I just went camping with my girlfriends! Never did that before (I was never an outdoorsy girl), but it was magical. We were camping in a small clearing, about half an hour away from the parking lot, and my best friend Sam (who organized this trip) told us all to skip breakfast, since she was going to cook a really nice meal for us.
A 45-minute walk later, we were sitting down in the camp and basically let Sam do everything. She raised the tents, and got the cookware. I’ve never seen a gas stove like that one (I later learned that this was what the serious outdoors people call a camping kitchen stove), I was really expecting some barbecue or marshmallows over a campfire. What we got was a big pot and a portion of delicious mac n cheese in small stainless bowls, and we ate with camping sporks!
We started talking and it turns out that Sam is really experienced with camping and loves nature, which I never found out before. Turns out her father was an outdoor man and a hunter, and they’ve been going for hikes for years. Let me tell you one thing, there’s no better coffee than one made by that camp stove. I had a fantastic time with my friends, talking about if we liked nature (we all love nature) and if we’ve been hiking or camping or anything.
Turns out that we’re all 100% city girls except Sam. Sam took really good care of us, and packed a small backpack for each of us. She had the idea that we could sleep for days in the wild, and packed up enough food and water. She treated our outdoors clothes with bug repellent, so we were safe from mosquitoes and ticks. Honestly, we were all excited about the idea.
The calm night
For dinner, we had dry pre-made meals from Mountain House, and they were pretty good. I don’t know much about those except that they tasted pretty good and left me feeling full. Sam was going over some tips, tricks and rules we had to follow so that we don’t mess up the nature for someone else. Also toilet rules, how to watch out for bears and other animals, and etc. In retrospect, I should’ve paid better attention to what she was saying.
The stars above us were amazing, and the full moon was so bright you couldn’t look directly at it. The tents were set up, and all four of us went to sleep. I have a bad habit of falling asleep with my phone, browsing Facebook and Instagram until I basically pass out, but coming out here made me drop that habit. I slept like a baby, until about 4 AM. It was so cold because my sleeping bag opened up in the night. I wanted to go for a small walk, but didn’t want to bother Sam to unzip the tent.
I fell asleep again, and woke up feeling great. The clean air, and the quiet sense of peace (the woods weren’t quiet, there were many animals and bugs making lots of noise) really got me into a meditative state. I loved every second there. As we got up and Sam was making breakfast, I figured that I could take a nice walk in the woods and get back.
How I got lost and survived
I didn’t want to bother anyone, so I just quietly left the camp and started wandering around. Those of you that are experienced are probably cringing right now, and yes, the totally expected thing happened. I got lost after an hour, and couldn’t find my way back. I got really scared, but I didn’t panic. Bear Grylls always found a river or a stream or something and follows it back to civilization, but I couldn’t find anything, just trees and trees and tress. I think I saw a deer once, and I think I saw someone running behind the tree line. Being alone made me paranoid after a while.
They found me after half an hour, because Sam knew the woods like the back of her hand. Turns out I’ve been walking in a circle and was rather easy to find. I expected to be scolded like a little kid or something, but Sam was very understanding. I’m sorry because I went out on my own, I didn’t realize that it’s so easy to get lost. When we’re having a slumber party or something, it’s really easy to go out for a smoke break or find your way to a convenience store. You can’t get lost in a city like you can in the woods.
Conclusion, and the best outdoors tip you’ll ever get
After that, we ate breakfast and decided we’d cut the trip short. Not because of me, mind you, but we only had that one night free out of our busy schedules. We went camping again after a while, and it was great, but I sure learned my lesson.
The lesson is that you always communicate what you want to do with the group’s unofficial leader, or you might get lost in the woods. If you’re careless, your entire team will worry about you, so be sure to talk about what you want to do in a group. Communication is key. Sam told me that if I told her I wanted to go for a walk, she would’ve walked with me to make sure I didn’t get lost, it was no biggie.