ChrisLee

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#17: sleep

 

Today is our fiftieth day on the road. So far we’ve paid for accommodation on 13 sleeps.

We gravitated toward campsites earlier on in the trip, attracted by showers, charging, laundry, safety from bears, and the opportunity to lay in without being hassled.

Recently though we’ve mainly wild camped, thanks to a combination of lowered standards and increased confidence in finding somewhere to sleep. (These wild camps have been supplemented by various wonderful and generous beds too, to be detailed in another post!)

Last night was the biggest indicator that our standards have shifted. We slept in a park, side by side under a tarpaulin amongst some trees no more than five feet from the path. Our plan to go a few miles out of town and camp in the bush was waylaid by a combination of a late start, a few pints, and a rainstorm that erupted as we were eating dinner in the park.

It was 10pm when we’d set up and readied ourselves for sleep, and a family walked past. “Oh there’s some bikes!” they said, then “oh, there’s some people…”. Our attempt to hide by turning our head-torches off and sitting still obviously didn’t work.

Their tone was in between disappointment and mild concern, and they walked away at a quicker pace than they’d arrived. We wondered whether bikes made our presence in the park more or less palatable to passing civilians and rangers.

I slept well considering the visibility of the pitch and general sogginess of the surroundings. My mind spent a while automatically assembling a collage of all the sounds it could hear before it was happy to let me sleep: waves lapping the lake shore, muffled sounds of faraway fireworks, insects chirping and buzzing, leaves skidding down the tarpaulin above us, dwindling rain.

As the collage became more sophisticated and its composite sounds more familiar, I imagined fewer bear footsteps and approaching conversations and sleep came easily.

Getting up at 6.30 to avoid capture by park rangers means we’ve had a much more leisurely day, too.

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