I’m going camping this weekend. I haven’t been camping in almost 4 years. I used to go camping 4-5 times a year every year.

I started hiking about 20 years ago. I was 26 and recovering from being raped. Somehow, solo day hiking became my therapy. I lived only a few hours away from the Appalachian trail…I could drive to it in a matter of hours and hike all day. It was a solace to me. I look back on those days and marvel that something didn’t happen to me (I’ve probably watched too many I Survived episodes). Back then, I said, rapists and murderers don’t go hiking. So I would go hiking a couple times a week. Pack up a daypack with water, trail map, extra socks, a little first aid/emergency kit, and a couple of snacks…and I’d set off on a fresh new morning…even the drive to the mountains was good. Listening to music and being blessedly alone was bliss.

Then I started camping. I became addicted to the smells and feel of camping. I loved creating my own little home in the woods. I love waking up in a tent…feeling snug and secure and smelling the fresh air…feeling the early morning dew when I creep out of my tent to make coffee on the camp stove.

So a good friend is having a birthday on Friday and she wanted to go camping and I said that I would love to go. We asked my partner if she wanted to go…she laughed and called us “suckas!” and declined (we saw that coming a mile away as she hates camping).

Red River Gorge is our destination. It’s just for a night. We leave early Saturday morning and will return on Sunday afternoon.

I got out my camp stuff last night. My trusty REI tent is still in great shape. It’s a small one person tent and can be put up in less than 5 minutes. Got down my rubbermaid container that holds all my miscellaneous camping gear: propane, camp stove, camp pots/pans, camp dishes & utensils, rope, tarp, air mattress, pump, and even a solar shower (not that we’ll need that since most campgrounds have hot showers now).

We’ll do a full moon ritual while we are there…so I plan to take a few things for that…a small drum for raising energy (something else that I haven’t done for a long time, drumming!), some incense, and some colored jar candles (re: safe…don’t want to start any forest fires!). Another thing I’ve missed….from ritual…calling in the elements/elementals. We’ve planned a different kind of ritual…yet one more thing neither of us have done for a while and what my friend said would be a breath of fresh air (indeed!). We are going to work with two dieties for this ritual: Modron and Gwyn Ap Nudd. Instead of scrying, I’m going to take my cards…the animal and plant oracle.

Should be a lovely, restorative retreat. I’ll post pix when I return!