My sister had reserved a Yurt for her family in the Valley of the Rogue State Park in southern Oregon. Something came up at the last minute and they couldn’t make it. She offered their reservation to me! How fun, I thought. Since moving to the mountains, I had started to stockpile camping supplies and equipment. I purchased an easy to set up tent for two, a good flashlight, a single-burner camp stove, a warm sleeping bag, an air mattress, a Coleman lantern and other odds and ends to make my camping experience a bit civilized. I brought bottled water, dried food, canned food (a can opener!). I packed a few refrigerated items–enough for three days–in my Igloo cooler.
I arrived at the designated yurt early enough on a Friday afternoon to get settled. City girl goes wild, I thought. Born and raised in San Francisco by the ocean and having lived there for most of my life, this recently-baptized-by-the-mountains-of-northern-California-woman felt ready for a modified camping experience. After all, a yurt is at least a step up from a tent, but I’m camping, right? Newly-divorced (after thirty years of marriage), independent wild woman on my own, capable, solo with an “I’ll show them” attitude. “I’m tough!” I don’t want or need anyone (except perhaps a big dog one of these days). I unloaded everything from the car and put things in accessible places.
I surveyed my surroundings. Nothing about respite or quiet here. Hmmm. There is no sense of privacy either. Each campsite is in close proximity to the next one. I can almost overhear conversations. Is that the sound of a blender? I’m in an electrical jungle of yurts, tents, motor homes. The blender sound is some sort of motorized gizmo to blow up a queen-sized air mattress. Everyone seems to be playing their favorite radio station and it creates an indistinguishable cacophony of noise. Is this what it’s like to live in a zoo? I can imagine tourists driving through. The tour guide with his microphone announces: “Stay in your car, please and don’t get too close. You don’t want to alarm the humanimals. Isn’t that sweet. The mommy is pulling tangles out of the daughter’s coat and she’s growling softly…”
Dinner time: I can’t get the single burner stove lit to boil the corn on the cob and the tofu dogs I’ve brought for dinner. Lighting matches, matches, more matches. Reading again and again the very abbreviated non-instructions. How hard can this be? Calling on Crone Goddess and whoever answers the prayers of a wannabee wild woman camping. I can’t get the darn thing to light! I stubbornly refuse to ask for help. No way…there’s no one to ask anyway. I’m preparing to eat raw corn on the cob, cold tofu dogs and solidified refried beans. Yum!
In desperation, I finally flag down a park ranger driving around in his truck. Gallantly, he strides over to survey the situation. He lights more matches to no avail. He stands back, perplexed and then, a lightbulb goes on! He flips it over, lights a match…the blue flame starts instantly. It was upside down! “It would definitely help if it was right side up,” he chuckles, scratching the back of his neck. Embarrassed, I thank him and send him on his way. Alright, thank you, you’ve done a man’s job. You can go now. Wild woman is in charge once again.
This isn’t it. Not the back-to-nature wild experience I envisioned. Mankind takes care to mold nature into a civilized park. Interstate five (5) runs parallel to the campgrounds. People from the city come here to camp and get close to nature. Interstate five (5) drowns out any clue to the nearby presence of the Rogue River. The river not nearly as roguish as mankind. This is not camping! This is not roughing it. This is not peaceful nor getting away.
There you have it, today’s little rant.