My most recent post at the Travel in BC blog …
My most recent post at the Travel in BC blog …
Hi friends! I have been submitting stories over to our friends at the Travel BC blog – and they keep publishing me. Sadly this means I haven’t been writing many posts specifically for Lady Camping… but I would like to get back to it over the upcoming holiday break. I will be visiting California with the family and hope to write a couple of new posts about my adventures there, with and without the lovely ladies in my family.
In the meantime, please visit my recent posts:
Kayaking vs. Canoeing, that age-old conundrum (not really) … spoiler alert: they are both awesome
Today I got a call from a local CBC producer asking me to join in a conversation at 4 pm about hiking around the Lower Mainland. It was topical, given that we have our first real sunny weekend on our doorstep. My first thought was: I haven’t written a blog post in, oh I don’t know, MORE THAN SIX MONTHS. I haven’t really taken a proper hike in at least two. What qualifies me to speak on the air with the fill-in afternoon show host (sadly not Stephen Quinn) at a moment’s notice?
Well gang, I am a lady with a blog. And that makes me an expert. It also identifies me as a lady… and here is where the interview went a little funny.
I prepared for the discussion, and as 4 pm approached my heart began to race as I waited for the phone to ring. I sat at my desk with two pages of highlighted notes in front of me (lest I forget what I wanted to say about, you know, water and maps and basic backwoods safety). I was going to be an expert. At hiking. I was going to be a female voice on the air, giving advice about hanging out in the outdoors. It was all such a nice confirmation of my values, the ones that prompted me to establish this blog in the first place.
In the lead up to the interview, host Jason Proctor asked listeners “have you ever been halfway up a mountain hiking trail, and come across someone in dress shoes…” His intention here was to foreground a discussion about properly preparing for outdoor recreation. But instead of chatting about our own lived experiences, being underprepared in the woods, and being humbled by these experiences, it seems to me that this intro came out as a mockery of people who do not belong on trails in the woods. People with inappropriately dressy footwear. Also mentioned in this intro: “old people” and people with … injuries. Cue me, getting more uncomfortable with this characterization of who, maybe, is over their head, and shouldn’t be outside. And towards the end of our chat, the host asked me something along the lines of: “Now, Amy, makeup on the trail: Yay or nay?”
I stopped for a second, and frowned into my phone. Is he asking whether I wear makeup on the trail? Why would this be anyone’s business? No, of course, I realized, he was asking me whether I condone others wearing makeup on the trail. Like, do I want to weigh in here on how other women (and men) look while they are hiking. As if this is relevant to anything.
So, that was weird.
I answered in what I think were measured tones that no, I personally am not concerned with my appearance while hiking, but “to each her own, I guess” … and when prompted to comment on the appearance of my fellow hikers, I attributed the fancy trail togs phenomenon to the particular culture of the Lower Mainland. If I had been asked, I would have elaborated more about our obsession with gear and consumption. I was not interested in weighing in on women’s appearance while they are walking on a public trail outside. Sheesh.
Thoughts? Was that what the makeup question was really about? Or did I read it wrong?
Anyhow, it was a fun experience. And it made me think about Lady Camping’s values. Namely, I don’t care if you wear makeup. Don’t ask me again. But let’s talk about camping and hiking!
On that note, I have a series of five more blog posts coming this summer over at the Travel BC blog. Stay tuned!
UPDATE : We have the audio file! If you would like to hear the interview please stream it from the link below. Thanks to CBC’s On The Coast
I have seen this fascinating little documentary going around online, about how wolves changed the ecosystems and even the shape of the river beds in Yellowstone National Park when they were re-introduced. They ate deer, who stopped eating all the plants, which allowed trees to grow, which brought in more rodents, which attracted more hawks, etc. You know the drill. The wolves are at the top of the food chain in Yellowstone, along with the bears. A new (old) predator in the territory changes the way everybody else behaves.
So I went for a long walk on the river on Monday with two friends and their baby. And I was thinking, did we change the river too? Sure we did. Of course we did. It would be ridiculous to think that we didn’t. We just have to look at the small stories – the petits recits – all around us.
For example, I am sure I stepped on about a thousand salmon roe in the river bed gravel while wading in my boots for a millisecond before I remembered I shouldn’t be doing that. Sorry, salmon-babies. Also, I picked up an empty beer can and brought it home to the recycling, hopefully saving it from a long, rusty ride downstream.
Meanwhile, my daughter crawled around on the beach – “her name is Rio and she dances on the sand…” – and we both got some much needed outside time. I love living on a river.
How did you change your ecosystem today?
This time last year, I was almost eight months pregnant. With the waddle, the back pain, and the mounting feeling of helplessness and doom, I was doing my best to face the holidays with vim and vigour. After the holidays had passed, the weeks sped by as my due date approached. The weather was dismal but it’s possible I didn’t notice or care – I was too busy weeping over my inflated ankles and my disappearing sense of self.
Of course, that all changed the moment I met my daughter. I was transformed, enlightened, etc. (insert all cliches about parenthood here). A few weeks into my baby’s life, however, and the glow started to tarnish. My partner returned to work. I was stuck at home, in the suburbs, in the late winter, in the Pacific North West, with a newborn. Need I say more?
There is no need for me to add to the literature on Post-Partum Depression. The internet is full of articles with obnoxious titles like TOP TEN WAYS TO STOP CRYING, GET SKINNY AND BE HAPPY (Ummm, number one: Turn off the internet?).
So, all I need to tell you is what worked for me, and it is called Gore-Tex.
