I returned from a too-short but very satisfying trip to Raccoon Creek State Park with 13 other women, 12 students and 1 other instructor. I posted back in winter about how fun it was to run farm equipment with no men around to tell us how to do it, and we had a similar experience with this trip. I love that when some of the young women express fear of mice, spiders, or snakes, it isn't just some tough guy saving them, but instead a bunch of other women showing the others that we're fine out there, and we'll all make it back.
In truth, this was a great group, and we had great hiking, shared fire-building, peaceful sleeping and a lot of laughter.
But the fire-building does hit on a part of this camping trip which I particularly appreciate, my camp stove. The official camp stove in our family, a lovely whisperlite, is my husband's, and wonderful as it is, it seems a bit like a fancy car with lots of gears. This may not be fair to the whisperlite, which I know is a well-loved item by so many campers. But this is my stove, the one I made myself and which I know how to run. It is the one which I can recycle if I break it, the one my friend Kerri taught me to make. One of our students forgot hers, and picked up a new can on the roadside near the trailhead, and used her pocketknife to make a new stove when we got to the shelters. I have an odd amount of affection for this particular one, but at the same time I recognize that its worth is clearly in the emotional energy I have given it, not in its component parts.
Add denatured alcohol, a match, and a pan of water, and Voila! Mealtime on the trail, rain or shine. Add good company and a trail, and it is a party of sorts.