Hipcamp Journal

The Magic of Nehalem Tipi

Musings from a Hipcamp Field Scout

This place has the kind of ground that catches your toes, lightly pushing you off when they leave it. It has the kind of smells that fill your lungs with deep, earthy notes. The smells of fungus and detritus and wet dirt, leaves, and wood. This place has a magical feeling that hangs in the air.


We roll up off of the highway and the smells are the first thing that pull me in. Next, the green. It’s a foggy day, but somehow the lush forest that surrounds our van as we put it in park widens my eyes a little. All of my senses are stimulated here. It’s exactly where I want to be right now. Maybe I never want to leave?


We stroll across the grounds, exploring the property. We browse the garden, filled with kale, squash, celery, tomatoes, and other green life. We run down to the river with our dog, Roscoe, who by this time is completely covered in dew and mud. And he’s loving every second of it.

We approach the beach and dip our feet in the cool, shaded water. We watch the leaves fall and dance. As they finish, they lightly sweep the surface and ripple. We listen to the rush of the water downstream, running over rocks and pebbles and grass.

We search for fish in the glassy reflections. The sun breaks through the clouds, and we bask in it. But soon, drops of rain start to hit our cheeks, so we make our way back to our shelter out of the rain.

Back in the tipi, we’re toasty and warm. Smoke rises out of the top flap as the rain pitter patters on the painted canvas. The silhouettes of elk, crow, and bear surround us. We sit and listen to the sounds of the falling water. We poke the fire and it hisses back.

As night falls, the stars begin to sparkle. We sit in the glowing light of the fireplace and feel lucky to be in this place, lucky to be smelling the smells and experiencing all that this forest has to offer.


Juliana is a designer, photographer, and lover of all things outside. When she’s not behind her laptop or camera, you can find her hiking, climbing, or teaching herself how to do something new. She lives in a Sprinter van with her partner Richmond and their dog, Roscoe. Follow her on Instagram

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