Campsite 56

Five and a half years ago

We had just finished up a hike with our dog before retiring to our campsite. We had wandered many miles over many hills, enjoying each other’s company (and our dog), sharing our hopes and dreams. After our traditional car-camping dinner of instant ramen, Tyler said, “save some room for dessert!” We got in the tent, and he pulled out a box of Varsano’s chocolates. We had walked into the chocolate store in NYC in 2007 when we first started dating and I had discovered my love for their square truffles. I opened the box, and inside, I saw another box, nestled neatly between square truffles.

Tyler got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. I said yes. And then I asked where the rest of the square truffles were (you know, the ones displaced by the ring box).

We stayed up late to play Agricola in the tent by the light of a camping lantern.

Yesterday

We pulled up to the same campsite, car fully packed with overnight supplies for three humans, and one dog, with extra pillows for camping-while-pregnant. After a short hike and dinner (black bean soup — deviating from tradition for once to change things up), we gathered around the campfire for Alina’s first s’mores, which lived up to their name.

We all laid down in that same tent around 9pm — this time, with three sleeping bags and Keppy curled up in the small space by Alina’s feet, there was no extra room for Agricola. We pretended to sleep while Alina wandered around the tent before finally collapsing at 10pm. She woke us up again at 4am wide-awake and talking loudly. “You have to be quiet, we have neighbors and they’re trying to sleep,” we explained. None of us were getting any sleep as she walked around and refused to go back to sleep. Tyler ended up driving her all the way home (30 min away). As he drove away, and I lay in the tent with our dog Keppy, I imagined the two of them driving away on the winding roads in the dark.

“I love you. Please drive safely. Thank you for taking alina home.” I texted.

Today

I woke up at campsite 56, in the exact same tent I had gotten engaged in. After packing up our gear, I took advantage of this rare moment of solitude (Keppy had settled in the dirt to take a nap), and sat and looked out into the forest of eucalyptus trees.

Soon, Tyler and Alina pulled up, and I opened the backseat door to see Alina’s smiling face. “We’re going to campsite, pick up mommy!” “Here I am!” I said.

An hour later, we drove away from the campsite once again. I hope we’ll be back to continue the chain of memories and adventures we’ve had there. Next time, we might want to practice sleeping together in sleeping bags in a tent at home first. And we might need a bigger tent.

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