A 2007 photo from where we camped
last night at the end of a logging road.
First, I want you to know that I haven’t been posting or visiting blogs much lately because I’ve been busy on my summer work-list (paint the computer room; build and roof a deck; replace flooring in kitchen, den, computer room, living room, and laundry room; build a shed; replace edging along house; replace paneling between garage doors). Now...

Peggy climbed nearby 7,144' Fuji Mtn for the
14th time yesterday (photo from 2007).
Hiking and camping in our van was a major part of our lives until my knees went out, at which point we bought folding bikes that we could carry in the van. Then, my shoulders went out, and I couldn’t camp either. Last summer (after not going for years), we made one camping trip, and we’ve made two trips this year, last night being the second. Both times, I hurt too much to sleep for more than a few hours, it being harder to control pain when camping.  
Black Butte or, as a Southerner
called it, Black Butt.

This morning, Peggy woke up with her weekly three-day migraine, and since she had forgotten her migraine pills, we came home. I felt a little about this because my wrist was hurting too much to bike. Peggy usually drives, but I drove today and couldn’t keep my hands from “going to sleep” on the steering wheel. This was no surprise because since I’ve started doing projects again, my shoulders don’t just hurt, they also itch and tingle right down to my hands. If money was as common as the clover in my yard, I would go to a neurologist, but after seeing more doctors and physical therapists than I can remember, plus having three surgeries with multi-year recoveries, all for little benefit, I’m not encouraged to burn through tens of thousands of dollars more unless things get so bad that I have no choice, as they seem to be doing. 

Some High Cascade volcanoes. Raynauds 
has made winter camping impossible.

Another thing that makes camping difficult is that I have Raynauds Disease, so my fingers turn white and lose feeling and function if they get the least bit chilled, and mornings here are chilly even in summer. Then there’s the fact that I don’t dare sleep without a CPAP (especially with all the drugs I take), and this means hauling a 12-volt battery, a charger, a converter, eight feet of tubing, and a CPAP mask on our camping trips. I also take headgear to keep my mouth shut so I don’t drool (what with all the drugs), a balaclava to go over the headgear so the CPAP mask won’t rub my face raw, and a toothguard so I won’t grind my teeth. On this trip, I even threw in a wrist brace because my wrist has been hurting ever since I “slept” atop my arm two weeks ago.

This photo was taken near a ghost town,
complete with abandoned mine shafts.

If we camped in regular campgrounds, we could buy a regular camper in order to make hauling things easier (we’re so crowded that we carry the bikes on the bed) and our bed cushier, but we don’t camp in regular campgrounds. We camp down “roads” that are rough, narrow, partly overgrown, and partially collapsed. Sometimes, they’re totally overgrown or have fallen completely off a mountainside. We carry loppers, a handaxe, a shovel, and two saws, for such road challenges as we can overcome.

When we were ordering our bikes ten years ago, a couple in their seventies came in to pick up their new custom-made tandem. They had been avid bikers for decades, but the man contracted Parkinsons and could no longer balance himself on a bicycle. He and his wife figured he could still bike if she were balancing him on a tandem, but he was very unhappy about it. I felt sorry for his wife as I watched him destroy whatever joy she might have felt when their shiny new bike was rolled out. I also thought that a man who could afford twelve-grand for a bicycle might manage to show appreciation for his wealth, as well as for having a wife who was willing to put herself at risk so he could continue biking, and for the fact that he was a lot better off than millions of people his age who sit around nursing homes in wheelchairs mumbling and peeing on themselves.

Beautiful scenery close to home
is commonplace in Oregon.

So it is that if I have to give up camping once and for all, I will try to remember that I can still do a lot. I can bike, bake; do yard work; do almost anything that needs doing to a house; plus, I can botanize and geologize. Yet, when I can’t camp, it will be a loss that I can ill afford because nothing I have ever done has given me so much pleasure as taking off to the woods every week or two with Peggy and the dogs. Now, the dogs are dead, and I feel like I’m slowly being lowered into my own hole. Sure, I can make day trips, but the quality of being in the woods for a few hours doesn’t compare to staying overnight, and even if I somehow find a way to stay for just one night at a time (while writing this, I ordered a new mattress for the van), I won’t be able to visit many of the places I’ve treasured or see many of the sites I’ve cherished

I love camping above clouds. We awakened in clouds
today, but dropped below them on the way home.