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…Okay, that title’s a little pretentious for a brief overview of a camping trip, but give me a break, it’s not 7 am yet and I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.

Anyway. I just got back from the great camping trip of 2010 — my first in several years– and have returned carrying the firm convictions that:

1) getting so far away that using your cell phone and your laptop are impossible is, on occasion, a very good thing;

2) we humans may have stomped our messy carbon footprint on most of the globe at this point, but we still don’t rate much out in the wilderness;

3) air mattresses are only comfortable for the first half of the night;

4) tarps are extremely useful; and

5) the value of a clean bathroom with running water cannot be overstated.

It started out fairly rocky: our boat lost a few cylinders, which made ferrying 7 people, 2 dogs, and gear plus food (and booze, never forget the booze) for 4 days a difficult proposition – which got more difficult when, making our way over on the 2nd 15-mile trip across the lake, the first of a wave of thunderstorms swept through. We landed about 90 minutes later and booked it to the campsite, where, thankfully, the first group of people had already set up tents and some tarps, and we all scrambled in a downpour to get everything else arranged. My clothes were still soaked two days later.

Then we drank, of course. 🙂 In the pouring rain, soaked to the skin — well, what else was there to do? It poured all night.

Thankfully, it started clearing up the next day, or it wouldn’t have been much of a trip. Chesuncook is gorgeous, peaceful (well, mostly) and extremely remote: the lake is some 30 miles long and probably 5 or 6 miles wide, and the only way to get to the campsites on it is by boat. Once you get there, you are on your own– completely. Which was wonderful, and a wee bit nervewracking.

I’m a modern girl: I like my cappuccino and my wi-fi, I like being clean, and I definitely like flush toilets. This was a nice reminder that there are other ways to get by — and that in the Grand Scheme of Things, we conquer-the-earth humans are subject to the same rules –and considerably less equipt to live by them– as the average bear in the woods.

Redbrook stream

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Our tent! Pretty, no? This tarp was a total lifesaver, believe me.

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Coping techniques. Important stuff.

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A Chesuncook sunset, courtesy of Mr. Bai (actually, all these pictures are courtesy of Mr. Bai).

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Speaking of bears, I’m really glad I didn’t meet one.

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