As if stealth camping doesn’t get stranger from here on out, I now attempt an overnight in a local wetland environment.
I hiked down the road to the local fen, as passing motorists are probably wondering what this youngster with a backpack is doing walking along a busy road!
This particular location boasts a mile and a tenth of wood and fiberglass boardwalk, I arrived with more than an hour of daylight left.
The first picture below was what my destination ended up looking life, beaver dam and a beautiful flowing creek. However, the trek there was a bit of a trial to push through…
I took a sharp turn off the main road when the coast was clear and passed along a property line near the tree and shrub nursery. I had anticipated the path to be mostly clear, save for any overgrown foliage and greenery.
Instead, I had to trudge for stretches of wild grasses and plants that were almost my height. Yikes, can you say ticks and chiggers??
Upon my arrival, fortunately no one was there this late and I walked along the boardwalk in search of a decent spot.
The original plan turned sour pretty quickly, as the side trail that spurred from the boardwalk was clearly overgrown and not well suited for a hammock.
On the other side of the fen was another side trail that I was sure to be well trodden, fortunately it was and I made way to my last resort (besides turning back home.)
The end of the trail is the meeting of the creek and the beaver dam, a peaceful water trickle to lull to bed. I was convinced that no one would be determined enough to take this trail all the way to the end; basically an out-and-back, this close to dark AND midsummer with bugs and all.
The perfect pairing of trees was quickly found, perfectly spaced and suited for my weight. Just be sure to always pitch on healthy looking trees and not widowmakers as they’re called!
Dozing off to the Golden Hour glow of sunset while reading Kenn Kaufman’s “Kingbird Highway” that was gifted to me by a friend. This entire trip was stressful, but the end of the day felt too good to be true.
Sunset gave way to dark and my book was traded for ear plugs and an eye mask. Tired from all the work done thus far, I crashed pretty quickly.
Sleeping outside is a mixed bag and with all the animals, strange noises they make and splashes constantly in the water kept me up most of the night. Not again..
I got about a decent two hours or less of sleep and as a small pitter-patter of rain began, this became a downpour within half an hour. My laziness got the best of me and I did not set up the rainfly tarp yet again!
The weather changes quite dramatically and obviously can be radically different from what a forecast may call for. A quick teardown of my “campsite” at 3am with a hike back the way I came was fairly surreal.
Still half asleep and trudging through wetland under wet conditions, the rain parted ways shortly thereafter and the streetlights illuminated my way home. Not a single car in sight as compared to my way into the wetland the evening before.
The morning after was for drying out all that gear. Maybe after two “failures” at stealthing then I’ll change my ways.
Regardless, this has been fun and I’ve learned new things each time to improve. Hunker down!
Do you have a story of stealth camping, boondocking or in a similar vein? Feel free to share it down below!