All my life, I have grown up camping. I think it's actually in my genetics. For my parent's honeymoon, they went camping in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national park - for like a week. That's how much they love it. The next two years in a row they backpacked in the Rockies at up to 14,000 feet. They've been all over the States and Canada, in every condition, and have just three years ago graduated from tenting to a camper (it was a difficult, but necessary decision). They have such a love for the wild and the north and adventure - I can't help but feel it's in my blood.

My first encounter camping was at the tender age of four, and I still can remember bunching my shorts up, stepping out onto the rocks at the north shore of Lake Superior in northern MN and trying not to slip off into the water. I remember sitting in the middle of the canoe with my dog when I was ten as my parents paddled on either side and watching Addie jump out into the river after a squirrel she saw on shore (Don't worry, my dad caught her leash before she permanently floated away). We would canoe through passages of water chock full of waterlilies and surrounded on all sides by tall pine trees. I remember feeling like it was a complete other world, so different from my suburban existence back home.  

Mornings were always coffee and maple cinnamon oatmeal, and I always took great satisfaction in the fact that I could just throw my bowl and spoon into the fire after I finished eating and watch the paper shrivel to nothingness in the heat. No garbage takeout necessary. Showering was usually very low key and occasionally consisted of washing in mildly chilly lakes with biodegradable soap and shampoo. If you've never experienced getting clean in the middle of the wilderness, please put it on your bucket list. I remember riding our bikes everywhere. During the day, we would often go biking on the dirt roads by the fields or to go get ice cream in town where we would usually end up perusing the little shops on the main street for hours. In the evening, we would go up to the main lodge and buy ice and firewood for dinner-making...after a full day outdoors, fire-roasted food always tasted twice as delicious to my tuckered out, sun-baked self. I remember being entirely encased from head to toe in my sleeping bag on chilly nights, covered in plaid blankets and completely relaxed as crickets chirped next to our teal, nylon tent.

I really have countless memories of sitting at picnic tables in the woods, falling asleep to loons, and simply being in the middle of no where. My heart is scattered across each of these places, each mountain, dock, forest, and secret place we children explored. These are places where my family experienced every kind of emotion, every type of conversation. It is so much a part of how I grew up that I really can't separate it from who I am. They've constituted my summers for as long as I can remember.

Anyways, all of this preface is to help express how excited I am for this weekend and how much I look forward to experiencing the north in this way with eight of the dearest of friends.