Finding a Campsite by Moonlight

Written by Guy.

It was getting darker by the minute. We watched the bright, silver-dollar moon make its climb into the sky as we crept through campsite after campsite trying to find an unreserved spot to pitch a tent.

Throughout the chaotic week, we had escaped in reverie to the cool, out-of-townness of Mt. Hood. All we wanted was to lose phone service, sense of time, and the countless other hindrances that make days seems short in the urban grind. Now our car was loaded with all the essentials for a weekend in the woods: tent, stove, s'more supplies—the works.

If only we could find somewhere to sleep.  

Trillium Lake: No Vacancy.  

Frog Lake: All full—disappointing because the name is fun.

Clear Lake: Nope, every spot was claimed, with shining fires gloating at us as we drove five miles per hour through the loop of campsites.

We kept driving onward through the back roads around Clear Lake determined to find somewhere to sleep. It was now well after ten o’clock, with no other cars in sight. By moonlight, I could see Megan smiling happily. She was enjoying the adventure of not having plans, a schedule, or an idea of what to do next. So did I. We both needed a break from planning our days at breakfast and executing task after task until dinner. 2017 has been a year in hyper-speed. We simply haven’t stopped working.

Our only work now was to find somewhere to park and establish camp. The moon beamed down brightly on the road where it found breaks in the trees, creating a patchwork of darkness and blue. The contrast was dreamlike, but also eerie. Our eyes labored in silence as we searched through patches of light for a space large enough to park a car and pitch a tent.

Eventually, we found that empty spot. I think it may have been waiting for us all along. Spread wide and open, it was fortified by an army of Doug Firs that separated us from the others campsites. Immediately we knew this was home.

The morning brought chirping birds and a clear, blue sky. Over coffee Megan and I took in the happy change of having no plans and nothing to do except enjoy the day.  

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