The Princess and the Pea

October 15, 2020

So my camping stories go way back. And they illustrate how much of a princess I am, “The Princess and the Pea,” or the Pea princess, as I have called myself. My husband and I did car camping. We even took the kids car-camping, his kids, and we did backpacking during probably our 40s and maybe early 50s. So this story is about a backpacking trip that we took to a lake somewhere in the Sierras. We packed our backpacks and hiked seven miles into the lake and set up camp. And we were on a little bluff with rocks, big rocks overlooking the lake. And it was very peaceful and beautiful. And we were looking forward to our two or three nights there. And as we unpacked and set up the tent, I realized that I had left my thermarest self-inflating mattress in the car.

Now, this won’t do. This princess does not sleep on the ground. So I can’t believe my husband said yes to this. We left our gear, the tent set up, the kitchen, such as it is set up. And luckily enough, it was early in the day. And so without our backpacks, we hiked the 7 miles back to the car and picked up the mattress and hiked 7 miles back in, that’s 21 miles in a day. I can’t even imagine doing 7 miles these days, let alone 21. So we got back to the campsite and I slept beautifully. And we woke up the next day to great shouting and it turned out a whole troop of Boy Scouts had also hiked in and were having one of their…what are those called, jamborees, maybe, or something like that. So the day was filled with sound and not peace. So I think we’re pretty good at adapting ourselves. We grumbled a few times during the day, each of us, and went to bed and slept well again on my little air mattress, but woke up the next day to peace and quiet. They had left, they had gone back. So our next two days were peaceful.

Now, the way I remember my husband doesn’t quite fit with this story because I think of him as more grumbly, but he did walk seven miles back to the car with me to get my mattress. And I don’t remember him being resentful. So it’s nice that your prompt brought up this story because it let me see that he did have different sides to him and that that was a lovely thing of him to do, to go with me and not send me back alone. Because I think we did discuss this, but I’m not sure I would have found my way.

And that is one of the Pea princess camping stories because the other is really remembering our car camping trip to lake…not Lake Shasta. The one that looks over the Oregon mountain. Oh, can’t remember now, but we had a beautiful camping trip of five days or so on a lake looking across at Mount Lassen. We were looking at Mount Lassen and we hiked during the day and we had our sun shower – that’s what it was called – set up so when we got back from hiking, we could take a warm shower. And I brought for us to sleep on, since it was in the car, we had foam mattress and then our air thermarest mattresses, and then a quilt, and then our flannel sheet, both bottom and top, and then our sleeping bag opened up, and then another quilt on top of that. So talk about Pea princess. She was very satisfied.

And a friend had, had made for us for Christmas, by another friend who’s a cabinet maker, this beautiful hand constructed drawer that had legs and all of our kitchen stuff was in the drawer. And that was prepacked. So every year we had our camping drawer with hooks underneath where a duffle hung with our pots and our stove went on top. And I brought every time, for the first night, salmon steaks that were basted in pesto that Michael cooked over the open fire. And we camped in a very luxurious way. And there are very sweet memories attached to that. We were living the high life. High life camping in outdoor beauty with beautiful hikes to other lakes, or just lazing around, looking at the lake.

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