I pulled up to the booth at the camping area below Clearwater Dam. The hostess asked me, “How many in your party?”
I replied, “Just me.”
She looked in the van as if I was kidding. I paid the fee, and then found a nice spot close to the biking/walking trail and to the restroom.
A friend had helped me rig my van by taking out the two back seats, building a platform for storage underneath and sleeping on top. I fashioned curtains with fabric on dowel rods suspended on cup hooks.
It was my favorite season, fall, but I had never ventured camping alone.
After setting up my campsite and preparing the fire pit with the wood I purchased at the little store up the road, I set out walking. Not far up the trail I must have spooked a very large heron from a tree. Watching it fly across the river I realized I was free as that bird. My aloneness was not keeping me from doing what I love to do.
Up the trail, a quartet of little girls on bikes passed going the other way. The girls and their bikes were various sizes and ages. I asked the older one, “How far does the trail go?”