A couple of days back, I decided to go for a walk in a patch of woods fairly close by to where I live. The house has been crowded with family recently, and, being a somewhat antisocial fellow, I decided that I needed some space.
The woods are a familiar patch to me – I often walk there, along a route that I’ve established in my head. On the day that I took this walk, though, I felt particularly down, and I figured a little exploration might be enough to lift my spirits and set me on the right track.
I didn’t expect to really find anything – maybe a ditched plastic bottle, at best – but I ended up stumbling upon something kinda cool – someone else’s woodland campsite.
Look at that beauty of a fire pit. Personally, I’d have picked different rocks. Why? Well, it might surprise you, but for once, it’s not a stupid reason – these stones were limestone. Limestone has a pretty high water content, stored away in little bubbles dotted throughout it’s tough body. Putting it this close to a fire can cause the water inside to boil, which, in turn, can cause the rock to explode. I’ve seen it happen – my good friend Charles once got a blast of limestone buckshot to his face when we tried to create a similar firepit. Fortunately, he survived, unscarred.
Anyway, enough of the PSA about limestone fire safety. Let’s take a closer look at it.
I dunno if the owners of the campsite hammered these rocks into the proper shape or were just fortuitous enough to find perfectly shaped rocks, but the stones on offer create a nice, rustic fire pit. Metal bars seem to have been laid to rest on the fire pit itself, for some reason. I’m really not sure why. My mind leaps to a bad conclusion, but I’m sure they’re here for an innocent purpose.
A grill hung over the fire, attached to a handy branch. For grilling stuff, naturally. It wasn’t caked in fat, so I assume that the owner uses it for stuff like toast.
I dunno what kinda knot the above one is. A good one, I’m sure. Knots were never really my thing. It seemed to do a good job of keeping the grill branch stable, though. Compliments to the tier.
Behind the fire pit was a bottle of water (full) and some drain covers. Yeah, drain covers. I can’t imagine what use they’d have in a campsite.
Seriously. Drain covers. Specifically from Clark. Maybe the owner throws them on top of the fire and cooks burgers on them? They seemed fucking filthy, though. Perhaps the owner of the camp is simply a kleptomaniac.
On the other side of camp there was a tree, with a couple of things stashed in it.
First up, you have a pan, which is fairly clean by campsite standards. Also fairly bog standard – every good campsite has a good pan, and this was a good one. I imagine it’s used for beans.
Also in the tree was a ‘bumper’ word search book, here to while away the hours sat by the fire. As you can see, the front cover of the book has had strips torn off of it. Roach material for spliffs? I think so.
It wasn’t just kept around for spliffs, though. Within, I found that every single word search had been completed. Yes, every single one.
All 130 pages worth. That is dedication.
Nearby, there were some big sticks propped up underneath the canopy of a tree, presumably for burning on the fire.
The canopy seemed to keep them nice and dry. We’d had rainfall recently, but these sticks were nice, dry, and fresh, just like wood should be.
Behind the crossword tree, there was a pretty nasty looking bit of tarpaulin. I was anxious about lifting it up. I thought there might be a decaying corpse underneath there. There was a bit of a dodgy smell around the camp.
Turns out that I was being a massive knob, though. It was just more wood for the fire.
A bit deeper into the woods surrounding the campsite, I found a traffic cone, though I wasn’t sure if it was related to the campsite. Then again, there are drain covers near the fire, so – if this guy is a kleptomaniac as I predict, it was more than likely brought down here by the owner, for whatever reason.
And, that was it. All I found on my little woodland trek, aside from the usual trees, sticks, and insects. It was a pleasant surprise to stumble upon it.
It reminded me a lot of the campsites that my friends and I would create in our youth, though ours were much more ramshackle than the campsite that I found. We’d have pots and pans and the like, but we never had a grill. We never had a store of wood stashed away, we just had to go into the woods in the dark on fire missions. We didn’t have crossword puzzle books. Honestly, I’m not sure how we entertained ourselves. I think we just used to sit around, drink beer, smoke a few spliffs, and shoot the shit.
I get the feeling that this campsite, though, is attended by a single individual. Someone who comes here to get away from their busy life, to sit down in the middle of nowhere with their wordsearch book, a beer, and a can of beans. To me, that sounds like a wonderful escape – and maybe whoever built this campsite is as antisocial as I am.
In a way, it was kind of like finding a named location in a game – something like Breath of the Wild. A useless little spot in the middle of nothing else, but it was there to tell a story. That’s what I felt like, upon entering – that I had ticked off some kind of list somewhere. It also gave me feelings of multiplayer Minecraft. Stumbling upon someone else’s house, or property, raiding through their chests to try and find something decent to steal – that kinda thing. I also had the same overwhelming sense of dread that I have while I’m doing that in game – what if the owner of the campsite were to come back?
Well, he didn’t. I got out of there. Especially after seeing those metal pipes on the fire. Shit. I swear, they must’ve broken a kneecap or two.
Will I write about games next week? Well, let’s hope so. Until then, stay tuned.
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