Imagine a dark night, standing in the middle of a forest, cold breeze making a compelling whisper and there is a sudden hoot heard from a distance…Ok, that was a lame attempt at painting a scary picture. My recent ‘camping in the wilderness’ experience was anything but scary 🙂
Humboldt Redwood State Park was the venue .
It was the first time camping, for us as well as for our camping mates (another couple, Pr the husband and Lx the wife.) But tips and pointers from a dozen experienced people did us good. Tents and tools, blankets and buckets, matchbox and masalas – we arrived all prepared..or so we thought.
First thing we did after setting up the tent was to get out the stove and make some hot masala chai.Just when all were patting own backs for a task accomplished, one asked ‘Where’s the strainer?”. Never would anyone realize the dire importance of a tea strainer until you are stuck without one on a cold evening in the middle of the jungle ..and with some smoking hot chai waiting to be filtered and sipped. Arrgh! Anyways, it took only a few minutes before we came up with an alternative – paper towel. It took patient minutes of slow and steady pouring, but it worked! Here is the proof 😀
Later in the evening, a leisurely walk in the woods, hand in hand with H was rejuvenating…like untying some knots from the inner being and setting them free.
It was darker and colder soon. The able men of the 21st century took more than 10 minutes to figure out the right way to set up a camp fire before we could finally sit and warm ourselves 😀
An elaborate dinner prep ensued and though it took little more than an hour, our menu read like this –
Grilled corn on the cob with salt, pepper and lemon rubbed on
Grilled and fried potatoes with a good dash of salt and chili powder
Readymade Parathas and paneer palak reheated to perfection
Dahi/yogurt for the sides
Pickles of 3 variety
Cookies for desert
All of the above washed down along a glass of wine..that’s one awesome feeling right there!
After a while we retired for the night with a sleeping bag and a book into our tents and called it a day..a fulfilling day 🙂
Night was in fact the toughest part. Three layers of clothing, a fleece blanket under a thick insulation sleeping bag and still it felt cold!
In hardly 30 minutes, we heard Pr calling out for H . It was getting hard to breathe, he said. H tried to keep a calm outlook and asked him to try doing the inhale-exhale deeply. He came out of the tent, tried exactly that and immediately felt better. The reason for the temporary breathing problem was because his body did not like the enclosed space he was lying in. Pr and H set out in the car looking for a motel to sleep…it was midnight. I lie in my tent, tightly closed eyes, pretending to have fallen asleep in that pitch darkness. Lx was also around, but no help at all. For the kind of condescendingly cold person she is, I am not sure if she was even worried for her husband. No kidding!
The boys returned in some time and complained there was no place to stay around the forest. Duh ?! Finally Pr and Lx moved out and slept on the comfy reclining seats in the car .
Dawn broke and I woke up to the sounds of woodpeckers busy at work. The morning was a magnificent sight. How often do you open your eyes to something like this?
Those ultra maintained common shower rooms and rest rooms for campers was a blessing. I can live natural..but..err..not having to look for bushes or wide trees to do your daily job..hehe.
Kudos to the H’s planning, we spent the morning playing amidst those pleasant green surroundings. Collecting the Shuttle Cork and Frisbee back when they flew into broken twigs or thorny bushes did not seem like a big deal at all!
After a quick breakfast, we packed our swim suits and set out to a river nearby. While the day was sunny enough for the guys to open up chilled beer cans, the river water gave us shivers. So it was just wetting our feet and posing for some pics..and of course munching on the salt snacks we brought along.
It was lunch time and we soon were back at our camp site lighting our stove. By then it was pretty obvious that Pr is a thoroughly helpful and friendly person while Lx is just the opposite. She just stood there carelessly watching us work, occasionally lifting a random object off the table and asking me ‘ where should I keep this?’. Super Annoying. I sure grumbled in my head ‘ Does this look like my private kitchen? Find your work and be a team member if you can, missy’.
The drive to the ‘Avenue of Giants’ through the forest roads was so amazing that we had to stop mid way to take it all in. I was acting like a crazy monkey-brand in the middle of the road..too happy to be there, I guess 😉
The rest half of the day was spent trekking in that wilderness- one of the most gorgeous I have ever seen. The narrow mud path among the giant redwoods humbles you. Each one of those trees age back a thousand years…and every single tree releases more then 500 gallons of water into the air, in a single day! ( yeah, yeah..I read the facts).
Now, tell me, does this picture remind you of Jurassic park? I waited to spot a T-Rex too 😛
On the way back to the camp site, the boys made a spontaneous decision and turned the car towards one other popular spot nearby, the Trinidad beach. It was an hour long drive and though hungry and tired by then, we got out of the car for a view like this… and forgot everything else.
Walking down the steps towards the beach, humming a silly song ..
I remember standing still near that rock and heartily thanking God – for making earth so beautiful and putting me in it to savor every bit.
Next day, bidding good bye was hard, but we knew we were not going back empty.
We had the greenest of memories and the most gratifying of moments to take back home with us….much more than asked for 🙂