höböcamp I.

Above: tent, by Anna.


I may have mentioned this: Last weekend I went camping for the first time.

People who know me well would, um, laugh at the idea of me camping. I am known for many things, but practical, survival-type skills are not on that list of things. In fact, I am more known for barely being able to survive from a practical perspective. I can turn on the stove, open the refrigerator, flush the toilet, and that's about where my practical survival skills end. Sometimes I do a load of laundry, but compensate by leaving it in the washer for a couple days.

So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I accepted Anna's invitation to do some camping. I told her outright: "I just really hope you're not relying on me to do anything. I possess no relevant skills, unless we have to debug the campfire or troubleshoot a bear, etc. Just assume you're going camping with some creature that is nothing but liability and dead weight."

We eased into the whole camping thing by driving an hour or so north to Skellefteå and stopping for a picnic. Britt had told us that the weather up north was going to be "horrible". We kind of found that not to be the case: here is Skellefteå (above).

Our picnic occurred at a large cemetery, where there was a cafe that served these things that were supposed to be "moose poop". We had some. They were.....disappointing? Not because they didn't taste like moose poop ha ha but because they were dry as fuck.

From Skellefteå we went up to see the aforementioned burned-down summer home of Anna's family (below). When we eventually got back to Sikeå I saw some photos of the young Hillboms playing around the lake house when it wasn't burned down and it was all quite sad and nostalgic, but I won't subject you to that.

OK I show you one sad and nostalgic thing: their family's boat was still there, abandoned in a pile of weeds.


So yes, then we spent 4 hours driving in circles looking for a place to camp, a strategy that I cannot really recommend if you want your driver and passenger to remain civil and upbeat. The problem was this: we'd seen tons of campgrounds on our way up the coast, but north of Luleå there was nothing. So we did that thing where you pull off the main highway onto a smaller road in the hope that you'll find what you're looking for. It didn't work.

It was with very empty bellies and our last remaining shreds of civility that we straggled into a campsite at Brandon (pronounced differently than it looks) around 10:00pm and looked for a place to set up the tent.

After an hour or so of determining that the campsite was closed for the season and we were the only people stupid enough to be doing what we were doing in 45F weather, we set up the tent anyway in the interest of eating sausage and going to sleep.


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