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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Tight Tenting

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On Wednesday, our bike trip destination was Lake Bemidji State Park. We arrived in time to eat lunch there, before the baggage truck had even delivered our gear. Since this park did not have a group camping site large enough to house all our tents in one location, ride director Bob divided us into two groups.

Even at half the number of campers, it looked like we would barely fit. The tents were going to need to be set very close together. Luckily, this group knows how to do close.

Since we didn’t yet have our bags with the tents in them, people began to claim their plot by laying down their bicycles in the spot where they hoped to erect their tent.

DSCN4867eBy the time the truck with our luggage arrived, impending rain was beginning to threaten its arrival. The area behind the truck took on the appearance of an airport baggage claim station as folks took turns stepping in to grab their gear the second it appeared.

In a flurry of expert efficiency, our tent city popped up very quickly.


In this situation, it was going to be very difficult to achieve much in the way of the isolation we value for reducing auditory sleep interruptions that happen at close quarters. Tent fabric is a very poor sound dampening wall material. We share every cough, sniffle, burp, fart, hiccup, and snore that human bodies are prone to do.

Actually, the more onerous irritant often doesn’t come from our bodies, but from our equipment. Tent zippers, noisy sleeping pads, and plastic storage bags can make an incredible amount of ruckus after it gets dark and voices have grown hushed.

My friends, Rich and Doobie, got creative and tucked their tents with mine between some bushes on a teeny strip of green between driveways.

DSCN4869eAny port in a storm.

We were so close that our rain flies were tied to each other to keep them from sagging onto the tent walls. It is a good thing we didn’t get much more rain than what fell, because there wasn’t a very good route for water to drain away from the middle spot where three rain flies all sloped together.

I’m happy to boast that I don’t have much trouble with these tight conditions, because I am always so exhausted by sunset that I fall unconscious asleep very quickly and miss all but the most egregious clamoring that sometimes can occur in the middle of the night.

When I do happen to notice a particularly loud snorer, I tend to return to sleep easily while pondering how in the world individuals who make loud snoring sounds don’t wake themselves up when they are so close to all that noise.












Written by johnwhays

June 28, 2016 at 6:00 am

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