Our walk-in closet smells like smoke. My clothes are muddy, strewn about the floor in a haphazard path through the kitchen and into the laundry room. I suspect one of these days I will slowly gather up the clothes and realize that I’m supposed to wash them. As for now, I’m nursing the wounds of a four-day fast from showers, clean toilets, and the send/receive button in Outlook Express. Yes, I went camping this weekend with my church. Click on the picture of Steve eating cereal to see the video Steve and I did to announce the camping trip in church (10.4 megs, requires DivX).
I haven’t roughed the camp lifestyle in a long time. I did it about a year ago, and it was far from comfortable – I slept with a rock under my sleeping bag, we stayed next to loud fellow campers who were up until midnight and got up at 5am, I got sick, and then was freezing in the morning. Granola bars for breakfast, urinating into large smelly holes, waking up with Steve invading my 15″ of personal space – essentially, the college lifestyle without a/c.
Camping probably sounds like something I never would want to do again, aside from a personal vice of masochism and machismo. But every time it’s over I think, “Wow, that was great”, and I seem to forget that for 38 hours straight I was in pain from holding back a #2 for fear of falling into the latrine. I hate being dirty and smelly, but that’s all camping is about. It’s a time where not taking showers and cooking hot dogs that fell in the dirt is a moment shared. It’s a bonding experience with nature. And also, one of the experiences where fun and crazy stuff happens:
The Potato Gun
The potato gun, a $45 Home Depot investment, provided several hours of entertainment and food on the trip. Steve and I set up camp, sat around, and then finally couldn’t avoid the itch to shoot the potato gun. We fired it angled, straight up, into trees, and at targets. Eventually, Steve started shooting from the shoulder, and then got the itch to go hunting. I could have swore he tagged a squirrel, but it got away. Eventually, he hit this small bird. I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that Steve shot a pretty bird or that Nick actually cleaned and ate the bird (after cooking it over an open fire, of course). He said it was good…we are all waiting for West Nile Virus to set in. Other highlights include firing a potato and a tent spike into a tree, and shooting the gun bazooka style.
A Fashion Moment
Another highlight of the trip is one of those times that in retrospect really sucked. The first night we were there, it poured. However, as I was going out to pee on a tree (which is of course allowable if you are camping and are male), hail started to pour down. A large piece of hail hit my hand (the one holding my hoo hoo), and I freaked out. I put up a make shift shield with lefty and quick ran to the tent as the ice shards flew. I was still zipping my pants up as the onslaught set in. After the hail, the rain poured. Literally there was water flowing so fast under our tent that you could feel it under your hands. And there I was, cold, wet and hungry, huddled in a leaking tent trying to hide my pillow and sleeping bag from the grasping wet hands of Mother Nature.
The rain poured and everyone in my tent was hungry. I was trying to devise a plan to get the cooler of delicious food and drink into our tent. However, the cooler was 15 feet from the tent, surrounding by rushing waters and deposits of slippery mud. I thought about putting plastic bags over my shoes to keep the mud off. Eventually, we just waited for the rain to calm down. It slowed; I poked my head out of the tent, and got suited up. One warm ASU sweater, one weatherproof jacket, jeans, two Nike running shoes, and a beanie. I’ve never actually worn the beanie, aside from around the apartment when I wanted to play dress-up gangsta, dock worker, or rob the local Wendy’s.
I eventually gathered the courage to climb out of the safety hut, and I booked it for the truck for bread and the cooler for food. Everything was a blur – “Don’t slip!” “Watch out for that puddle!” “Faster!” I didn’t realize that it stopped raining, and it was just sprinkling at this point. So, I decided to tough out the misty rain and cook up a hot dog. I got a stick, put Hebrew National’s finest on, and blackened it in the fire. I also grabbed a Dos Equis and walked over to the nearest tent to see how the other campers were faring the weather. I opened up the door of the tent trailer and as I leered in, the conversation stopped. Laughter erupted. Someone yelled, “Snoop!” I couldn’t figure out what was so funny. Until I realized, there I was – I looked like a gangsta from another dimension – beanie on, hot dog on a stick in one hand, cheap beer in the other. It was quite a sight.