Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Outdoor Adventures

Monsieur and I have enjoyed a lot of outdoor recreational vacations together. We have spent time in  coastal and interior campsites. We have camped  in tents, yurts and the back of a small Mazda pickup truck. Once we backpacked along the Hoh River on the Olympic Penninsula.
Humbug Mountain, Oregon.

Our travels have taken us from Cortes Island in British Columbia to Mount Lassen in Northern California. Monsieur prefers uncrowded campsites which often involve pit toilets and bears with an occasional rattlesnake warning in central Washington state. Nothing in my girlhood travel experiences could have prepared me for my rugged adventures with Monsieur.

Our first camping experience together was in 1988 at the second Stein Valley Festival. Monsieur and his friend, Jim, had a group called Arbutus. Jim had written a song for the event which was held near the Stein Valley, a forested native site that was threatened by logging. Monsieur and Jim were to share the stage with Gordon Lightfoot, Colin James, Blue Rodeo, Bruce Cockburn and an array of other environmentalist musicians. We purchased a new little backpack tent (which we were to use for the next 20 years), a one burner stove, and our organic provisions and set off for the Festival which was being held on a very hot August long week-end.
The tent is still with us.

The organizers, who had sold festival passes, had not anticipated the popularity of this second Stein Festival. The big name performers, the enthusiasm for environmental conservation and some eagerness for fun and flakiness drew many times more campers than the facilities could accommodate. Long lines for porta-potties and too many tents in too little space made for uncomfortable and unsanitary conditions. Monsieur, who is less cautious than I, left the cooler on the ground beside the tent and all of our carefully chosen organic food was stolen.

But we did survive  our first outdoor adventure together. Monsieur and Jim did have a brief moment on stage at the Festival. I heard Gordon Lightfoot sing The Canadian Railroad Trilogy under the stars. Most important, we are still together  twenty-five years later and will be sharing more outdoor adventures this summer.

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