Glamping it Up

IMG_8368Nope, this little baby tent is not glamping. This is hard core, crawl in, crawl out, miserable camping, for which I am decidedly too old. Nonetheless, this is what I’d inadvertently signed up for when I agreed to go camping so that I wouldn’t be home alone for Shel’s and my 19th wedding anniversary.

Before I left home to head out to Cape Disappointment, I walked around the house, saying goodbye to Shel for the umpteenth time. This felt different. For two months I’d stuck close to our life here, keeping the home fires burning. Now I was venturing out to a place he’d never been. And camping: no way he’d ever have done that. It felt like a big milestone, and I was determined to be brave.

So when I found myself on my hands and knees on an air mattress, trying to crawl out of my tent in the middle of the night to pee, I admonished myself: bravery at all cost. When I woke up several hours before Eric and Jessica and Jessica’s family, and had to sit in the drizzle reading and shivering, because we hadn’t discussed how to make coffee in the morning, and because I couldn’t sit upright in the tent anyway, I swore that I’d be a good sport about it all. But within hours, I’d abandoned the idea of tenting for ever more, and persuaded them to move campsites so that I could ensconce myself happily

IMG_8514

in a park yurt. Oh so civilized, with actual beds! A table, a heater, and even an electric light!

IMG_8517Now that’s my definition of glamping, and I’m totally hooked. A good night’s sleep, a lesson in using the propane stove early in the morning, and damn the raccoons, full speed ahead. From then on out I had a glorious time.

IMG_8372Being right on the coast, we had to grill oysters two nights in a row, the essence of succulent freshness.

IMG_8369We also grilled salmon (just layer butter, sweet onion, sprigs of fresh rosemary and sage, slices of lemon, salmon, and repeat),

IMG_8383and asparagus, just about the last of the season and oh so delicious cooked over a wood fire. There was also Crack Pie (which you should definitely make, from this recipe), and Hummingbird Cake, and chili, and fajitas, and then, the infamous Cooler Cleaning dinners. I absolutely 100% love cooking outdoors, there’s nothing better, no matter how humble the dish.

IMG_8402When we weren’t cooking, eating, and drinking far too much, we were down on the beach, which had an amazing heap of driftwood,

IMG_8409affording Eric the opportunity to square off with his future father-in-law Don

IMG_8411and Jessica to demonstrate her independence.

IMG_8412The sand showed me how easy it is to be entirely swallowed up, and I thought about Shel a lot, so gone now, not yet returning to the earth, his ashes in the closet with Toby curled up sleeping right beside them.

IMG_8419We spent a gorgeous afternoon at Hug Point, where despite the warnings about sneaker waves and rip currents

IMG_8418and Japanese tsunami debris

IMG_8460we were able to enjoy a fabulously beautiful beach,

IMG_8434that boasts a road blasted out of the rock in the 1930s for wagon traffic to round the point and travel up and down the coast, albeit only at low tide.

IMG_8443We saw all the usual, magical, beachy stuff like anemones,

IMG_8445bright seaweeds,

IMG_8453mysterious patterns drawn on the sand by the ebbing tide,

IMG_8465a gull eating a starfish bigger than its own head,

IMG_8471a handful of some kind of peculiar eggs that Jessica collected,

IMG_8475and the crazy artwork made by scurrying sand fleas.

IMG_8481We also admired beautiful rock formations,

IMG_8484including a jetty that took 30 years to build, and that narrowed the mouth of the Columbia River by several miles, in an attempt to reduce the number of shipwrecks that occurred there regularly.

IMG_8490The mouth of the river is four miles wide now, and is crossed via the prodigious bridge that joins Washington to Oregon. We spent our anniversary doing things that Shel would have enjoyed, going to the Maritime Museum in Astoria and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment, and I think that we all felt that he was with us.

IMG_8480But I have to confess that the feeling isn’t enough. I want to be able to get in my time travel machine and journey back to the days when Shel was healthy and happy, and bring him back home with me into these times, where we grope for his memory. Sometimes it’s just unthinkable that he’s not here.

But I know that if he were here I wouldn’t have gone camping, not even glamping, and that really was fun, sadness and all. And so I perceive that slowly I’m starting a new life, all the while wanting my old life back again. I might have to kick Jessica off that see-saw.

Explore posts in the same categories: French Letters Visits America, Posts Containing Recipes

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5 Comments on “Glamping it Up”

  1. jbirdd1 Says:

    I love how you use the word “glamping”!
    Glamping = Glamorous Camping

  2. Donna Overall Says:

    Until they make a tent with a hot shower and air conditioning, I think I’ll pass, LOL! But it sounds like it worked out wonderfully for you.

  3. Chrissy Says:

    Love it. Gorgeous pics. – and a beautiful place!

  4. Dick Says:

    Good ole USA. Still the best place of all.

  5. rebecca Says:

    As we cross through the solstice and head toward darker days, I’ll remember your fondness for yurts. Just as you’ve offered me a restful night’s sleep so many times in your quiet guest room, so shall I offer to light a fire in the wood stove in one of my cozy yurts and tuck you in to fresh sheets if you sometime decide the drive home, to an empty house, is more than you choose to navigate. What I cannot promise is to have coffee as delicious as that Shel would have made waiting for us in the morning. Ah Shel’s lattees….One of so many wonderful thinks we miss about him.


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