. I had the blanket with me that I keep in the car for emergency's. I was freezing in my tent all night. What I wouldn't have given for my fluffy, down sleeping bag.

2) Always take a pair of long pants. See #1. 

3) Mosquitos know no boundaries. The meaning of "private areas" is lost on mosquitos. Whole body DEET slathering is advised. Just be careful around mucus membranes. That's all I'm going to say.

4) Always take ALL of your kayaking gear. I didn't bring my spray skirt with me because a) Chena Lakes rarely has wind that creates a situation where you would need a spray skirt to keep water out of the cockpit, b) it has been too dang hot for a spray skirt. This was a mistake. As I sat shivering in front of the fire Friday morning knowing I needed to leave but not wanting to get into the cold boat, I thought, "Oh, but I'll be warm once in my boat because I'll have my spray skirt and it always keeps my legs warm." Then I remembered about throwing caution to the wind. It was a cold, five minute, paddle back to the boat launch.

5) Watch a summer solstice sunset if you can. Spectacular.

6) I saw two moose and they both eyed me suspiciously.

7) Nothing special about this other than it turned out to be a cool picture, totally by accident.

8) I scared a mama duck as I was trying to distance myself from a moose. The poor thing was going bezerk keeping all the babies together.

9) It was a treat to see so many flowers in bloom. The color palette around Fairbanks grows monotonous after awhile: white, green, gray, blue. Pretty, but once you see other colors you realize how devoid of color your life has been.

10) Saw the almost full moon at the same time I was watching sunset (which was at 12:47am).

11) I managed to not start a forest fire.

Kayaking, camping, and campfires -- separately each is good for the soul. Put all three together? Miraculous. Even if you are freezing and bug-bit.