Ramblin’s on geese, law and solitude

March 14, 2014 · 3 minute read

Ok, so how does one write an article when it’s the first one and you have no idea where to start? I suppose you make attempts at humor, Pandora-like charm and hope that your audience is as ADHD as you. But first, a word from RichmondOutside.com’s legal department.

The owners, operators and wordsmiths of RichmondOutside.com do not necessarily agree with or condone the actions, opinions or writing style of this contributor. However, you get what you pay for.

Stealth camping: As fun as it is illegal.

Stealth camping: As fun as it is illegal.

With a couple of days off in a row, I decided it was time to have a micro adventure and test out some outdoor gear.  After very carefully choosing the equipment to take (forgot gloves, rain pants and libation), packing up the touring bike and choosing my route (which was sort of followed) the overnight camping excursion to Pocahontas State Park began.

Living in Richmond, that meant a 14-ish mile ride to my desired location with about 50 pounds of bike and gear attached. No biggie. However, trying to make it in under an hour was probably not the wisest choice. Leaving at 4:30, so I could hit the maximum amount of traffic along Belt and Walmsley Boulevards, put me there about 5:45. Where exactly was there? It’s a secret location near the shore of a lake  (see picture).

Now to show you why this website lawyered up and I’m using a nom de plume. My dear readers, this adventure was what is known as “stealth camping.” Yes, it’s illegal. So is doing 36 mph in a 35. So judge me or not, you’re just as big a criminal as I am. (Both are misdemeanors. Look it up.) I’m not advocating this type of camping, but you should know that I’ve been camping for longer than I’ve been alive, and I take “leave no trace” very seriously. I even re-ruffled the leaves that were flattened by my tent. The “site” was pristine.

What did it get me? It got me a horrible, I mean completely miserable, and by that I really mean crap night’s sleep. Why? Was it the guilt of breaking the law? Was it the fear of being caught by the warden?

Or was it those damn geese?

Yes, geese. Did you know that they can scream? We’ve all heard that quaint “honk, honk,” but it turns out they can scream like Anthony Perkins wants a new pillow and they can do it all night long. I’m sure that the power of the interwebs can tell me if it’s mating season for geese but frankly, who cares? It doesn’t change the outcome, and is it necessary to fill up a blank brain cell with that sort of knowledge? Some mysteries are best left unsolved.

What a lovely unnamed location in Pocahontas State Park.

What a lovely unnamed location in Pocahontas State Park.

So, after a two-hour nap, I’m ready to impart some mind-blowing knowledge on to you fellow possible would-be stealth campers. Geese suck (but nowhere near as much as squirrels)! There, I said it, and I ain’t changin’ my mind.

Seriously, despite the screams of goose murder and/or ecstasy, it was worth it. Taking just that one day to adventure out into the unknown, challenging myself, enjoying the beautiful sunset, the stars and the moon on a crystal clear night is good for one’s being. I highly recommend you try it out even if it’s a short drive in the car.  Get away from it all and breathe.

To quote G.K. Chesterton (Who? I know, right?) – “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.  An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”


Ahn Ominous