A few weekends ago we decided it was finally time to use the tent we'd lugged across the Atlantic. We also decided to take a break from all the stress of moving (including constructing an entire apartment-full of Ikea furniture) and go on a little romantic weekend vacation. We drove up to the French Alps, hoping to see some fall foliage.
Apparently it was too early for fall foliage.
Josh had researched great hikes/camping spots in the Parc National des Ecrins, so we set off up the mountain to find a place to bivouac for the night.
We had forgotten something about the Alps: they're really, really steep. Which means there are no flat parts to camp in--at least not within a three hour hike of where we started. And we'd spent an hour going the wrong way, which meant we weren't going to get anywhere campable before dark. So we turned around to head back down the mountain, and I had a panic attack. Turns out I'm more afraid of heights than I had realized.
I don't have any trailside pictures of the steep part. I was too busy trying not to die.
After Josh (who had to wear both backpacks) finally coaxed me down off the mountain, we debated what to do. I was in favor of paying a campground to let us stay there, legally. Josh was in favor of finding a hidden spot to set up the tent in someone's back yard. I had visions of being woken up in the middle of the night by some ancient disgruntled farmer, threatening us with some kind of garden implement and refusing to call his dogs off. We explored the valley for a couple of hours until we found a spot that seemed remote enough that we wouldn't get caught for illegal camping. It still had me worried.
We set up the tent. We climbed inside. And then Josh realized he wasn't feeling too well.
Three hours later we were back in our apartment, snuggled in our new Ikea bed and stargazing out our bedroom window.