Life in the Cocoon of Nature

In order to keep my bag light I didn’t bring a mat to slip under my sleeping bag. It didn’t bother my son but I spent the night shifting my body that sunk into the sand packed hard and cold under the tent. The night trickled, punctuated with gusts of wind that sounded like rain against the tent and the gushing of water rolling along rocks. Several times I poked my head outside, destabilized by the power of nature. Stars shone high and bright above my head and I had rarely felt as small and insignificant.
Breakfast in the outdoors tastes of real hunger and the six of us devoured our oatmeal, raisins and bananas, our hands wrapped around steaming mugs of tea and coffee. No marmots had made it to our food that we had packed in bags and hooked high around tree branches.
Housekeeping is kept minimal when camping. However, chores that in the city are expedited, thanks to dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and bottled water, take more time and energy. When we had washed and dried our dishes, put the food safely away, made our beds, filled our camel packs with fresh drinkable water, and packed our lunches, it was time to start our exploration of Havasu Falls.
The walk to the fall is short and easy. The fall cascades its way down to a shallow lagoon filled with turquoise water. Havasu Falls aren’t seasonal and temperature of the water remains around 70 F yearlong making it a treat for the summer visitors when outside temperatures exceed 100F.
We spent the day playing in the water and exploring the caves carved in the mountain. Silver and copper were mined there but now only empty caves remain for the delight of explorers. Equipped with flashlights and headlights, we walked along tunnels, pierced with occasional openings overlooking the immensity of the canyon.
Night crawled upon us and we returned to the comfort of food and shelter. We played card games and drank red wine and hot tea until the stars illuminated the sky like Christmas lights decorate trees and windows in December.
New campers had arrived. Troops of boy scouts coming from all over California and Arizona filled the last free camping spots left and the night resonated with laughter and young voices.
The wind had died down and the night fell silky and peaceful on our tents. I slept like I hadn’t since a long time. My home in California is nestled among trees and peace but here in the deep darkness and perfect quietness of the canyon, I curled up in the cocoon of nature.

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