After a delicious breakfast at my campsite of granola, almond milk and some farmer's market peaches that one of my Denver friends gifted me, I was off to Kansas, saying a fond farewell to Golden Gate Canyon State Park.
Kansas. Hm. First timer here to Kansas. I was eager to see what would unfold in one of the most famous states in America - according to turn-of-the-century children's literature anyway. And besides, I have a bit of a relationship with all things Oz.
The Hipcamp I'd booked was located in rural Kansas, just outside Hutchinson, in case you know your way around Kansas. The drive from Denver area to my campsite was excruciatingly long. Oh my goodness, the road just stretched and stretched ahead. The books and the music and all the stops at rest areas to make hot tea felt endless. Miles and miles of fields of corn, wheat and crops of all varieties. They know good and well there in Kansas that they grow a ton of food for North America. (Many billboards pointed out this fine fact.) I have deep respect for folks growing the food in Kansas.
I pulled into my Hipcamp around 5 o'clock or so and began settling in. I would be staying on an actual farm. One with cows, kitties, crops and a silo to boot!
While pitching my tent, I scraped the hell out of my left leg with rebar I use to stake my tent. Blood oozed out. I could feel what felt like future-bruising starting to develop. In the spirit of radical self-reliance, I'd packed a first aid kit for my trip and I'm glad I did. I was able to clean the wound out quite nicely but I also learned a few things about what to pack in the future in terms of gauze.... Like, bring more of it.
I'd pitched my tent facing the field with the back of the tent to the grain silo. It was during the course of this mandatory activity that I threw out my back in "the spot". (Don't we all have one?) Between my gashed left leg and my back pain, I was in an uncomfortable scenario to say the least. I managed to cook my food (instant ramen) and afterwards was barely able to do more than just sit in my camp chair. It was then that the farm owner walked over to say hello. He was an older man, so sweet, so kind, telling me rain might be in the forecast and I could move to the barn if I needed to. He asked where I was from and what I was up to. I shared honestly that I was wandering around solo for a couple of weeks and was grateful for his tidy and beautiful Hipcamp farm. Of course, I was a bit of a hot mess with a pained look on my face from my broke down back and that half ass bandaged left leg. I admit: I did wonder what he thought about this tatted up girl who'd shown up to his farm.
No bother. I somehow managed to get my tent in order, do my dishes and zip up the tent well before sundown. I did some light yoga moves to try to work out the pain my back. I prayed the rosary over the phone with my friend A who was back home in D-town. I slept all night long to the sounds of insects, the breeze rustling the grasses in the field and the roar of distant thunder clouds. It never did rain, praise the lord.
The next morning I awoke to the cows being milked in the barn near my tent. The machines clicking and churning with the cows themselves moo'ing in ecstasy. I ate my breakfast, my back still totally in pain and my leg starting to sting a little bit under the bandages. The cows looked curiously at me as they left the barn and their morning milking.
After cleaning up my breakfast, I headed over to the barn for a shower. Sure enough, there was a tidy little farm store to match the tidy little farm. Fresh eggs, milk, meat filled several refrigerated cases. And lo and behold, there was indeed a hot shower in the back of the farm store. I washed my bloody leg and scrubbed my filthy hair. It was my second shower of the trip so far. The first having been at the hot springs back in Colorado days earlier.
Onwards. The adventure continues.... May it be so.
Periodic updates from Aurah in the Field.