That is right, dear reader. Many of my earliest weeks at home with Baby Wah-Wah looked like this. All dressed up and no place to go. Because it’s raining. Boooooo. (Ed Note: I posed the baby, action-figure style, to achieve this effect. She didn’t climb to the window sill alone. You might notice that she also didn’t wipe up the coffee-ring on the sill while she was there. Lazy baby.)
However, things started to change in April, or as I like to call the fourth month of the calendar , I AM DAMN SICK AND TIRED OF THIS RAIN. So what’s a mom to do? Break out the Gore-Tex, dummy. Yes, I know it doesn’t fit anymore. Let’s face it, no jackets do up over those boobs anymore. Get over it.
Put on a sweater, and a hat. Struggle into your Gore-Tex rain jacket as best you can. Bundle up the baby and plop her in the stroller. Cover her with a rain cover. YOU MUST GET A RAIN COVER. Now GO OUTSIDE. Just do it. Walk out the door, take a breath, and start walking.
You don’t need to have a destination. You don’t need to bring anything. Leave the diaper bag at home. Bring your phone if you must but dammit STOP SURFING THE INTERNET AND JUST WALK OUTSIDE FOR AWHILE. No Facebook, No Radar Online, No Pinterest and FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE NO BABYCENTER. THAT SITE IS POISON.
Breathe. Enjoy the feeling of rain falling on your rain jacket. That’s what it is for. The baby is fine too. Don’t worry.
NOW here’s the fun part. Look up. Look up, way up. Past the trees, past the clouds, past the stars even. You are a speck of dust in an infinite universe. You are simultaneously nothing and everything. Look down. You are staring at ten pounds of flesh and blood. Also nothing. And everything.
Look up again.
I have been a little remiss in my postings on Ladycamping since summer. It is partially due to the fact that – oh, I don’t know – I am a graduate student with a baby. But it is also partly because the lovely folks who publish the Travel British Columbia blog have been posting some pieces I wrote for them. So … go read them!
the In-SHUCK-Ch trail (Pemberton to Harrison via Port Douglas):
Ghost Towns (Phoenix and Sandon, BC)
… and a few more coming too!
Campers, gather ’round. Come sit beside me while I share with you a little secret.
Bring your french press (Bodum) camping with you. When you are done making your morning coffee, rinse that sucker out. Fill it with any ripe fruits you happen to have stupidly packed (warm, squishy grapes, raspberries, strawberries are perfect for this), plus any wine you need to get rid of (so you can keep the site tidy and deal with recyclables or containers, obviously). Leave your new french press magic to brew while you carry on your day.
When you are ready to kick your day into sangria mode, plunge the pot and serve. Voila, fruits stay self-contained for dishing out separately (yum) or burning on the fire at the end of the night so your site doesn’t turn into a sweet, sticky mess of a wasp / fly / bear trap.
Note: this recipe also work as a non-alcoholic punch with juice, or try using herbal tea bags and water for a “sun tea” just like Oma used to make at the lake in the giant jar under the hummingbird feeder.
I have written a series of short posts as a guest blogger for the Travel British Columbia blog … and here is the first! Due to word count limits, I was unable to get in deep with these recipes, or any of the dozens of others I would like to discuss. Got a great story about the time you successfully cooked and ate on an open flame? Or the time you totally blew it, wound up with charred and unrecognizable foodstuffs, and wound up eating chips for dinner instead? Do tell.
And stay tuned for more posts both on the Travel British Columbia blog and here.
This was an awesome trip – the biggest all-lady camping trip I have organized to date. I believe we had nine for overnight camping, and two additional day-trippers. Cultus Lake is close enough to the Lower Mainland to be a short drive (barring long weekend or rush hour traffic heading east on highway 1), and yet far enough to have significantly warmer weather on sunny days.
This was a great trip for comparing lady-camping styles… From Katie sleeping with the full down duvet and fresh flannel sheets, to Sarah and Julie sleeping in the back of Julie’s truck. All manner of lady camping skills were developed, from fire-starting (Sarah) to tarp-hanging (Nadine) to beer drinking and folding chair-sitting (all). Congrats ladies. A special shout-out to Tina, who hadn’t been camping in at least five years before this trip.
What a blast. Thank you ladies for a great trip! Let’s do it again sometime.
I am lucky enough to know someone with a family cabin on Hernando Island. It is a small, privately owned, sandy oasis at the mouth of Desolation Sound, just off Lund, BC. I have been graciously invited a few times and have enjoyed the special magic of the island, so much so that I won’t say much about it here. Some places are too special to say much about.
This summer I spent just two nights there in a tent while four months pregnant. I was past the really-tired stage, and not quite yet at the too-big-to-get-comfortbale stage, so this was the ideal time for some camping. It was also early August, so that helps make things comfortable. Additional bonus for Hernando – it’s dry, and free of any threatening or inconvenient wildlife. The bird song is intense, and there may be a handful of deer on the island, but wolves and bears seem to stay away.
The sea life, however, is an amazing sight. Seals, jellyfish, oysters, clams, geoduck, shrimp and crabs abound. You can spend hours and days just beachcombing. The island is very quiet, the water is very warm, and on a sunny day you can forget altogether where you are. On this last trip in summer 2012, my partner Jon and I enjoyed the water and the sand for an afternoon. I gathered a few fresh oysters from the rocks, and opened one with trepidation. All of the food-rules and pregnancy restrictions fell away while I drank down that oyster. Heaven.