Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm going camping

I'm going camping, so I won't be around for a few days. In honor of my camping trip, I'm posting my camping tutorial from last year. I hope it gives you hope and direction from your own camping endeavors. I'll be back with something real on Saturday.

I have high hopes that something good happens with the situation from my last post while I'm gone.

Peace.
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Are you nervous about going camping before winter comes? Don't worry. I'm here to help you.

If you're anything like me, you have gone camping very few times in your life because your mom was the type of lady that thought "roughing it" was a Motel Six with grungy bedspreads and your dad didn't have a dad. Not so much in the immaculate conception sense, but more in the he-was-an-abusive-drunk-that-my-grandma-left-when-my-dad-was-three sense.

I didn't mind the not camping thing. I'm about as handy with a hammer as a fish is handy with a Chinese finger trap. I mention a hammer because in my mind, you use a hammer to nail in some kind of stakes that help you prop up a tent or some crap like that when you're camping, but for all I know you don't even need a hammer when you set up a tent and I just made a fool of myself in saying that. That's how inexperienced I am at camping.

All of that aside, I recently camped, and I took some notes so that you, too, can camp successfully. If you follow these helpful tips I'm sure that your camping experience will be delightful and you won't be mauled by honey badgers.

1. Find the right site

One of the first things you need to remember to do when you're camping is to find an adequate site. It is important to find a place in a forest that isn't inhabited by people in houses, and that doesn't have sidewalks or very much pavement or restaurants or power lines. This type of area is called "the forest" or "the wilderness" or "a campsite" or "an especially large shoulder off the highway."

If you think you have come across a place to camp but aren't sure, there are a few questions you can ask yourself in order to not make the mistake of trying to camp on somebody's personal property.  Things like "is there a mailbox in my line of vision?" or "is that barking animal a domesticated dog, or a wolf?" or "if I were to start a fire here, who would notice?" On that last one, if there are pedestrians walking around that might notice the fire, you're probably not in a campsite. You're probably on a street. Or in a hotel lobby. And if you start a fire, you will be arrested or cause the fiery death of all the occupants of a Hilton or private residence. So be careful.

You're doing it wrong.

Photo attribution here

2.Make sure to figure out what you'll sleep in.

Camping can be cruel. Just ask the Donner party. Or Moses. Or this guy.

Because of this reality, it's important to know where to sleep when you camp. Many people camp places where you need to set up a tent or some crap like that. Like maybe you need to find shelter, or make a lean to to protect yourself from torrential rains or something. The problems with this are many, not the least of which is the fact that doing so requires physical labor. That's right. If you choose to camp, in many cases you have to build a freaking house for yourself made of cloth or leaves and branches. And that makes little to no sense.

I recommend that you go to a camp that has a bunch of tee-pees set up like I did. It was called Ensign Ranch.

Easiest way to set up camp is to make sure someone has done it for you. 
(Thanks for the photos, Crabtrees.)


If you fail to do this, you will be forced to put up your own tent (aka wrap yourself up in your disassembled tent like a giant sleeping bag and hope that bears don't attack you in the still of the night and eat your eyes out your face like plump, wet grapes.).

3. Food.

You've gotta be careful to bring the right food. Wife and I, fraught with inexperience, brought stale pretzels, one-fourth of a power bar, and an empty water bottle. So we were screwed. Fortunately, our friends the Warners brought dutch oven food which they made in pots and stuff and there were some coals or something--I don't really understand this very well. I was getting real nervous because the pots were covered in ash and looked totally disgusting and like I was about to eat dirt, but then--and I'm actually not sure how this works and I think it might involve Voodoo--but somehow this

Can I take another helping of coal, please?

turned into a bounty that included cobbler and potatoes and chicken and it was delicious, and I'm really sorry they didn't get any pictures of their meal, or that they didn't get to enjoy any of it by the time they were done taking their kids to the potty because I accidentally finished it all, but we did save them some of these:


Yes, these are Mickey nuggets on a stick.

 *starts singing* "That's what friends are for..."

(Thanks for the photos, Warners. Oh, and for your dinner. Mmmmm.)

4. Bathroom etiquette.

Here's the hard truth: when you're camping, you're going to have to go #1 and possibly #2, and sometimes you have to get creative. Easiest solution is to camp at a place like Ensign Ranch where there are outhouses all over the place. But even then, things get tricky. For example "occupied" means that there is somebody already in the outhouse. Please note, when you enter the outhouse, make sure to lock it, which is what enables the "occupied" sign to be seen. Otherwise you might have an unsuspecting person barge in while your wee wee is doing wee wee, and that's just embarrassing for everyone, but mostly for the older woman there to relieve her bladder. (Sorry!)

No outhouse? No problem! Just take a dump in the forest and clean yourself up with leaves. I've been there. Oh, oh, how I've been there...

Executive decision: I have decided not to look for a picture to supplement this section about feces and urine in a forest. You're welcome.  

5. Have some fun!

Suggested activities:

Cards?
Uh, smores?
Other things you do outside....?

Yeah, I'm drawing a blank here. Why do we camp again?

Oh yeah, it's to become one with nature. So, nature walks are a great idea. Just remember, if a bear charges you on your jaunt, DON'T RUN. Play dead. Which won't be very hard to do if you've forgotten this tip and chosen to run, because you'll no longer have a face and you'll be dead.

