Upper Rush Creek is a somewhat neglected Forest Service campground north of Adin, California. The water has been turned off and garbage collection has been suspended. At least there was still a bit of toilet paper in the outhouse (which some insects and mice had made home). But it was free.
It’s sort of a chicken-egg situation, I suppose. Forest Service resources probably go toward maintaining campgrounds that get more use, and campgrounds that aren’t a maintenance priority become less appealing and less used.
That means I had the place completely to myself. Just me and nature. And my thoughts.
Um, yeah. My thoughts. That’s where the trouble starts.
See, when I’m totally alone I start to creep myself out imagining what bad things might happen. What if one of the big trees fell on the Rolling Steel Tent while I slept? Are there cougars around here? What’s that noise? What if some drunk and/or criminally-minded locals come around to mess with me? What is that noise?
It doesn’t help when I step outside to pee and it’s bottom-of-the-mine-shaft-with-a-sack-over-your-head dark. Absolutely no light except some stars peeking through the treetops. I can’t see anything, like, for instance, a cougar ready to leap on me and rip my throat out.
So, even though I knew I was being mostly irrational, I packed up and drove a couple of miles down to Lower Rush Creek campground. There were other people there. Even though I would never talk to them, it was comforting to have them around. And to have other potential victims for the cougar.
It's a bit of a paradox for introverts like me. I'm fine being alone, just not too alone.