Friday, July 3, 2015

Standing Against the Forces of Nature

Do you ever feel as though you are standing there in a futile fight against the immense forces of nature?

There have been a few times in my life when I have been face to face with an unstoppable force that I felt like an ant trying to stop a tidal wave.

I am reminded of that song

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plantAnyone knows an ant, can'tMove a rubber tree plant
But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopesHe's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

And while some of you may be thinking that I am describing some sort of analogy for my inner gender variances, nope, I am describing how I felt standing next to my tent while gale force winds threatened to destroy my entire camp.

Jules and I were awoken just a few minutes prior and were now fully dressed, standing next to our tent, and holding onto it for dear life.  The skies were a dark formidable mass of nasty looking clouds, and the rain was just lightly falling, but the wind had become stronger than anything I had ever experienced.  It was whipping down the valley, roaring as it came, and lifting our tent almost completely off the ground, with Jules and I with it.

Jules steadied the tent while I furiously beat the stakes back into the mostly sandy ground.  The wind blew harder and harder, yanking most of the steaks out, and eventually ripping open a large gash in the side of the tent.  More wind blew in and the tent began to billow like a parachute, lifting more and more up off the ground.

I was desperately trying to determine what to do next when our screen room suddenly lifted up, tossing our kitchen to the ground, and crumpled to the ground about twenty feet away.  Our quaint little campground began to look like a hurricane smashed through it.  Our stuff was blowing all over the place, the screen room was a complete loss, the tent was mostly ripped, and still the wind blew, destroying as it huffed and puffed.

Jules was ten feet from me, but I had to yell for her to hear me describe what to do.  We dropped the tent to the ground and began to struggle with getting the canopy off of the frame.  Around this time a fellow camper, from a site next to ours, came running over and began to struggle with our crumpled screen room.  With the tent sitting on the ground, it stopped acting like it was about to fly away and I went to help with our screen room.

When I got to it, I could see how it was just completely destroyed.  The fabric was ripped all over and the canopy frame was mangled beyond repair.  Between the two of us we got the fabric detached from the frame and tucked under a bush.  With the screen room secured, we both ran back over to the tent and helped Jules to get it all down.

The entire incident lasted about a half hour, but by the time it was complete, our camp had been destroyed.  Most of our gear had been totally demolished, our belongings were strewn about in the dirt, our older dog was freaked out, and Jules and I were exhausted.

We spent the next hour or two cleaning up, packing our stuff back into the truck, and marveling at the power of nature and of our arrogance.  Every so often Jules and I really think we have gotten something figured out and are pretty secure in our knowledge that we got it down!  Camping was one of those areas.

Jules and I have been camping for many, many years, somewhere more than 20.  We have refined our gear and gotten to the point where we are more "glampers" than campers.  We have had our ups and down and really thought that we had the camping thing down.  In fact, humorously, just the day before this we had been commenting to each other how good we are at camping and that we should offer classes to others to help them out.  OMG, what arrogance!  It was as if the world heard us and decided to hand us a fat slice of humble pie!

As harsh as it can be at times, I enjoy being humbled.

I enjoy being reminded that sometimes nature is going to take it's course regardless of my desires.

Maybe this is an analogy.

Maybe what I need are tent anchors instead of stakes?

Maybe what I really need is a camp trailer!

Just what makes that little old ant ....

Photo -


  1. When I was a teenager I was in the Scouts. One year we went on a district camp and over the weekend a storm hit. It was so bad we packed everyone into the mess tent as that was a lot more sturdy and could hold all of the troop.
    The Scout leaders, patrol and assistant patrol leaders ended up having to take down all of the other tents, it was very much like you've described, handing onto the tents and trying to take them down without them turning into massive parachutes.

    I was glad to crawl into my sleeping bag, even if it meant I had to sleep in my underwear because I couldn't find my rucsac with spare clothes.

    My other experience while camping in the rain was in the Lake District. A group of us from work had spent a week camping there. On the weekend at the end of the week we were there lots of people started turning up and our very quiet spot (there was just our four tents) became a lot more rowdy due to the group of lads and lasses that seemed to be planning a weekend of music and drinking.
    The music and noise kept going until really late before quieting down, and then the rain started.
    When I awoke the following morning and looked out of my tent the view was completely changed. The group of tents belonging to the group that had been drinking until late were gone, the occasional belong lying on the ground. When they eventually appeared it was from the cars they'd come in. It seemed that none of them had put their tents up properly and so as soon as the storm came in their tents had been blown down. Strangely we didn't see them again that weekend. I have to admit to mild satisfaction that our tents had survived and theirs hadn't as much as it wouldn't have been nice dealing with tents coming down in the rain.

    1. Good stories Jenna! Thanks!

      I have so many stories of camping disasters it is kind of funny. I've learned through tragedy!

  2. That sounds quite blustery! I guess it's time to do some shopping and get some new equipment.
    We had some strong winds whip through here the other day for a short time, too. Knocked over my neighbor's tree, among other things. But no substantial damage other than the downed tree.


    1. Hi Dara-

      Interesting. I think the storm that hit us was coming up form the south, so maybe it had hit you first. It was kind of wild while driving back as there was lots of debris on the road from the high winds blowing leaves and branches and even trees down.

      Glad you were not affected by it!