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10 things I have learned while alone in the woods
And yes, I still have covid.
I still have covid. It’s also Yom Kippur, but I’ve been spending the last several days in kind of a long waking nightmare interspersed with actual nightmares, the combination of physical illness, messing with my psych meds so I could take paxlovid, bad sleep at the wrong times, and isolation, so it’s really not the time for me to talk about repentance. I’m just trying to get through.
What it IS time for me to talk about is the forest. It’s always time for me to talk about the forest.
So here, 10 things I have learned so far:
several knots. this is not really hard and knots are very useful. I especially like the one that lets you adjust the tension on a guyline, it’s called a taut line hitch.
don’t hold something in your hand while also trying to do a thing with that hand. you will a. drop the something and possibly lose it b. screw up the thing you were trying to do or c. both
don’t talk to any men you run into, it only encourages them to provide advice you didn’t ask for. just hiss at them and cover your face with your mosquito veil as if you might possibly be able to turn men to stone with your gaze.
hanging your hammock at the top of a steep pond bank is very nice if you only want to sit in it during the day, but at 11pm when you’re almost asleep in it and you realize if you get out the wrong way you will find yourself tumbling down to the pond, you will see that you cannot, in fact, fall asleep in the hammock. lesson: considerations for overnight shelter are different than those for just hanging around.
tarps are amazing
so is gaffer tape
don’t pour water in your tent, while thinking “this seems like a dumb idea that could result in water inside my tent, where I don’t want it.”
wool underwear is just as great as I thought it would be
carrying a poncho plus rain paints and a rain jacket and an umbrella seems like overkill especially when there’s not a lot of rain predicted, but they can’t accurately predict rain AT ALL it turns out, so I was very happy to have all of those things. I got 3.8 inches of rain when I was out bog witching, which was about 3 inches more than predicted. I also got a tornado warning, some flash flood warnings, and a hurricane watch. fun times.
I really appreciate having two separate light sources with me, so when I wander away from camp I have a beacon to return to.