6/10 — Distributed camping, and sleeping in my car.

I realized sometime weekend before last that, since my roommate is nearly always home and I am, also, almost always home, that I am getting basically no alone-time. Since I’m pretty introverted, alone-time is pretty important to my sanity levels. Yeah, I get time alone in my room, and that helps, but it’s not enough.

Going to events really doesn’t help — even though I spend nights alone, there are still people around, and the days are pretty full. I knew I needed to do something about this.

…and I’d been trying to find the best way to sleep comfortably in my car, anyways. Nights camping in Colorado can be pretty cold, hotels are expensive, if I’m in my car Loiosh is much less likely to find a mouse to chase…all sorts of reasons. I figured it was best to solve my problems with each other.

I poked around and found some places nearby that allowed distributed camping — for those not in the know, that’s camping on public lands, but not in a set campsite. It’s nearly always free, which is so totally the right price for me. All you get is a place to park — no bathrooms, no picnic tables, no nice flat spaces to park in unless you get lucky, but all of that is perfectly doable.

So last Tuesday I headed up Rampart Range Road into Pike National Forest, found myself a nice spot to park the car, and got settled in. Here’s my lovely, luxurious camp:

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My bed. In order from bottom to top: a five-foot folding table (propped up on the top of my folded-down back seat and some boards to stay level), the cushions from my favourite Ikea chair, a sleeping bag for additional padding, and a whole pile of blankets. I slept pretty comfortably, and I was plenty warm enough.

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Loiosh’s bathroom facilities:

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My bathroom facilities:

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Fortunately I’ve had plenty of practice in how not to pee in my boots.

Loiosh had a WONDERFUL time. Any time he wasn’t asleep, he was purring. He made SO MANY happy blinky eyes at me. He got to climb trees and rocks and chase bugs, he saw his first deer, and he got to hang out with his Momma. I think it helped him a lot that I was so relaxed, too.

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Just look at that pleased face!

One of his tree-climbing escapades. He rarely gets any higher than this. He did some kitty-Parkour, too; bolting up to one tree, then bouncing off of it to hit another. I didn’t get any pics of that; I was laughing too hard.

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The sky in Colorado always amazes me.

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We went walking a bit — never terribly far; I’m pretty out of shape, he’s built for speed instead of endurance, and neither of us was really ready for 9000 feet. Mostly we stuck to the road.

But we did wander off to explore some rocks. Pretty big ones. I didn’t climb too much; mostly we sort of scrambled around on them.

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I’d brought my back basket, and I’m glad, because after the rocks he was DONE and didn’t want to walk back.

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TIRED MOM IS IT NAPTIME

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He spent a bunch of time napping in the car. I spent a bunch of time reading, or working on my current sewing project, or sometimes just listening to all the lovely, lovely quiet.

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Dinner was slightly exciting, since I totally forgot a can opener. Fortunately a kind man with a large knife happened by and helped me out with that.

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I’ll admit I did get a little bored once or twice. I checked to see if I could get online from my iPad — I couldn’t, and I’m pretty glad, because I’d’ve spent too much time messing with it and not enough just being. I think I’ll have to work my way up to more than one day in the mountains with no net access. But I’m pretty willing to do that.

I climbed into bed just after sunset — I hadn’t brought a lantern, or any light source other than a small flashlight, and I didn’t want to risk running my car battery down. I had my booklight and read for a couple hours before turning in. I slept okay — not as well as in my own bed at home, but pretty well for a ‘new’ place. And I was plenty warm enough.

We walked around more the next day, and I found these scrapes on a tree. Elk? Deer? No idea.

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I’d brought breakfast with me, but not lunch, so we headed down to Woodland Park not long before noon. The flush toilet at the McDonald’s was very welcome, as was a hot lunch. Overall a good first run, I think. I came back much more relaxed, learned stuff that’ll make it more comfortable next time, and, well, call it proof of concept, I guess.

Plus I spent most of 24 hours in places that looked like this.

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…yeah, that’ll do.

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