It Happened To Me: I'm finding myself by solo camping

I know I say this pretty much all the time. But, you guys, I'M GOING TO DIE.

You see, this morning, I am getting in my car and heading to Northern Michigan to go camping by myself for the first time ever.

This seemed like a good idea when I was planning my trip, but then I remembered that I don't know how to camp and I have the survival skills of an earthworm.

I also remembered that Michigan is called the Wolverine State, and, sure, the Internet will try to convince you that there are no wolverines in Michigan any more, but we all know that the Internet lies.


The whole "there are no wolverines in Michigan" thing is probably all just a big trick engineered by Internet-savvy wolverines. You know, so they can get trusting New Yorkers to pack up their cars and head up to wilds of Northern Michigan, where they will be attacked by face-eating wolverines.

It seems appropriate that I'm doing all this on July 4th, American Independence Day.

It's like I'm declaring my own independence.

Except instead of declaring independence from another country, I'm declaring independence from my fear.

Including, my fear of camping alone and my fear of being viewed as that weird girl who's hanging out by herself at the campgrounds drinking carton-wine.

This is how I pack for a camping trip. Just FYI.

I'm also declaring independence from all my stuff. Like my bed and my Internet and my face because it's about to be eaten off by wolverines.
I'm not the only one striking out on my own this weekend.

Come here while I taste your face.

My kitten, George, will also be left to her own devices this weekend. I suspect her chances at survival are slightly better than mine. After all, she's got full food and water dispensers, and she's already proven to be really good at defending herself against the evils of hair elastics and sock balls.

And I'm pretty sure that thing she does where she walks across the keyboard while I'm on my laptop is just her way of learning all the passwords to all my accounts. I probably won't be gone thirty minutes before she's ordering boxes of the extra fancy kind of Friskies from Amazon.

In fact, it's entirely possible she's been in cahoots with the wolverines for the whole "there are no wolverines in Michigan" Internet scam.

Maybe that's why she likes to lick my face all the time?

I thought she was just doing it to be cute. But it's possible she's just been taste-testing my face, so she can report back to wolverines on how delicious it is.

You guys, I'M GOING TO DIE.

Have you ever camped by yourself? How did it go? Did you have trouble fighting off the wolverines?

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  1. 10 years ago

    I saw your picture of the wolverine and I was like, “Awww, what a cute wolverine.” And then I realized the wolverine is the other animal in the picture. I’m from NYC, I would probably get eaten by a wolverine too, if I went camping solo.

    Also, I just had to google wolverines because I’m addicted to the internet, and found out wolverines are also called gluttons. Hugh Jackman as…Glutton! The Gluttons are attacking! Sorry, I crack myself up.

  2. 10 years ago

    I had to talk myself into having dinner ALONE [in Japan – so if the green stuff is not wasabi what is it?] so definitely no independent camping yet.
    So thanks for trailblazing and don’t die and stuff.

  3. 10 years ago
    Leslie in Oregon

    You picked a great weekend to introduce yourself to solo camping, if you can find an unoccupied campsite. (Does Michigan have public reservation campgrounds?) You will not be alone in any designated campground, and you probably will be surrounded by people who will be happy to teach you whatever you need to know…and maybe even some who will want to adopt you.

    I hope that you will be in a tents-only campground, because campgrounds with RV’s tend to be very…what is the word?…uncampinglike. And I hope you have bug spray. Other than that, you can improvise, since you won’t be in the mountains or backpacking.

    The first time I camped solo, I was backpacking in a remote Alpine mountain range, and I made every possible mistake. But when, the first evening, I looked out of my lean-to shelter into the falling snow (in July) to the bank surrounding the island on which I was perched, I saw two deer standing on that bank, calmly looking across at me, as if they were keeping watch over me. Although I was cold, wet, hungry and a bit scared by all the lightning and thunder overhead (yes, that can happen in a snowstorm), I slept like a baby.

    Bravo for going, and here’s hoping you are having a great time! P.S. There are wolves in those mountains now, and they have not touched a human being!

