Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Besides the night sky


Sometimes when I go north to camp it’s with the sole purpose of getting night sky images. Those trips I don’t care much about the campground, it’s just a place to nap during the day. Mostly I care if there’s a dark sky park nearby, or at least some open sky with something interesting in the foreground.

Our campsite, tucked up on a knoll, deep in the woods.

Those trips I usually spend the days sitting around at the campground reading and nibbling on snacks that aren’t good for me. When I begin to fall asleep over my book I tuck myself into my sleeping bag and take a nap.

It was spring in the woods, with the pine trees in ‘bloom.’

Sometimes that’s the best part about camping…eating, reading, napping. Repeat. I’m usually impatient for the sun to set, eager to try again for the shot I can see in my head but rarely get captured on my camera.

This trip, planned months ago, just happened to coincide with clear dark skies and no moon. So I got lucky.

I had my stove and my friend brought most of the food.

During last week’s camping adventure I had company, and a more varied agenda. We were camped in a walk-in site, we were the only people camping on our loop which was wonderful and so quiet we could hear owls at night as we sat around the campfire.

Thank goodness we were able to buy dry firewood!

OK, full disclosure. Mostly we sat around the campfire to get warm because it was stinking cold out there! Last year, on our camping trip the exact same week, we were wearing shorts. This year we were wearing long underwear, layers of sweatshirts, jackets and winter coats. I slept, the first night, wearing gloves and a hat, as well as my winter coat while in a sleeping bag and under multiple layers of blankets.

Not your typical sleeping attire.

But the next day, after a night of shivering and then squealing over the Milky Way, the sun came out and we paddled down the Platt River, almost all the way out to Lake Michigan. We got out of the river at the exact location I shot the Milky Way the night before.

Grateful for the sun while we were on the river.

That made me smile.

Lake Michigan is right on the other side of those dunes.

We had the site reserved for three nights, Monday through Wednesday, but though the second night wasn’t quite as cold as the first, I still slept in all my clothes and piled towels on top of the blankets on top of the sleeping bag.

Being cold all the time can wear a camper out.

Looks warm. Wasn’t.

Plus the weather people said it would get warmer but we were going to get rain Wednesday afternoon, and that it would rain all day Thursday, the day we were scheduled to leave.

Time to pack things up.

We decided to pack up on Wednesday morning and hightail it out of there. There’s nothing worse than packing up camp after a night of rain. Wait. In truth it’s worse to pack up camp after a full night of rain, while it continues to rain. Trust me on this.

The sun just tipping the trees above us made me want to stay….for a moment.

So we abandoned ship a day early. I think I did that almost every camping trip I took last summer, and always because of rain. Rain while camping in a small tent is not that fun after the first few hours of listening to it drum on the rainfly. Rain accompanied by wind and thunder can be pretty terrifying.

This could be another good spot to shoot the Milky Way, don’t you think?

Anyway, we chose to bail, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to go back. Camping in the woods without big RVs next to you is a delight.

I stopped at Pt. Betsie on my way home, but the lilacs weren’t open yet. And the storm was coming in.

I just hope next time it’s warm enough that I can sleep without wearing my hat and parka.

On the beach waiting for the sun to set on our last night.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

22 thoughts on “Besides the night sky

  1. Phew, what a cold time you had! Glad you got some good pictures.


  2. what an adventure- and just imagining the cold conditions I was shivering. I LOVE that photo of the lighthouse!


  3. Reading this, I can feel the cold! One time we camped up at Tahquamenon Falls and I thought I’d never be warm again! At least there were probably no mosquitoes. 🙂


  4. You are a brave soul. One of the probably two times I have camped, it rained. Get me the heck outta here! I prefer camping at a Marriott.


  5. I’m not much of a camper — I prefer the comforts of home! Still, I enjoy your camping stories and admire you for your courage. I also love seeing the photos you got (especially the lighthouse and the blooming pines!). Sorry it got so cold on you — maybe next time will be warmer … and drier?!!


