Last week, I set out for my third microadventure of the year but it felt like the first one. I was going to venture further from home than I had done so far. It involved spending time on Google and Bing maps, foraging for a suitable spot for wild camping.
I departed on the afternoon of the 20th of March, ready for an unpleasant walk following a well used B road between Hertford and Welwyn Garden City. Cars and lorries roared by and I was relieved to find a footpath sheltering me from the traffic earlier than I expected. I could still hear the motors but the trees acted as a damper and the view of the fields was much nicer than the tarmac and vehicles.
After forty minutes I found the woods I had spotted on the Internet a few days earlier, but was surprised to find them enclosed in fences and very near a house. My dismay didn’t last long, I had prepared for such an eventuality. Google Maps had showed me there were plenty more patches of woods around. So I kept on walking and half an hour later found new a ground for the night.
I set up my tarp, laid my stuff inside and explored my surroundings for a while. My camp wasn’t very well hidden from the paths but I highly doubted that anyone would wander by so late in the day (no one did).
I watched the sun set until it grew cold and I had to put on a warmer jacket. I then retired under my tarp, cooked dinner, and watched the woods in front of me disappear into darkness before sliding into my sleeping bag to read until I fell asleep.
In the morning an orchestra from nature woke me. Unseen birds sang in the trees. From a distance, ducks and coots added depth to their melody, and a pheasant stole the show with his solo cry. I slowly opened my eyes and unzipped my bag to brew a first cup of tea. The night had been warm and good.
I remained at my camp for a couple of hours, eating breakfast, drinking tea, and listening to the sounds of wildlife. Around nine o’clock I was finally packed and made my way back home, meeting joggers and dog walkers entering the woods as I excited them with my hair ruffled and a smile on my face.