    • 10 years ago
      Unbrave Girl

      I stayed at a state campground, which was completely booked up for the weekend, so, yes, I was definitely surrounded. A lot of people talked to me, but no one offered to help me, which I actually was really happy about. I figured that meant I must have looked like I knew what I was doing… even if I totally didn’t!

  4. 10 years ago
    Heather N

    You are brave! I first went camping by myself about 6 years ago. I hadn’t been to the mountains for years and was in way over my head. I didn’t die or anything–just spent most of the weekend confused.
    Over the past year, I’ve gone “digital nomad” or whatever you wanna call it. In between house sits, I plan these epic road trips and have camped solo all over the American west: Utah, Montana, California, Oregon, Washington–I don’t think twice about it any more. I’m quite certain that many other campers have thought I was nuts, but I’ve never had my face chewed off. So that’s good.
    I hope you’re having a rip-roaring good time with your wine and wolverines.

    • 10 years ago
      Unbrave Girl

      Yes, I’m definitely sure that everyone at the campground thought I was nutso, too. I was the only woman alone. And the only other person I saw camping by themselves was some super hardcore guy who just had a sleeping bag and a cot (no tent or any coverage). So maybe they didn’t think I was quite as nutso as him.

  5. 10 years ago
    Cara Lee Paige

    I live in northern Michigan. I don’t know enough about wolverines (because there are no wolverines in Michigan!) to be afraid of them, but it’s the bears and cougars that have me worried. One of them you’re supposed to stare in the face and look scary, but the other one will only get mad if you do that. I can’t count on remembering which is which. I’m not crazy about hiking, so they are 2 more reasons not to.

    • 10 years ago
      Unbrave Girl

      I went on a jungle trek in Nepal where they had rhinos, bears and all manner of other things that could eat me. They kept giving these instructions. One of the animals, you had to climb a tree. Another one you had to hit in the nose. And so on and so on. I was so petrified I couldn’t remember which animal I was supposed to do which for. So glad the worst animal encounter I had that day was with leeches!
      And I’m telling you — the “There are no wolverines in Michigan” thing is a trick! Don’t fall for it!

  6. 5 years ago

    Good for you, Sally! I don’t think I can ever go camping alone, especially since I’ve never been camping ever.
    I think we need to take the UN out of your bloggie name. Because girlfriend, you just went camping alone.

    • 10 years ago
      Unbrave Girl

      Maybe if I go camping in the woods alone. But camping in a campground was really civilized… and populated.

  7. 5 years ago
    Tom @ Waegook Tom

    I got excited about the wolverines part, until your disclaimer that it’s not the Hugh Jackman kind. Talk about a disappointment.

    Anyway, you should’ve brought more carton wine for your trip. If your face had have been eaten by wolverines, it would’ve numbed the pain of having chunks of cheek and forehead being bitten off.

    Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if, somewhere, a terrible horror movie director has read this post and is now pitching the latest summer blockbuster ‘Face Eating Wolverines’ to Hollywood execs. Get your lawyers ready.

  8. 5 years ago

    Have fun! I love camping but I’m scared of going by myself and I didn’t even know wolverines should be considered a potential camping threat in addition to bears and raccoons and murderers. So, good luck…

  9. 5 years ago
    Sue B

    I have never been camping alone but I did once stay in a cabin in the woods by myself. Most terrifying night of my life. Every noise (and there were a lot of mysterious rustlings and sticks cracking) had me convinced that there was a serial killer out there and I was going to die. I survived. The local folks that I told this to thought I was crazy. They’re like, “You grew up in New York City, right?? So what’s their point??

  10. 5 years ago

    Wow camping alone! I give you snaps. I camp with a huge group and in an RV. Yup all of us (12) in one RV. That’s roughing it. I like how you pack the essentials though. I can’t keep without a full bar and arms length. Happy 4th! Hope you didn’t die!

    • 10 years ago
      Unbrave Girl

      To be honest, what you just described sounds MUCH harder to me than camping alone. I can’t imagine being surrounded by that many people at once and staying sane. Good for you! And, yes, a full bar would be a necessity!

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