Stay Day

[By: Mary DeCamp]
What a luxury to have a “marcher in the home stay” along the Climate March trail!

At various points along our route from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, the Great March for Climate Action schedules days off for the marchers and arranges for us to stay with host families in the community. Today is such a day. We are in Colorado Springs, CO, and I am lucky to be staying with a lovely couple in their home.

Typically our days fit a routine where we wake up early in our tents in some campsite. We’ve had some gorgeous spots and some not-so-hot spots. I think the best was camping on sacred ground in the Laguna Pueblo, NM amid the flowers and colorful cliffs. We arise early and start the morning preparation for breakfast. Everyone gathers to eat breakfast and pack a lunch before taking down tents, loading up gear, and gathering for announcements. Then we are off, walking another stretch of the road.

When we arrive at our day’s destination, the kitchen has to be set up for the chef and prep crew. We rotate duties, so we enjoy a mix of culinary offerings. I always love it when John A. cooks because he is able to whip up something delicious while cleaning out the refrigerator of the leftovers from previous meals.

We set up camp chairs in a circle to welcome the marchers and give them a chance to sit and chat while they nurse their feet, knees, backs, or whatever body part is objecting to the long walk. Our average is 15 miles a day, give or take 5 miles. So long days are around 20 miles and that can be punishing to the flesh and bones.

After a brief break, marchers head for the gear truck that carries the tents, sleeping bags, duffles, chairs, and various equipment from place to place. They reclaim their stuff and find a suitable place to set up their mobile quarters for yet another night. Tarps are laid out, mallets borrowed and loaned to drive tent stakes, and tension poles are threaded through the various tent hoops to transform the rolled nylon and plastic into our tiny portable bedrooms.

We eat, we enjoy a fire (if and when conditions warrant), another crew takes care of the dishes clean-up, and various groups meet to discuss upcoming plans. If we are in bear country, we lock up the trash cans, the compost barrels, and our recycling bins in the food truck for the night. We use our eco-commode when nature calls. Marchers often brush their teeth, do yoga, wash themselves, read, write, listen to music, fire up their computers, and all those mundane daily chores out in public.

But on stay days? We get warm, soft, dry beds to sleep in. We get hot showers and clean hair. We get amiable conversation with interested and supportive friends. We have a chance to catch up on personal care or to attend to details that haven’t been done. What a lovely break from the routine!

Check out our route and our timeline. If you know of anyone who lives in the cities we’ll be visiting, let the person or family know that they could adopt a marcher for a night, too, if there’s a “stay day” scheduled. It is fun for everyone.

Mary DeCamp