Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Surfing the Heat Wave with My Tiny Trailer--Excellent!

Some early and late sun, but mostly shaded during the heat of the day . . . which helps some

The news said heat wave, and I don't doubt it, being outside at my campsite as I write this. It's 88 degrees with 70% humidity. I'm in the shade, though, beneath the awning, a box fan moving the air, so life ain't too bad. The 4th of July crowd has left, leaving a handful of camp rigs. I'm in a pull-through mid-campground parked on the south side of the road, shaded by trees, pines and mulberries, that fringe the site. Jefferson County Park is only four miles from home, so I'm safely and easily ensconced in green peace and quiet. I've signed up for two nights of camping; since this is a drive-in campground without reservations, I can always extend if I find the heat bearable.

Yesterday I settled in. Today has been a more normal camping day, other than some in-town banking business with my wife. It's one o'clock in the afternoon, and the temperature is 90 degrees. After the in-town business with my wife, who drove in and picked me up, upon returning to the campground, I decided to go for a walk. It was ten o'clock in the morning and 82 degrees, so it seemed the earlier the better.

Baby bunny across the road from my campsite as I begin my walk

Yes, it was hot, but I was alone on the trails. I took off my shirt and ambled, soaking in the green-growing and the woody smell of the summer heat. Reaching the trees that shaded the trail, I felt myself begin to relax, my body just settling down. I realized that the extended time away from camping, except for a couple of short romps, reached clear back to last fall. Lasting out the Iowa winter to then be hit by COVID-19, campgrounds closed, and can I even begin to catalog all the behavior changes this pandemic has prompted for our new paradigm of existence? The death toll for the coronavirus is now over 130,000 for the U.S., and the verified infection numbers will reach three million by the end of the week.

Dappled patterns of light and shadow

What I'm saying is walking the trail was a relief, even with the heat and with me every now and then waving my shirt at a real or imaginary insects. It was quiet, my footsteps leaving that soft echo in the silence, muffled by the leaf mulch on the forest floor. And for a while I had nothing to do other than just ambling along--going for a walk and snapping a few photos along the way. I had forgotten about the healing, nurturing power of walking among the trees, those old souls. Even the heat was only a part of a greater wholeness.

A photo from my first night. Note the citronella candles, my first time using them.

Returning to camp, I bathed my upper torso (one of several cooling interactions with a face cloth and cool water that I've been enjoying today). Then I cooked myself a simple meal of packaged Madras lentils with added steamed vegetables, saltine crackers, and macaroni salad. It was past noon, so I ate in the camper. The heat index was ratcheting up, and I had no desire to unnecessarily wilt. I've gone into this trip with the idea that the afternoons would consist of reading, writing, and napping inside the air-conditioned trailer.

I have to say that I am pleased with the Polar Bear's response to the heat. When we first brought her home, the decorative adhesive on the inside walls would warm in the heat and off-gas a strong chemical smell. I'm sure it helps, though, that I have some afternoon shade. The chemical smell, though, seems to have almost entirely disappeared. The air conditioner is working well, set at 68 degrees and with the fan on automatic. I haven't felt too cold or warm.

A perfect trail for an amble

I'm glad I've realized that I can do some camping in the Midwest heat and humidity. I'm only staying these two nights, though. Thunderstorms will be bringing increased heat and humidity later this week. However, early next week will be in the upper 80s to 90 degrees, so I very may well head off for another few days. I can spend a few days pampering the vegetable garden and enjoying the family before heading out again. We'll see. I sure am glad I'm out and about with my little trailer, though. I'm signing off now for an afternoon siesta, a relaxed evening, and an easy crosstown return home tomorrow. I even plan to try out my shower pump sprayer sometime before bed. Until then, I'm sheltering in place, safe from the heat and the coronavirus--and just a hop, skip, and a jump from home.

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