For many years, I camped out of a small travel trailer with my husband and three young boys. For the extra sleeping room, we took a pup tent and had a fold down seat in our Suburban. We experienced the Lake Superior Circle Tour, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota North Shore State Parks and much more.
We were introduced to the BWCAW when the boys reached middle school, and a whole new world opened. But, we needed a tent. We needed a real tent. We went to an Ely outfitter who sold used gear at the end of the season. It was in 1998 that we bought our “Walrus” tent for half price. Over the years we’ve tried other tents; it has remained our best tent.
Fast forward to 2018. Before setting up that tent, I bragged to our companions about the integrity of the best tent before even getting it out of the sack. I told of it remaining stable and dry during times of wind, rain and snow. It kept us cool and mosquito free as well.
As memories began to jump out of the pages of my camping past, I couldn’t help but notice how the elastic flap fasteners had lost their stretch. I also saw the faded look to the tent and the seams gleaming with past sealer applications. “What’s going on?” I asked myself. “Yesterday, the tent was new.” I did the math; it was far from new.
As I daydreamed, the physical characteristics of the tent began to blur with my physical capabilities. My joint elasticity is a bit challenged; my hair has faded. Occasionally, I need medical seam sealer, a.k.a. a cast and I am seldom without prescribed exercises from the physical therapist.
With some sadness, quickly replaced by gratitude, I reconciled that both the tent and I have weathered life’s storms. I am more careful navigating a rocky portage; I have lightened the load in my pack, and I maintain a fitness regime.
Yes, the tent and I are still in action.
That night I was kept dry in a heavy rain.
By Brenda Hadrich