Paula Johanson and Jean-Louis Trudel were my editors for Tesseracts7. I’ve never met Paula in real life, but I’ve got to give her props because she and JL were the first to publish my poetry. And it’s a weird one, “Quest.” When a surgeon asked me to recite it, I turned red and said, “It’s kind of X-rated.”
Paula also sent Anastasia booties she’d knitted. BTW, Cory Doctorow‘s daughter also got Paula booties.
So, even though I’ve never met Paula, I consider her and many other SF Canada people my friends. Paula is a writer and a freelance editor who has written 18 books. I think her expertise shows here.
Mid-September there are fewer bugs when camping, because the nights are cooler and the days shorter than in primo bug season. Fewer chiggers, no blackflies, and almost no gnats, but depending on what the weather has been like during the summer there could still be an opportunistic batch of mosquitoes.
The days could still be warm, or even hot, but the temperature will drop as soon as the sun goes down and the dew will settle abundantly if there is a lake or river nearby to keep the humidity high. And of course there is a lake or river nearby… almost everyone camps at a lake.
The nights will not be cold, not by Ontario or upstate New York standards, but if you’ve only got a summer-weight sleeping bag you will get chilly unless you wear a layer of clothes or pjs when sleeping (and if you’ve been wearing those clothes all day, they’re full of enough sweat to go clammy and cold and make you uncomfortable). Hang ’em up inside the tent, put on tomorrow’s tshirt and undies and you might be warm enough.
I wear merino wool when camping — black longsleeved tshirt and black leggings from Icebreaker — even in August in southern Alberta. Merino doesn’t stink when it’s full of sweat, these light tshirt-weight knits evaporate dry of sweat or water in 20 min when hung up in the sunshine and in about half an hour in the shade (esp on a low humidity day) and they’ll even dry when you’re wearing ’em without chilling you like cotton or polyester.
Tents have condensation on the inside that beads up — don’t touch it or you will make it drip there all night until you run your finger down from the drip to the floor, making the drip puddle on the floor. The condensation comes from your breathing and from dew. Tents that have lots of bugnet windows have less condensation. My best tent is a dome with about half bug net, hanging inside its spring-y poles, with its own dome fly stretched over the poles — the breathable layer inside the waterproof layer = condensation is mostly on the inside of the fly.
In September all the poison oak and poison ivy will be turning red and will be easier to recognise and avoid.
The morning smells will be mist along the ground (a green/wet smell) even on days that are going to be dry and sunny, coffee being boiled in a pot (a smell both wetter and more burned than coffee made in a Melitta drip filter) and your fellow campers applying sunscreen and bug repellent. Canadians apply either Deep Woods Off or Avon’s Skin-so-Soft with its citronella/citrosa scent that’s like lemon furniture polish. There are no other effective commercial bug repellents (said in an opinionated fashion) except Deep Woods Off with its active ingredient DEET (long chemical name is N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) which you can buy pure. Don’t put it on your skin; spray or squirt it on your clothes and hat. Yes, it’s an evil chemical that might turn out to cause cancer or birth defects, but it’s much easier to calculate the risk of cancer after you’ve donated a unit of blood to one mosquito at a time yesterday.
Skin-so-Soft is a kind of moisturizing skin lotion that has been re-marketed as a bug repellent ever since customers told their Avon ladies about this unexpected side effect.
Neither is as effective as showering really clean of sweat and soap and shampoo, then putting on clothes that have been washed and double-rinsed to remove all laundry soap scent. At least, being clean works until you break sweat… which is why for years my camping jacket and my farmwork coveralls had DEET sprayed on ’em.
P.S. I put Paula on Thursday for Throwback Thursday, for my pic of Anastasia, even though the work day is done and Facebook is relatively deserted.