There’s Hot and Then There’s This

“Go west young man,” Horace Greeley once said. I think ol’ Horace forgot to add this caveat: except in the summer, and the modern interpretation: especially in 2021.

My July-August travel plans had me heading west through the northern states, but the record heat is changing my path. Can’t avoid some of it, else I might as well head back home! So I’ve modified a path that loops into some of the west then heads south into the Rockies: where I’m told, by some campers here, it’s nearly just as hot at the higher elevations (but cools way down at night).

So it’s acceptance time and make the best of it.

Daily routine here at Teddy Roosevelt National Park (North) is to scramble in the morning with anything needing fussing with, do my yoga, meditation, good breakfast, early ‘net readings, etc., while it’s cooler. The day then becomes managing oneself from shaded, breezy spot to another, along with of course, copious amounts of water. I use plain coconut water as a an electrolyte replenisher at the end of the day instead of Gatorade. But let their be no confusion: when it’s this hot, and you’re living outside, the heat tells you what you’ll do during the day (or more pointedly, what you won’t do).

I had planned to so some extensive hiking. But, well, it’s too bloody hot to pull that off, as much because I don’t enjoy hiking while lugging a gallon of water along plus I tend to stay entranced by the hike and easily go past my point of heat stress. But occasionally I’m going in the middle of the day to drive somewhere for supplies and scenery and that helps charge the lithium portable batteries (plus the promised treat of the car’s Max A/C button!).

Still, managing to find time to write and wander a bit. Here at the Teddy Roosevelt National Park north unit I have commandeered this 1920s CCC-built pavilion of sorts to hang out in and write. Amazingly, it’s always shady underneath the expansive roof held up by full-trunk timbers. It’s also a great spot to await the buffalo herds that move through the meadow between this pavilion and my camp. Have yet to capture usable footage for YouTube, but they’re all over the place so just a matter of time. The two times they’ve been through this meadow I wasn’t in the pavilion, thus too far away (but so awesome to watch through binoculars).

Despite the dehydrating heat, I’m enjoying the benefits of camping in one place for a week. Usually I do shorter stays of one to two days. At that length it’s a hassle to set up full camp, so it’s been a treat to avoid that and just live in the wild (if campsites with good toilets, trash service, and clean potable water qualifies as “living in the wild”).

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