    • I sure hope it’s warmer and maybe even drier! It’s ok if we have a gentle shower at night, but it’s nice if the days are warm and dry. On the other hand, any rain creates mud and mud in a tent is not fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember camping in upstate New York one summer, my husband, our four-year-old son, me heavily pregnant with our daughter – a station wagon and a canopy – and far too much rain.
    We had a good time, but there were those rainy times that made me doubt our sanity.


    • Oh yea, I’d doubt your sanity too, camping like that with 1.5 children. Though my parents camped in a green canvas tent with 4 kids…next to a sand dune and Lake Michigan. Epic sand in the camp, in our ears, in our shoes, in our food. It was wonderful. Does your son have any memories of that camping trip?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the picture of the fire.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Looks really peaceful and rejuvenating to me! I’m not much of a camper (the only time I really did it was in the campervan in Iceland), but I can really see the appeal, especially in a quiet section of a campground.


    • In a quiet part of the campground, surrounded by nothing but trees and hills, with owls and coyote and fox and all kinds of birds, it’s just so special, and not something I get to experience very often. Doesn’t your husband work in the RV field?


  9. Oh I liked this blog post. Let me enumerate the reasons … 🙂
    a. Loved the pine trees “in bloom” photo.
    b. I chuckled at the breakfast hash photo/idea.
    c. That fire photo was stunning, perfect.
    d. I really like seeing photos of you … must do more of that about me on my own blog.
    e. Oh, kayaking! Yes please, more of that please. How do you carry/load/etc your kayak? Love your water/kayaking photos.
    f. Great night shot of the tents … and of everything else. You share so much through your words and through your photos.
    g. Thoroughly enjoyed the comments about breaking camp in the rain. Even with a trailer where I’m secure inside from the rain, it’s still a royal pain to tidy up, move stuff from trailer to truck, and then hitch up, at the end of a trip … in the pouring rain. By the time I drive off, I’m soaked, sitting inside my truck, soaked. More than once, I’ve been known to hitch up the day before, or leave the day before … just like you. Yes, it’s less of a mess with a trailer since I can get in out of the rain and stand or sit or get online (or use my bathroom) or whatever while waiting for the rain, but it’s still not fun.
    h. On my first camping trip this year, my electric heater quit AND my propane heater quit. BRRRRR! I think I had every piece of clothing on that night. Bought a new space heater the next day and diagnosed the propane problem (and fixed it), but that was one cold night.
    Thanks Dawn, really like your blog.


    • Thank you for all of this. I am often so envious of people in campers with heat and maybe air conditioning, but definitely being high and dry during rain. I know that even in the tent when I know I’m leaving in the morning I pack a whole lot of stuff that night, particularly things I don’t want to pack up wet. The tent, however, is always problematic, because even if it doesn’t RAIN, it’s always wet in the morning just from dew. That’s part of the reason I’d like a trailer…no packing up a wet tent! The other reasons are that sleeping on the ground, even on a pretty good sleeping pad, is getting old. The kayaks were rented from a company near the campground, so we don’t have to transport them. My friend and I have talked about using her kayaks, but we think hers are too long for the turns on this river. Plus…the lugging and figuring out how to get back upriver after the river trip, it all seems much easier just to use the rentals, though they are clunky kayaks with short paddles.


  10. some of the best nights camping were the nights when the temps dipped down close to freezing or just below…. but it has been a loooong time since I spent a night in a tent, too long. Last summer we stopped a dark sky park just south of the Mackinac bride and it was pretty cool for the first of July. It is amazing what you can see on a clear night in northern Michigan. Stay well, peace.


    • My line in the sand for camping in a tent is usually 45. Below that I’m not going camping. But this opportunity to see the dark, clear, moonless sky in a dark part of the state was too great to worry about the temps. It was worth it! I’ve been to that dark sky park, it’s pretty amazing. But I was only there during the day, haven’t been at night. It mostly faces north, so for Milky Way it doesn’t work. Plus it’s a long way from me! I should go back though and see what it’s like at night.

      Liked by 1 person

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