If you happen to be with a group of people who, for "fun," decide to do a root-beer chugging contest, be on alert. When they ask you to represent your team of 10 people because you're so masculine *curtsies*, have a ready excuse at hand. In my case, I chose to opt out because--rational as always--I was terrified I might vomit.

I discovered that the best way to handle this scenario is, instead of explaining your "reasoning", just stand there awkwardly not participating for several loooong minutes while people wonder exactly where you fall on the autism spectrum until Tami Baumgartener shows she's got more cojones than you ever will by volunteering to go for you.

Way to go, champ!!!


Afterwards, when the chugging is over, ask her if she threw up so you can feel vindicated in your decision. When she says "no" tell yourself that the root beer would have made your nose tingle real bad, and so it was still a really good idea to wuss out in front of 30 people. Then go cry in your tee-pee and wait for the shame to give way to sleep.

Now remember, future campers, the root beer chug is just one of the four or five many things people can do while camping. Keep your mind focused and maybe you'll discover more!

6. Packing up

When your trip is coming to a close, it's time to pack up. It's important at this point to get lost in the forest on a nature walk so you don't have to clean or do any heavy lifting.  Shockingly, Wife was the one who employed this strategy on our camping trip.

Okay, okay, That's not exactly what happened unless when you say "get lost in the forest" you actually mean "took the girls to a huge slip and slide on the campground without you so you could pack up by yourself, mainly because you didn't have the right shoes."



I'm not bitter.*

Welp, there you have it! I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Now, get out there and go camping before winter comes! Otherwise you will probably die. From hypothermia. Whatever disease that is.

*Yes I am.


12 comments:

  1. I never could figure out what people did when they camped. I don't fish and I don't really swim. I have heard of people taking a generator so they could watch movies and their kids could play video games.

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  2. LOL. Okay, Josh. I'm going camping over Labor Day myself. If you need any camping tips, just give me a holler. We'll be wilderness camping (no campground for us and especially not a cushy one like Ensign Ranch), but we'll be eating like kings and probably eating fresh trout for breakfast (I'm not fishing, but husband and father-in-law will be).

    And Glapha, we will have our generator, but it will be used for my husband's CPAP machine, although I admit we've been known to watch movies outside, too :-)

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  3. I like nature. I love the smell and the crackle of a campfire. I hate bugs. I hate outhouses. I hate tents. I hate sleeping on the ground. I love hotels. I love my own bed even more. I do love the dark sky and twinkling stars. I hate not being able to shower in the morning. This is just such a dilemma (I don't even know how to spell that).

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  4. Oh josh weed. I am Jeff Ford's sister-in-law, and I just read your poopy pants post and laughed so hard I pulled a muscle in my back. How is that even possible?

    Sidenote: according to google poop is not a word. If telling poop jokes is wrong I don't want to be right!

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  5. Isn't it interesting how we spend our working lives trying to acquire the things that make our lives more comfortable and easy (like power showers and large plasma screens and range cookers) and then when the holidays come we can think of nothing better than to eschew all that to go and sleep in a cloth hut?

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  6. Super sad, but this post actually made me cry. I used to live in WA and LOVED Ensign Ranch!!!! Such an amazing place. Sadly, AZ just doesn't offer the same awesomeness when camping, lol. Oh well.

    P.S. Dutch oven cooking is some of the easiest, just throw food stuff in there and magic really does happen (I think it's known as "starvation") and voila! yummy dinner or dessert!

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  7. For me camping = Holiday Inn. Hope you have fun! :)

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  8. I cried while reading this too...while viewing the bear clip and most sincerely while reading the appropriately dubbed, poopy-pants story. They were tears of utter happiness that you made my morning so much more worthy of living, as I sat in my car and waited for the library to open. Thank you for finding humor in the sometimes ghastly task of mortal living!!!! I love you!

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  9. Josh, I don't know where my comment got posted, but I can't find it so I'll repeat. I am an observant Jew, 61. After some experiences I made a decision early on in my life to be celibate. It has been very difficult, but I felt led by Hashem. I tried reparative therapy, but couldn't relate to it - but I wonder if it might not be helpful for some who are not so set in their sexual identity as you and I. While there is bullying and such, there is also some peer pressure these days to experience same sex. Also, those who were molested may respond to therapy.
    It is especially hard for me because I was not born into orthodoxy and I don't feel socially connected to my religious community. I have found that life is easier when I have targeted goals and am working on something creative. I would have loved being married with kids. I just have never met someone to love, man or woman, in the way you have. (not being around gays precludes men and I gave up trying orthodox singles weekends). You are an inspiration. I do hope you will not be tempted by the candy corn and Reese's bits -- sugar is not good for ADD nor for other conditions.

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  10. Good Post Josh and Lolly!! BTW you spelled Tami's Last name wrong :) AND I can totally see Tami chugging that rootbeer down. ;) Have a fun trip!! :)

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  11. Hey hey, that's where I used to have Young Women's camp! And I sliced my foot open in the lake! Good thing they took care of them leaches.

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  12. Hey hey, that's where I used to have Young Women's camp! And I sliced my foot open in the lake! Good thing they took care of them leaches.

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