Day 1 of Maine Solo Camping was a success, mostly.
I arrived at Acadia and found this scene, a stone’s throw from my campsite:
which is why I can hear the ocean while I sleep.
I was a little anxious about the possibility of setting up camp in the rain, but I didn’t have to. When I checked in at the national park campground, the nice park ranger disappeared for a minute and conferred with the rest of the staff about my campsite. “Sorry for the delay,” she said. “I was just trying to get you on the highest ground possible before the storm.”
That is not necessarily something you want to hear on your way to seven days of camping.
Turns out they’re expecting an inch and a half of rain today; it started last night, and it’s coming down in buckets. Doesn’t bother me a bit, so far, because 1) MY TENT STAYED DRY, and that, to me, merits all-caps, and 2) it’s a lovely day for driving the coast. Really lovely; there are lighthouses,
and quaint charming villages,
and rocky coastline views.
So last night I set up camp, pretty much without incident, and then surveyed the scene, and immediately went to buy more tarps. An inch and a half of rain is no joke. I didn’t quite have the right tree arrangement; my kitchen tarp’s fourth corner had to be tied to the corner of the table, which makes for awkward cooking. But cook, I did. The veggies in foil were pretty good; the apples with cinnamon and sugar and a crumbled up graham cracker, stewed in a camp coffee mug, were flat-out delicious. I timed dinner kind of awkwardly, though, and it was flat-out dark by the time I cooked and ate. Flat-out dark, and although I saw two other cars in my campground loop, there were no people in sight.
Know how, after you watch Jaws, every time you get into the ocean during the next decade, all you can picture is what your dangling feet look like underwater to a shark? That’s kind of how I felt last night during my first couple of hours of solo camping. How inviting my little camp lantern must look from waaaayyy off in the distance; how tasty those stewed apples must smell wafting through the woods; how easy it would be, as a Sasquatch, to pick off this single camper juuuussst out of earshot of everyone else…..
Just between me and you and, well, everybody on the internet, I cut dinner short. I toasted two ceremonial marshmallows and made one s’more, and then made a hasty trip into my tent. Don’t even get me started about the pitch-black trip to brush my teeth. The sinks are, seriously, within sight of my tent, and I have a superpowered high-beam LED flashlight. Seeing is not a problem. It’s BEING seen that creeps me out. Once you have a flashlight on, everything around you looks like a big, dark, void. I am at least average in bravery. But that’s above-average scary.
After that: it was all fine. My tent is SO snug, and cozy, and dry, and there are books in there, and my Iphone totally works, so everyone Facebooked me to sleep. I woke up when the rain started; a gentle drip drip drip on my tarp, then a steady patter of rain. This far north, the sun comes up before five; even with the rain, the glow from the sunrise woke me up early, and I curled up and snoozed until time for my giant island breakfast at the Sea Biscuit Cafe.
I think I could get used to this.