Breaking In

Our First Inning

My first tent, absconded from my former scout, didn’t really ever see use until the spring of 2014, despite our having owned it for more than a decade.  It’s first “outing” was really more of an “inning” when rather than going out into the woods, I assembled the tent in my living room.  I didn’t want to learn how to assemble it when I was at my first campsite.  Instead, I would rather show up knowing what the hell I was doing. My first night in the tent, was in the safety of my apartment.  Even then, I didn’t set up my tent at the first two campsites where I stopped for the night, choosing instead to sleep in my car.  Fast forward to later that summer when I finally set up my tent for the first time and actually camped under the stars.  At least I knew what I was doing by that time.

My dog and I made do with our little tent until we decided to splurge and buy a four-person tent just for the two of us.  If you’ve ever purchased a tent, you know there’s a sealing activity that happens, so I combined the gooey process with the encore assembly practice session in my living room: new tent, new apartment.  It’s amazing how big a tent can be when assembling it indoors, however.  My dog was immediately smitten with our new purchase, but it would again be months before we officially broke it in at our first campsite.  While I have seen beautiful places outside my tents, the experience of being independent in strange places often became just as breathtaking (see Our Last Inanimate Night Together from January 2021).

Our First Outing

In no uncertain terms, Pompey loves camping.  She enjoys one of her most favorite spectator sports – squirrel watching – while I assemble our evening abode.  Once she steps inside the zippered threshold, she considers the day to be complete.  I’ve witnessed her displeasure when she assigns herself guard duty after dark (see One Bark And One Bark Only from January 2021). Our first night with our new tent doesn’t get started until well after the squirrels have gone to bed so she tolerates that at least I know what I’m doing. Pulling into Franz Jevne State Park, I assemble our shelter – again, grateful for the practice – and enjoy our dinner by sterno light (hand made by yours truly).  Pompey is beyond ready for a sound night’s sleep.  Enjoyment of our scenery will have to wait until tomorrow.

We’re girls, so we prepare sufficiently for our night along the Rainy River, waking to 28° F (-2° C) weather.  The autumn setting reminds us that the seasons are advancing, but the walk to the vault toilet truly qualifies as a brisk, soon-to-be-winter start to our day.  As we wander back to our campsite, we see our brand new tent – the lone nylon covering on our side of the campground – reminding us that we are adventure-girls, and we also like buying new things.  We enjoy trying out our new goodies, and we, thankfully, know how to get it together in the dark and cold.  We may not be fond of the pending winter weather, but with a stack of colorful blankets, flannel pajamas, and our combined warmth inside our new tent, we sleep contentedly just feet from the Canadian border, and miles away from our living room.

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