Natalie Ogbourne

Dad and I went to Yellowstone about a year ago—just the two of us, to the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, for a nature writing class—and we did some hiking and camping along the way. Most of the time, the end-of-August days delighted us with warm sun and cool air, but the forecast and cotton candy clouds foreboded rain.

The clouds delivered a couple of afternoon spurts worth dragging out our yellow ponchos for. And once, while we walked the boardwalk to Echinus geyser, they brought hail.

And every night for three nights, while we cooked our dinner, the sky sprinkled. Every night we sat by the fire in a gentle rain. And then, every night, it picked up and rained like it meant it. We wanted to linger by that fire, but how much can worn hikers really take?

Our weather-enforced curfew was probably good for us. We logged plenty of miles on foot and in the van during days that started early. Rain delivered the message that darkness and fatigue did not: go to sleep. So, every night after a short fire we retired, Dad to his tent and me to my luxurious pile of memory foam in the back of Mom and Dad’s twelve passenger van.

When Dad and I arrived at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, we brought with us a wet mass of a wadded up the tent. Our cabin’s timbered railing provided a place to hang it to dry in the sun. Our camp chairs needed the same treatment, so we set them up on the porch.

Our gear dried quickly in the arid mountain air and when the time came to stow it back in the van, we kept one chair out. Our cabin featured one rustic wooden chair on the porch. Because of the rain, we thought to have two–two where we sat together every morning and evening, the kind of together that life rarely bestows once you grow up and move away from home.

Every day I wished it wouldn’t rain, but once again, through the rain came a gift. You’d think I’d learn.

And you? How do approach unexpected and unpleasant circumstances that come your way?

This is the second post in a 3 part series on the pitfalls of life outdoors, especially how those pitfalls may bring us closer together. Why post about camping in September? Its weather is usually an open invitation to step outside.

Sharing stories this week at Unforced Rhythms.