Sunday, September 14, 2008
Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, CA -- Our campground neighbor and co-volunteer Adrienne is THE role-model for experienced campers here in Yosemite.
She’s been camping for years, loves it, and has learned how to stay comfortable even in a semi-harsh environment. It IS beautiful here, but is also can be cold, hot, dusty, wet or dry, or all of the above in a matter of hours.
Her home is normally in Seal Beach, in Southern California, and she is a former surfer chick and photo studio manager exec and artists with lots of talent and a love for Yosemite.
Her husband isn’t too hot on camping for himself, but indulges and supports her passion for doing it in comfort and style. He buys her little items she spotted in catalogs and elsewhere over the years and they make living in the woods more comfortable.
She maintains her status as a camper, environmentalist and lover of the outdoors, but sees no need to be uncomfortable when living and working in the park for five week stints.
Yosemite’s campgrounds provide minimal facilities -- toilets and cold water are about the limit -- but Adrienne has found ways to make it seem home-like.
Her base camp is a large red two-room tent, big enough to stand in. Nice carpets on the floor. The front room is her sitting room, and has a small folding table if she needs to eat inside or entertain guests. The bedroom has an inflatable single bed that that is up off he ground, and uses a down comforter to stay warm. She also has a cold weather sleeping bag if it really gets chilly. (So far, it has only gotten down to 29 degrees.) She also has a propane tent heater for really cold nights.
For shade on warm days she uses an attractive green patio umbrella. She keeps fresh flowers and a potted plant, all of which adds a certain cache to the campground. She also has crafted unique bags and boxes to contain her small stuff. She has an artistic touch and everything is well done.
She brings along a kitchen unit she designed, and her dad helped her build. It has a camoflauge cover so it blends in, and it sits next to the bear-proof metal storage box, which she uses for extra counter space.
Her kitchen includes a stove, with piped in propane; a hot water on-demand heater, also piped to the water supply (a low-tech jug) which pumps upward into her sink; storage for utensils; a basin/sink; a propane-fired Teflon grill. She uses a rechargeable battery pack to run the necessary pumps, and to run her photo printer from her digital camera, and to keep her cell phone working (yes, we have reception here 8,700 feet up in the mountains) .
She makes very small fires for warmth, has a comfortable chair and a hammock.
She also has a device which she declined to encourage photographs of, which is used to avoid long cold walks to the bathroom at night.
She uses her bicycle for transportation, eats well, entertains from her temporary home with exotic teas, hot coffee and warm hospitality, and is the envy of her neighbors (us).
All of this stuff fits neatly into her van, and her self-imposed rule is that if she has too much stuff and it rises above the van windows, something gets left behind.
Oh yes: she also has bear bells hung around her kitchen area on a trip wire in case a bear becomes too interested in her home. One night when she did have a large brown guest she simply stepped outside the tent, said, “Shoo bear!” and the bear -- recognizing her territorial claims, shooed quietly into the night.
A neighbor who spent the night, visiting from Southern California, calls her the Martha Stewart of Camping.
Last night she cooked dinner for everyone.
Just the kind of neighbor everyone needs!