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Camping

The problem with blogging is people begin to know all your weaknesses and character flaws.

Most cyberspace friends already know this country girl’slady’s flaws:

  • A devout shopper,
  • a worrier,
  • guilt ridden
  • a planner,
  • and a neat freak.

My hope is that all in all, you all (y’all in Virginia-ese) find these combined traits to be endearing.

But did you know that the BigFoot whiner was once an outdoorsy camping enthusiast?

Here are some FAQS you may have missed:

  • Once, at 3 AM, I threw an air mattress across the pup tent at my devoted spouse.

Why?

Because I kept sliding off and onto the cold lumpy ground.

  • And another time, I ran with a coat around my ankles to get back to the tent.

Why?

Because it was deer hunting season and it occurred to me that a beige suede coat whilst relieving oneself in the woods would conjure up images of a white-tailed deer!

  • And how about the time I had to wear a black patch over my eye to a party.  And it wasn’t Halloween and it wasn’t a costume to make me look like a Pirate either.

Why?

Because a giant gnat bit me near the eye and it swelled up to a frightening countenance.

  • And then there was the time we were six minutes into the Appalachian Trail.  Bravely carrying a 30 pound back pack I was moaning and lagging in line behind husband, our 8 year old son, and Tinker, the dog.  That’s when I sat down in the middle of the trail and cried.  

Why?

Because Y’All,

I hate camping!

More FAQs?

  • How about the tent that blew away?
  • Or having to sit under a tarp until a deluge of rain lets up?
  • Or trying to sleep listening to something or things crashing through the forest?
  • And wondering if we will be attacked by wolves or bears or angry deer.
  • Or being “Nose Cold” (and I don’t mean a head cold).  I mean a nose that’s almost frozen along with toes.

And now you have another character flaw to add to the list!

And Thank you Andrew for inspiring this post!

 

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“Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.” ~Dave Barry

Take my word for it.  Dave Barry is so right!

Here are Dor (The Guru) Camping Tips, derived from personal, and I must say, agonizing experience:

  • A 30 lb backpack feels like a 100 lb backpack in about 15 minutes.
  • Beware of bugs.  Even gnats cause swelling around the eyes.
  • Camping is usually a hot, sticky experience and there is no air conditioning in a tent.
  • Camping is usually a freezing experience and there is no heat in a tent.
  • No amount of fancy gear will help with heat rash or frostbite.
  • If only gear didn’t weigh so much.
  • Air mattresses do not go with sleeping bags because they are both slippery and you will slide off.
  • Three pairs of socks on two feet still don’t keep you warm.
  • Wear a ski mask to bed and cover your nose too. Careful to avoid asphyxiation!
  • Cleanliness is next to Godliness but fairly impossible.
  • Don’t squat in the wild thinking it’s a charming “necessary”, especially if you are wearing a beige suede jacket.  You may be mistaken for a white tailed deer.
  • Sticks for snacks don’t make the grade.
  • If only food didn’t weigh so much.
  • Reconstituted stew leaves something to be desired.
  • There are no full length mirrors.
  • Beware of predators like deer in the night or bears in the morning.
  • Tents blow over in high winds if the person who puts them up is incompetent.
  • Do not expect anyone to pick you up in a car if you’re tired.
  • If only water didn’t weigh so much.
  • Did you forget to pack something?  Suck it up.
  • Don’t go to a formal campground with a pup tent in the middle of the night.  You will wake up surrounded by monumental  Recreational Vehicles.  This can be a humbling experience.
  • Rain can put a real damper on things.
  • Be sure to take a vicious dog along for protection.
  • Cooking in the great outdoors sounds lovely and smells lovely until you taste burnt toast.
  • Did you bring a compass?
  • Would you know how to read a compass?
  • Your cell phone probably won’t work.  Ah well.
  • There are no televisions in a tent.
  •  If only wine didn’t weigh so much.

 

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Let’s Go Camping!

We were still living in the city, but took every opportunity to visit the land we had purchased for retirement.  There was no house yet, just a hilltop backing up to the forest, with lovely views.

“Let’s go camping on the land,” said my well-meaning husband one beautiful autumn day.  So we  shopped for a camping trip.  We bought a little tent for two, a couple of air mattresses, sleeping bags, a cook stove and pots and pans, portable this and portable that, flashlights, and of course, food in various inedible forms.  I had the right attitude – eager – and the shopping was great fun anyway.

Setting Up the Camp Site

It took a little doing but we got the tent set up and staked right where we thought the house might go, and settled down to enjoy the fall colors, take walks, clear some underbrush, survey the boundaries, and imagine life in rural Virginia. One of our kindly neighbors-to-be came by with big jugs of water and asked if we needed blankets or anything.  “No, we’re fine,” we said and thanked her profusely

Anyway, we were happily enjoying the camp out when night began to fall.  The temperature dipped with the setting sun, so we built a campfire and had something I don’t recall for dinner.   I do remember that if I sat right next to the fire, the front of me stayed warm, but the back of me was freezing.  “I’m going to turn in,” I finally said, with chattering teeth.  It was probably 8 PM!

The Big Chill

Inside the tent was about 3 degrees warmer than outside.  “Oh well, the sleeping bag will take care of the chill,” I thought.  Ha!  Curled up in my bag, I was soon keenly aware that anything sticking out was freezing – like nose and ears.  Inside the sleeping bag, my feet were freezing.  I hurriedly put on three pairs of socks and a stocking cap over ears and nose and tried to sleep.  Ha!  Why didn’t I accept the neighbor’s offer of blankets?

Tossing and turning in a slick sleeping bag on top of a slick air mattress meant I spent more time on the sleazy floor of the tent than on the mattress. A toss or a turn would result in uncontrollable sliding!  Around 2 AM I threw the air mattress across the tent (didn’t mean to hit my husband you know) and I slept (periodically) on the plastic covered ground.

The Call of Nature

Early morning  and I emerged in a semi-frozen, semi-comatose state to my very sweet husband cooking bacon and eggs with his usual cheerful, oh-happy-day- demeanor.  Grrrrrr!  Embarrassing to mention, but nature was calling.  I was still freezing so I donned my beige suede jacket (feeling the city girl’s need to be ever stylish) and headed for the privacy of the forest for morning evacuation. I found a convenient tree to hide behind, unceremoniously pulled down my britches, and in the middle of relief had a horrible thought, “OMG – it’s deer hunting season!  And here I am in a beige jacket with my pants down.  I’m sure I look like a WHITE TAILED DEER!” I was back at the campfire in a great big hurry.

This was not our last camping trip.  On the other hand, I think it was, since I no longer had have the right attitude and the house has been up for 24 years.

This is obviously another “Remember when?” story don’t you think?  The Tale of the White Tailed Deer.

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