Pitching the tent: car camping.

Pitching The Tent: Car Camping

I sit here in a tent next to a lovely little creek in a “front country” walk in tent site in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Snagging the opportunity to do a night of camping on my way from Charlotte NC to Louisville KY. So far the scenery has been breath taking in a the good way. Not the take two puffs of Ventolin way. I am thankful to have good enough control of my allergies and asthma to have the opportunity to camp.

Besides being well controlled I’ve done a few other things to try to set myself up for success:

  • I picked a campsite at the end of the line so that I only have one neighboring site that might light a camp fire.
  • I cook my meals on a stove powered by a fuel canister. This burns much cleaner than wood. As a bonus it heats up very quickly, I had my soup heated to a boil and ready to eat in about a minute tonight.
  • I picked a campground with lower elevation not at the top of the mountain.
  • I am here in the fall to avoid the worst of the heat and humidity.
  • I’m drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • I put my rescue inhaler in the pocket of my sleeping bag.
  • I gave myself “permission” to decide I need to get a hotel.
  • I dropped my spacer under the car for good luck :-). Just kidding but I did laugh at myself as I was trying to fish it out from being completely centered under the car.
  • I carefully considered if my inhaler was a “scented” product that should be kept in the car since this is a bear habitat.
  • Use unscented bug spray. Wear lightweight sun protective clothing rather than sunscreen to avoid any fragrance triggers. As a bonus this also makes me less scented for bears to recognize as human.
  • Always allow my camping gear to dry completely after each trip to avoid mold or mildew. While this is a good idea for everyone it is especially important for people who are triggered by mold or mildew.
  • Choose an easy/family friendly hiking trail to avoid overestimating my physical ability or stamina.

This trip was only one night out in the woods as a preparation for possible longer camping trips. I wanted to keep it small and simple to see how my body would handle things. No restrictions on my physical activity are imposed by my medical team. While we had not specifically discussed camping, they had given me the go ahead for other outdoors activities.

I had a great time enjoying nature and unplugging as I had no cell signal in the park. Nothing quite like going to bed under the stars and waiting up with sunrise. I plan to do more camping in the future since this first trip went well. Maybe after some additional car camping successes I will try more remote sites where I hike or bicycle to get there. Have you car camped or backpacked? Did you enjoy your time in nature?

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