Get out your bear skins and prepare the Montana Bananas because this blog post is all about a little thing I love to call “camping”.
Everything I learned about this great hobby (is this a sport yet Olympics?!) I learned from my dad.
The great father is a cross between Jeff Bridges and a mountain man at its finest. He’s taught me many things in life; probably the best and most important have been (in no particular order): camping, fishing and swearing like a sailor (thanks dad!).
From the time I was a wee child, swigging watered-down apple juice like a baller, I was camping.
My parents would let me climb on rocks and frolic in the wilderness (probably in the hopes that I’d be carried off by a mountain lion but that’s another story).
Every summer my father would pack up me and my little sister and we’d hit the forest. Out in the Montana wild it’s beauty and awe. Nothing compares to Red Lodge or Cooke City or Forest Lake.
We would rough it too. I’m a true Montanan – I can go for days without a shower, sleep on the hard ground and chop wood with the best of them.
My dad taught me well. Even today I make him proud (hi dad!). At least in the camping realm. On the “lady-like” front I can’t speak to that.
So this weekend, my husband and I packed up our cache and hit the road for Flagstaff, AZ. Arizona may seem un-campable but up north are great little forest areas that could almost, almost, be mistaken for Montana.
I have three requirements for camping:
Sometimes I require a fire, but this being dry Arizona, fires are prohibited so sadly, we were unable to start one. I can make an exception. One other thing I do when camping is I always compare it to camping with my dad – something that I’m sure makes my husband want to throttle me.
“My dad always starts a fire. He doesn’t need gasoline.”
“We always would fish when we camped with my dad.”
“MY DAD IS BETTER THAN YOU. NEENER NEENER.”
So we arrived. And wearing my lucky Outsiders t-shirt…
We set up camp…
I had a glass of wine while the husband toiled with pitching a tent. I made a makeshift paper towel holder. Classing up the forest one day at a time.
From there we went on a walk where we stumbled upon the cutest horny toad. I really wanted to pick this little guy up and put him in my pocket.
Eventually we settled in for the day/night. I discovered a few things in my newest camping attempt. Peeing in the woods is impossible when you’re on the GODDAMN ARIZONA TRAIL.
Yes. We camped right on the main trail where every 10 minutes hikers and bikers would come traipsing through. This resulted in a Jules, pants down around her ankles, scouring the forest, only in mid-pee have to yank said pants back on.
Now, as mentioned in an earlier post, I can shit/pee in the woods with the best of men. In fact, it was my stepmom who showed me the correct way to do this. I just do the P90X squat, with my back against the tree, and pray to baby Jesus that a spider doesn’t go skittering down my backside.
From there…more wine was poured, the music came on and I whipped up a delicious dinner of blue cheese burgers, beans and creamed corn.
We lounged in chairs like sultans and enjoyed the beauty of the forest. Although I must say, drinking wine and watching mountain bikers drive by and their stares of envy was a bit intimidating since they were working out and I was not. I felt guilty.
Darkness descended. There ensued the bright idea of trying to map the stars and constellations using only my phone and my drunken knowledge. I traipsed through the woods. Walking tipsy in flip flops was probably not the best idea but it worked out for the best. I found the big dipper – a third grade rookie move – and promptly called it quits.
The best part of the trip came at about 10pm. The coyotes started their howling.
It was all sorts of creepy, majestic wonder, making me realize that whenever I’m out in the secluded woods at night is usually the precise moment I start to regret my love of horror movies.
I regret it so hard.