A Foot in the Foothills

I’m staying with a friend at the foot of the Catalina Mountains. The past couple of days, I’ve been driving to work with her and walking back, which is a treat since I only have to walk one way and I can swing along without worrying about treacherous trails with unsettling footing. These walks also give me a feel for the area. I can see why my friend is contented here, but when Sunday comes, I’ll be more than ready to move along.

So far, the trip has had an easy rhythm. I drove three or four hours (five with breaks), then set up camp. I spent the next day hiking, and the following day breaking camp and driving to a friend’s house. But now reality has hit — before my next house visit, I will have several times where after I break camp and drive for a while, I will have to set up camp again. It’s hard enough to set up one day and break down another without having to do both on the same day.

I do have options, though. I might be able to find camp sites within an hour or two of each other so I don’t get exhausted driving. I could forget the big tent occasionally and use the tiny backpacking tent, which is a lot easier to set up, though a lot less convenient. Or I could stay in a motel occasionally. (My least favorite option.)

I still have several days before I have to worry about such things, and who knows — it might not be a problem. I am getting more familiar with setting up the tent and I am finding ways to pack the car more efficiently, so both those things help. And I will be heading into cooler, albeit wilder, weather, which might also help if it doesn’t hinder.

Meantime, I’m enjoying the slow pace of this week. Enjoying “camping in” (instead of camping out). Enjoying getting to know again my once-long-lost friend.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)