The old guys across the way looked on in awe, somewhat startled to see us donning fake mustaches and posing for pictures with martini’s in hand. Next up, several rounds of ladderball, still with cocktails in hand. Yes, it’s right, we have taken camping to a whole different level!
One of my pet peeves is people who are picky, not as in “I really hate tripe”, mostly because I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, but those who think things must always be a certain way or deem it not any good. Although Jim and I are just as guilty, occasionally, as the next person in being judgemental, I am always proud of the fact that we are extremely flexible. Years of travel teaches you that. It teaches you that not only do you not know a whole hell of a lot, but also that all of the variances in the world are what really makes it worth living. Whatever the situation, we tend to blend.
This past weekend we went camping, normal gang in tow, at Le Page park on the ever-scenic Columbia Gorge. It’s a favorite spot. An extraordinarily 2 hour drive along the Gorge, past towering rock formations and waterfalls, brings us to the campground, offering up a mere 22 sites, electrical hook ups, excellent water supply, waterview sites, hiking, a swimming beach. It is, simply, EASY.
To a much greater degree than our friends, Jim and I are completely appreciative of getting out into nature. We backpack, hike, and search out remote camping experiences. That does NOT mean we don’t appreciate an easy waterfront campground, set on the gorgeous Columbia Gorge, drinking martini’s and playing games with friends. We were all mentally drained from the various challenges in our individual lives and no one was looking for much more than good food, drinks, and the comfort of old friends.
We slept in, napped, ate well, drank more than we should have, and completely and thoroughly relaxed, A rousing game of martini fueled ladderball amused the entire camp, while the mere craftiness of getting our mustaches in place proved challenging for some.
All in all, it was exactly what we all needed. The weather was near perfection with a dramatic LACK of wind, unusual for the Columbia Gorge. We hiked the rim, I swam with Aspen, and we all mourned the end of the weekend as we packed up, said our goodbyes, and headed back into Portland.
And yet, my soul is currently seeking solitude, not spectacularly oversized Rv’s, and our next camping trip is destined to be an escape into nature. A spot with no hookups, RV’s or school groups. A place sitting serenely along a magnificent lake. It, too, will offer relaxation, but I also am looking for inspiration. Inspiration to write, read, hike, and simply breathe.
Both camp experiences are truly us. We love camping with friends, having a camping experience that doesn’t require much work from us. We also love escaping the crowds to simply BE in nature. In the end, what we’ve learned on this journey of life is that things don’t have to be this or that, black or white. We can all embrace all of the sides of our personality that make us one who, interesting, unique individual.