Tense About Tents

March 26, 2016,

I learned something about myself this trip.

I am perfectly comfortable traveling all over the world without a plan and hardly a map, letting my itinerary be defined by weather and chance conversations with locals. I can go all day into the night without worrying for an instant about where I will be sleeping, but once I get to a campground, beware! I become tense until I find the perfect site — not that I know what exactly defines that.


Now used to it, Mike feigns enough interest so as to appease my suddenly unstable personality and carefully (wisely, I might add) lets me choose. Since he can’t tell the difference between one spot or another, he will ask hesitantly “is this a good one?” and look baffled when I acquiesce, or not. If I forget to watch myself I might even bark at him for daring to bring to my attention an “inappropriate” site! To be fair, I couldn’t explain what it is that makes me feel comfortable in one spot, and awkward in another, an apparent carbon copy of the first, a mere fifty feet away.


Something tells me that I’m not the only one who suffers from the “Perfect Site Syndrome.” I would venture to say that it is a natural nesting instinct coming out at the most peculiar time.

Watson Lake Provincial Park in the Yukon Territory is huge, covered in old growth forest, and offers access to 67 very private sites. A camper’s dream. Although today there is only a total of four RVs here, it takes me two full tours of the grounds to find what my reptilian brain is blindly looking for. Once I find it, we can go back to a civilized and happy mode of operation, and we set up camp. Over time we have divided tasks to be efficient and take turns so as to avoid monotony — a perfect modus operandi


for temperamental weather as well as the presence of hungry bear, moose and a slew of other predators, aimed, it may seem, at the content of our bear boxes. I still have my friend Brittany’s story in mind, of a then 4 year old Phia who was wiping her fingers all over her clothes while eating, thus making herself the perfect “bear lunch.”

We haven’t been there for more than ten minutes than a little family with a 4 year old of their own chooses, out of the 62 remaining available sites, the one exactly opposite ours. I might add that they chose only after going around the campground two or three times! A short conversation makes it clear that the young mother finds a sense of security with us around; our suspicion gets confirmed when, a couple of hours later, she yells “goodnight” from across the way as they go to bed!


In the end, we may not understand why we do certain things but I believe that it’s always best to follow your intuition. And the heck with how many tours of campgrounds it takes to figure it out safety!