Because of some changes in my grandmother's treatment schedule, my Chicago trip was postponed and after four days in the wild I've returned...ready to work in the studio and fairly if not 100% renewed.
You long time readers will remember the details from last year's fall solo camping trip and won't be be surprised that I had to do it again. I chose a different location. This time I headed into the most remote site of the Kettle Moraine forest I could find, but considering there were showers available, I can hardly call this one a "backwoods" trip.
The site was beautiful and I wish I had more pictures, but alas, I'm still working with a faulty camera and only caught a few.
I had great weather the whole time and got to stargaze each night. When I was little and we lived on the boat and were hundreds of miles away from land in the middle of the ocean, I loved looking up at the night sky. It was so clear and the stars seemed so close. Now that I'm older and viewing them in skies that are not so clear, I was struck by how far away they seemed. Beautiful, but far away.
I did a lot of thinking (in-between cooking) and realized that one reason I've never found a religion is because I've always thought that finding a religion meant giving up on the one on one relationship to/with Spirit. In fact, I've prided myself on not "buying in" to organized religion and have set-up various spiritual practices for myself to fill that inner need for connection.
Though, lately...it's felt a little lonely to be honest. I'm finding that I yearn to connect with a spiritual community. I've investigated and explored many religions...I have Quaker, Lutheran, Jewish and Catholic family members. Wiccan friends, Unitarian friends, Spiritualist friends and Buddhist friends. I'm just not sure. I've been doing some investigating of the Baha'i Faith because I'm very drawn to the idea that embracing all other religions is encouraged. We shall see. In the end, I may decide to keep going on my own.
I do know that while in nature I feel connected. I was delighted to hear owls in the tree above my tent on my second night...they called back and forth to me one another for much of the night. My outside tent wall was the home to a tiny bright green flat frog for a day and a half...I felt so honored! And just like last year, wild turkeys were all around. OH! I also saw a bright red fox!
I loved hearing the sounds of the night forest too...though, I wasn't as appreciative of the raccoon who got into my carefully secured in a tree garbage and dragged it all around! But, I guess he was just being a raccoon.
The cooking that went on was fairly extraordinary and I WISH I had a good working camera so that I could show you more. I had a thick pork chop with roasted blue potatoes and portobello mushrooms, campfire biscuits with homemade strawberry freezer jam, my famous yogurt French toast, organic buttermilk pancakes, Nueske's Bacon, my homemade sausage, Caesar salad, navy bean soup with braunschweiger and pickles on seeded rye bread, marinated flank steak, chai and a coconut macaroon (by the fire) and even found room for a pear.
Nobody keel over...This was over four days and ... my trip included several "high incline" jaunts and one serious hike. The trip was also a wake-up call on how I need more exercise on a regular basis if I want to follow through on my two year "Hike The Continental Divide" plan. I did a lot of gasping and wheezing, but felt really good about the fact that at least I was out there hiking around and not holed up in my studio or camped out on the Huffington Post for hours on end!
Speaking of my studio...I believe I've finally found a photographer and will keep you posted on how it all works out.
I love the little bag cosmetic bag (pictured above) that I found at a Dollar Store a long time ago. I kept my essentials in it (toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, lipstick, mascara, hair bands, face oil and a washcloth) and got such a kick of how cute it looked hanging on the tree!
My mini pumpkins and candles made the perfect little altar when combined with my Potion and my nutmeg (for the french toast).
It's a real deal...my love for camping in a fairly rustic, but still pleasing to me way. The Continental Divide trip will be 2000 miles of the 3100 mile trail...rugged terrain and backpacking all the way. There will be no room in my pack for glass salad bowls and pumpkins, so I'm glad I can enjoy them now. I have two years to get into shape for it and though that sounds like a long time...it isn't. It's not going to be easy, but I can make it lots of fun. I'm pretty sure I won't be doing that one alone and my mom is going to come with...this means you locals might be seeing two women in training wandering around town with 60 pounds of weight in backpacks
I haven't given Heather's Book a plug in awhile, so let me get one in there...it's so helpful in paring down to the essentials especially if you are a woman who's new to camping. I want her to do a cookbook next.
Finally...if any of you readers are new and are visiting because the wallets were featured on Amy Hanten's new show...welcome!I'll be at the Bay Beach Pavillion this coming Saturday for That Country Feeling Art & Crafts Show. And on Monday the Urban Frog and Petal Pushers will be restocked.
Have a great morning all and coming soon...more cute thrifted boxes!