City Girl Goes Outdoorsy

Pivotal moments for my psyche have revolved around the outdoors. Key moments.

Gresham, OR

We had some fairly intense fog in early October of 2013. I don’t live in the mountains, but it damn well felt like it at times.

And then in the second week of December, we had ice and snow at the campus I go to school at. The pond (that people stupidly fish from) froze over.

And then I began my Wilderness Survival class. Most people felt like it was an introduction to camping, but for this city girl who craves the wilds, it was essential coursework. And also, really fun. See: photo above, my first attempt at a shelter. Sorry for the blurriness.

And then, I got better. I got more equipment, and played around with more abstract setups that required minimal tiedowns.

And as we reached the end of the term, I had pretty much everything. I was ready for field day, hell, I was more ready for anything to get out of concrete everythings and not have the sound of cars permeate every waking moment.

Also, can I just say that my hatchet is effing badass?

And the next day, the field day was incredible. We left early, crammed into vans and an hour’s drive later, we pitched our emergency shelters, and completed our scenarios. Team Gladiator scored all 5’s on all 8 scenarios, including the bonus ones. We then decided to make pine needle tea with an old can we found near the river. Much success, such wilderness.

Winter term came to a close. My Wilderness class project, a camping trip to a po-dunk area of Southwestern Oregon near the confluence of the Illinois-Rogue Rivers, was complete, and we were due to leave the following Monday after finals.

My preferred shelter, actually in use, barely stood up to the rain. It was the thought that counts, and I know now what I need to do. Here’s the major parts of what I brought (since we didn’t hike in):

  • Hi-Tec Waterproof Hiking Boots [similar here]
  • Texsport Reinforced Tarp – Camo [here]
  • Thermarest Ridgerest [here]
  • Browning 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
  • High Sierra Access Pack
  • Coleman Hiking Pole
  • Timbuk2 Messenger Bag – Small
  • Cheap crappy solar charger

I also had most of what I included on my field day set mixed in here, with different clothes… except I should’ve brought the snow pants during the camping trip. With how much it rained, I needed them. Hindsight man… hindsight.

But let me show you what a little area called Oak Flat Campground looks like…

Three days here. It rained most of the time, and shown are the intermittent breaks in cover we had. Probably the most beautiful place I have ever spent time in, and I would love to go back someday. Not bad for a first camping trip, eh? Only took 22 years to happen. Next on my bucket list is a multi-day trip somewhere in Eastern Oregon.

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