Urban Camping - Summer Series: Episode 2

Saturday, June 02, 2018


Memorial Day weekend is day to celebrate and remember the heroes that fought for our country. It's also a weekend to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer. For many that means packing up the car and the kids for a road trip to the lake for the weekend. Don't get me wrong I would be all over that if it was an option. I had to go a different route. Episode two didn't go as smoothly as the first go around and that can be equated to the heat. It was still an enjoyable experience and this time around I'm going to give you the homeowners perspective. He is a good friend of mine from back when we were wild childs in college.


When I heard of my friend's project to document backyard camping experiences in the Twin Cities area, and beyond, I was excited to participate.

My fiance and I just moved into a new home in Minnetonka and we've had a lot of projects, inside and out, to take care of this spring.  Over Memorial day weekend I made the bitter-sweet decision to stay home and work on the yard while she headed to the cabin with her family; sweet because I was able to get a lot done, and it was the perfect excuse to spend some quality time with one of my best old friends in my new environment.


I didn't know what to expect out of the experience, and it was only his second adventure of his summer series, but I knew it would be a welcome distraction from the heat and pain of yard work.

When he arrived I was happy to see that he had his new canine in tow, which I hadn't had the chance to meet yet.  I thought to myself, finally some opportunities to have some of those "Instagram" moments that I had watching everyone else have on social media while I was mowing lawn and cutting brush back.


Speaking of bitter-sweet, one of the benefits of Minnetonka is the abundance of nature in a neighborhood environment and this was a perfect opportunity my old friend some of the projects around the house I've been working on in an effort to co-exist with the nature of the neighborhood.


I got some unexpected takeaways from having a friend camp in my backyard.  For one, we had painted turtles crawling all over the place lwhile we were enjoying the lawn.  It brought me back to those adolescent summers, catching turtles with the neighborhood crew at the local pond.  I also picked up some great gear ideas for the house and my very own camping/hiking load-out.  Growing up hunting and fishing in the wilderness of Wisconsin, working for the adventure program in the recreation department of my university, and becoming a ski instructor I thought I was pretty up to date on gear.  To my pleasant surprise some of the gear has come a long way; and having a working gear expert show me how the latest gear works in my own backyard gave me some great ideas to improve my outdoor living space.  Knowing exactly where a hammock can go and how to rig it was all the motivation I needed to pull the trigger on purchasing one for my fiance as a gift for her return from the cabin.  He also reviewed some hammock accessories online that help turn a hammock into a true backpacking sleeping option for those quick and lightweight overnight or long weekend backpacking trips.


The experience was both a trip back to some of my roots and past good memories, and a look forward to making new memories, in new places with some new-er folks.  This is all thanks to simply supplying an old friend a small patch of my backyard.


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