I recently went backpacking in Humboldt County, sleeping on the beach in some of the most beautiful and remote places along the Northern California coast. Lots of tall rock, lush green cliffs along the beaches that are incredible. One problem I had though on this trip, was that the nights got really cold and windy. My tent would shake violently and make it hard for me to sleep, and I spent a good part of the night paranoid that some of my stuff would get blown away. Many times after a big gust of wind, I would get worried and check outside my tent to make sure my stuff was still there. I sleep in a bivvy tent, which is like a cocoon that only fits a body, so I can’t put all my stuff inside with me. The first night wasn’t too bad, the wind kept me up a little bit, but I was still able to sleep. The second night though was horrendous. The wind blew so hard there were times it felt like it picked me up a little bit; and my tent would flap so loud and aggressively that it was impossible for me to fall asleep, and of course there was the panic from time to time that my stuff was going to blow away. After laying there for 2-3 hours, hoping it would eventually die down, I decided to get up in the middle of the night, pick up all my sleeping gear, and try to find an area that was protected by trees or something that would shield me from the wind. I came to a place that was at a slight incline, so I had to fight sliding off my sleeping pad through the night, but it was surrounded by plenty of trees to protect me from the wind, and I was finally able to get some sleep. One downside to this though, is that being surrounded by trees gave rise to a new fear that the wind would cause a branch or a tree to fall on me while I was laying there. Every time a big gust came and I heard the trees creak or sway, I would think, “please God don’t let a branch fall on me.” To top it all off, I had forgotten my jacket on this trip, so the mornings were a little rough as well. I dreaded getting out of my tent in the morning to deal with the cold winds.

In this area of California, as soon as you get off the beach, it is a lush redwood forest. I spent my last day hiking back to the campground where my car was parked, which was in the middle of the redwoods, and the best part about spending the night in the redwoods, is that there is zero wind. It was such a relief knowing that I wasn’t going to have to spend the night fighting with the wind. As I was approaching the campground, and getting myself mentally prepared for staying the night here, I thought to myself, “well its not the most scenic place I’ve slept on this trip, but it’s peace.” And it occurred to me in that moment that isn’t that also true about home? It’s not the most exciting, scenic, beautiful place we can be in the world, but it’s peace, and that is something I can appreciate.

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1 Response to Peace

  1. Ann V. says:

    What an adventure camping in those rugged conditions. It makes me think of life itself. We are on an adventure that rocks us sometimes and excites us sometimes. And we learn to find peace but won’t know it fully until we are in our eternal home. I also think about how much we long for home when we’re uncomfortable, makes it even harder to leave but I admire that you do!

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