Saturday, March 5, 2011

The practical side of gathering

While everyone is welcome to show up at the gathering in shorts and flip flops, I find that making sure my basic personal care is taken care of helps me focus my energy on fully participating in what ever the gathering desires from me.  Bring too much stuff and you're a prisoner of your possessions, bring too little stuff, and the nights can be very cold.

Keep in mind that depending on the site, you will be hiking your gear in from one to three miles. (Sometimes we have special parking locations for those whose physical abilities preclude them from long hikes; sometimes we have Sherpas who help other people carry their crap in).  Don't bring anything you can't keep on your person that you don't want to loose. While most people at a gathering are honest, there are usually a few thieves in the crowd and every year some bellies get stuff stolen from their tent. Of course, camping in a community and making friends with your neighbors, helps with the "tent neighbor watch" and keeps you and your neighbors junk safe.

Here's what I consider essential.

Tent, sun shower, my personal toiletries, sleeping bag, pad to sleep on, a tarp for over the tent if conditions are rainy, personal water filter, warm clothes, sun hat, sunscreen, water bottle, hiking books and a pair of sneakers. Heavy duty work gloves. A stash of apples, carrots and granola bars. A flashlight. Emergency C. Rain poncho and day pack. And of course a bowl and spoon.  Some green energy for the magic hat. A couple of roles of TP.  I always bring a number of small cotton wash clothes that I use as a "pee rag" so I don't use too much toilet paper. 

There's a great rap on this very topic called the Turtle Rap, which you can find here.

Remember, if you haul it in, it's your job to haul it out again. This means empty soda cans, used tampons, clothes (even if wet and muddy), pianos, and small children.  The only thing to leave behind is fruit and veggie scraps in the compost pit, poop and toilet paper (buried in a shitter never on the ground), and pee behind your favorite bush.

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