Sweet dreams in the field

Most of you who have been camping before would understand and agree with me when I say that when you are living out in nature, every little task suddenly seems like a lot more work. This includes, but is by no means limited to, getting dressed, making meals, cleaning up after meals, showering, and even having to use the “facilities” (which by the way consisted of a large boulder, a fallen tree trunk and the ocean). In addition to these regular activities, add running along slippery rocks, hiking up and down hills, climbing over and under fallen tree trunks and sticking your hand into cold holes in the ground where you may or may not find your burrowing study species. However, even on the unsuccessful days, one thing I could always count on was the best feeling of crawling into my bed at night.

a view of the facilities, consisting of rocks, a log and the ocean.

The “facilities”.

I was overly excited for my first night on Reef Island, Haida Gwaii, BC. How many people get the chance to camp on a remote island? As you can imagine, after a long first day of travelling to and exploring the island, I was grateful when it was finally time to crawl into my bed. I set up my one man tent and rolled out my thermarest.

One man yellow tent

My one man tent on Reef Island, Haida Gwaii.

Humpback whales off the coast of the island.

Humpback whales gather along the reefs just off the coast of the island.

Maybe I should have seen it coming. But when I couldn’t fall asleep immediately I was shocked. As is usual in the early spring in northern BC, it was fairly cold, so I put on all of my layers to go to sleep – which meant I did not have much room to move around. I could feel all the roots under my thermarest, but convinced myself it was just like having a constant massage. Just as I was falling asleep, I heard a group of humpback whales blow just off the coast, not even 300 m away from my little tent. At around 11:30pm the seabirds started to return to their burrows after spending a day at sea. Like myself, they must have been excited to return home, as they were very noisy projecting their call to find their mate and nest. The seabirds calls continued into the dark night with lots of “chaaar chaaar chaaar”’s. I must have fallen asleep around 3 am because the next thing I remember is the dawn chorus of the songbirds on the island as the sun rose.

A tired selfie in the woods.

A tired selfie in the woods.


I woke up still tired but it was new day and I was determined to make the most out of my experience. Although it was very tiring and stressful at times depending on how successful we were at finding occupied burrows, we couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather to be traversing remote islands. At the end of the day, knowing I could count on my bed was actually very comforting, with the company of the wildlife chorus and all.

One thought on “Sweet dreams in the field

  1. Pingback: This land is our land | Dispatches from the Field

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