The wisdom of tenting in Banff indefinitely was showing cracks by around 9:30pm on Saturday night. It was a cold, rainy evening and there was snow laying in the ditches on the side of the highway. I’ve slept outside in a tent in -50 C and I’ve winter camped on various other occasions. Still, I wasn’t keen on the idea of setting up my campsite in the rain, in the dark. I pulled into Canmore (10 minutes from Banff) and spent the night in a hotel.
The next morning the sun came out, but rain was expected for the afternoon. Plenty of time to get my tent and kitchen set up before the rain came.
I took my time setting up my site, savouring every moment. This was the first time my tent would see action. Only fools rush in… and we’ll have many years together. Afterwards I spent another hour rigging my kitchen tarp. It was like trying to figure out a puzzle, thinking up the best way orient it, what trees to tie off to and what pegs to plant for optimum tension. I built a pulley tensioning system into every length of rope by first tying in loops into the ropes at precise points and then running the rope through its own loops to tighten. I’m a geek that way. In elementary school, I used to have a length of rope stashed in my desk, and whenever I got bored, I’d practice my knots.
Later that night, I cooked a steak over the open fire. I also burned my vegetables to a crisp. I thought if I buried them in the coals, wrapped in foil, they’d cook. Instead the foil disintegrated and the veggies inside suffered a horrible death. Perhaps if I would have practiced cooking with foil in elementary school…
I drank camp stove coffee, stoked my fire and thought to myself that this was a pretty good moment. Never in my life had I gone camping, just by myself, for the purpose of camping. Yeah… I was there to write a script, but camping was the stage upon which that writing would take place. It was just me and my fire, my kitchen, my tent, my rigging and my imagination musing about story structure and my own subconscious desires.
Could it get any better?