Almost exactly a year ago, I bought John a new sleeping bag for his birthday.  We had been talking about going camping, oh, since we moved to Chicago.
This weekend, we finally used the sleeping bag for the first time.  (We talk a big game, but apparently aren’t very good at the actual planning part.)

Camping in the fall is awesome.  It gets crisp and cold at night, so the fire feels useful instead of just scenic, and you roast marshmallows and are all set to make delicious smores until you realize that oops!  You forgot the graham crackers.  Fortunately the campsite next to you has extra, and is willing to share in exchange for some beers out of your cooler.

After watching the fire die for an hour you start to wonder why the fire isn’t dead already, and it’s getting kind of late, and you’re tired, and it’s dead enough that it’s not really keeping you warm anymore but not dead enough for you to feel comfortable just letting it be and going to bed.  So you open the car door and find one of your jugs of water and use it to extinguish the fire, except oops! You forgot to close the car door and the wind is blowing directly into the car and all that yummy-smelling campfire smoke has not done a comically thorough job of hotboxing your car.  (This is the only hotboxing this car has ever experienced, much to the disappointment of the police officer who searched it VERY thoroughly in a Motel 6 parking lot in East St. Louis Illinois some years ago, who was convinced I was running drugs from New Orleans to Chicago.  Remind me to tell you that story sometime!)

After making your borrowed smores and hotboxing your car (note: campfire smell is an excellent way to finally be rid of new car smell!) you are ready for bed, and it is cold and crisp, and you are so pleased to bundle up and feel all snug as a bug in a rug in your tent.   That is, until it starts pouring at 2:30 a.m. and the rain flap on your very old, very small backpacking tent is not quite up to the challenge and you get a little damp.  Details, details.

Nonetheless, we had a lovely day of hiking and looking at pretty scenery and just generally enjoying the fact that we were not in the city but were in the country! Where it is pretty!  I would show you pictures except someone forgot to check the camera battery before leaving home and it was dead!  Ahem.

P.S. To the poor college kid down on one knee, proposing to his girlfriend at the top of a very popular hike, in a spot right around a blind bend in the trail where you didn’t see them until whoops, you were right there with them on that little ledge- sorry for ruining your moment, kiddo.  Maybe next time you ought to choose a slightly more secluded spot, mmm?

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