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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If they cared, there would be cake.

It seems like this blog runs in waves & warning for this post, there’s a bit of cussing.

From the wave of things going well, to a wave of negativity. I would say that it’s been an easy two months since my last update, but that’s far from it. Mentally it’s been a challenge in adjusting to college life and keeping up with my classes, but I’ll let my current pre-finals GPA of 3.97 stand for itself. I still have two large pieces due soon, and the actual finals to work through, but I feel really good about it despite my anxiety.

Aside from that, my life’s just been… that. Reconnecting with my buddy who went to Alaska, school. The loans I signed myself up for with school have been enough to get me through and a tiny bit more. I am very thankful. I’m going to be in debt by the time I get my Bachelor’s or Master’s if I decide to jump after it, but that’s the price of following your dream I suppose. I’ve also been really lucky this last month that my boyfriend was able to stay for the entire month and celebrate my birthday with being bored and watching way too much Ghost Adventures. I’ll let the photographic evidence speak for itself for how well the time has been lately…

See this? This is a copy that is almost 90% pristine of my favorite roleplaying system, Geist. It’s now out of print and I snagged a copy before the price jumped up trifold.

This is my buddy who went to Alaska’s dog. Her name is Jesse and getting to this point took a lot of video game visits, a lot of cheese treats and waiting for her to adjust to me. She’s a really nervous dog, really anxious about pretty much everyone and hates men even more (yay for not having dangly bits for once on my part), so it was an accomplishment to my friend and I that she trusts me to snuggle me (read: demanding attention and love) while playing Baldur’s Gate.

This odd creeper followed me home on November 4th and demanded to play the copy of Grand Theft Auto 5 I bought for my boyfriend. Oops. This is my boyfriend. I keep telling him he needs to shave more. My cat also mauled him with love when he got here. While he was here we… gasp, spent time together. The previous time he had visited I was still working full time and barely saw him. While he did get on my nerves just a little bit (I think I annoyed him just as much in my defense), it was way better this time around; we’ve finally relaxed around each other and it just concreted in my head how much better this relationship is in comparison to others I’ve had. I can’t express how thankful I am for his patience when it comes to my head.

I turned 22 on the 29th of last month. While I was lucky that I got to spend it with my boyfriend, luckier in that it was during my break from school for the holidays… my depression kicked up. We didn’t really get to do much of anything because of the sudden arrival of a hefty bill that my parents had to tackle, and the plans we were going to do in the evening got mostly cancelled. My parents even mostly forgot until well into the afternoon that it even was my birthday. In hindsight it doesn’t bother me; I understand the situation. The little five year old child hoping to get wool socks and maybe macaroni & cheese at a restaurant didn’t and the monstrous creature that’s my depression an anxiety warped the situation into worse than it was. The five year old that got infected with all that ichor of hate felt like the people who did care in my life, my friends, should’ve at least said hi or something. This breakdown of my head, mentally, happened pretty early on in the day and I eventually got over myself and the lack of macaroni & cheese in my life.

My dad, later that day, made me a pretty epic fucking dinner. I’m talking angus burgers with guacamole, good. And since there was leftover pie, it was better. And beer. Can’t forget the beer. Dead Guy Ale is fucking good.

I guess this picture wraps it up. I feel better now than when I lost my job. I feel more at ease. I don’t know if getting into the Elder Scrolls beta was part of what made November pretty damn good, but I’ll just shrug and accept it. My cat is fine and healthy, I’m fine and healthy, I’m keeping up… I’m okay.

The big black monster still creeps on me day-to-day, but in the end of it all. I am okay.