Adventure Week Continues!
Now I’m really thinking about adventure, and I’ve come up with a theory about my insatiable craving for survival shows that blows all my previous B.S. out of the water. In case you didn’t know, I am the master of B.S. Don’t even start a B.S. war with me, you will not win. Unless you’re Mike, he’s pretty good at it too. That’s why we’re perfect for each other. But I digress…this is why I never get anything done.
These new theories involve some embarrassing family photos and true stories about animal feces, so really, you should stick around, as it doesn’t get more adventurous than that.
My parents took our family on extended camping trips while I was growing up, and this truly was the highlight of my childhood, the closest to adventure I ever came. Dad taught us to make and maintain a fire (which is actually my hidden talent – I could get a roaring fire going in the Arctic Circle), Mom taught us how to wash our hair with a bucket and not care so much that we couldn’t shave our legs. The hiking until our feet were so sore we whined like motors in severe need of repair, the not drinking the stream water “because you’ll get brain parasites,” the “if you bring it you have to carry it” training I received perhaps predisposed me to love watching other people rough it worse than I did. We never ate larvae on those trips, I’ll have you know. And we stayed in a trailer, which is kind of cheating. Although my middle sister and I never slept in the trailer, we were banished to my dad’s truck bed because the trailer was the size of a Jolly Rancher.
With all my obsessive survival show watching, I may just be trying to recreate this feeling:
Wonder. Awe. Accomplishment. Fresh air. Connection with your surroundings. Feeling completely alive in an aching body. Looking forward to that Huckleberry ice cream awaiting you at the end of the journey.
And this feeling:
Family. Laughter. Teamwork. Love. Great embarrassing stories about each other to tell for the rest of our existence.
And this feeling:
“Everyone’s having a good time but you, Dad.” And Mom, who is taking the picture.
The best thing my family took away from these trips are awesome stories. There’s the time my one sister pretended to see a bear, and there’s the time the other sister peed her pants waiting for the bathroom (see how I didn’t mention which one was which? That’s called tact.) There’s also the time my Dad thought he saw a wolverine but it was really just a pine marten, and there’s the time the trailer’s septic tank exploded when it hit an exposed root, and we were shoveling shit for an hour. Perhaps my favorite was the time we actually saw a sasquatch munching on some discarded trail mix, and managed to leash him and keep him for a pet. We named him Barnabus. For the sake of familial harmony, let’s just say that one of these stories is NOT true, so any one of my family members can deny any of them if they so choose.
My most favorite family story of all time though is the dried animal dung story, which is TOTALLY TRUE and I know you are dying to hear it. Pull up a camp chair and listen, because this is one for the grand kids.
The time: Sunset, A Summer Day in 1999. The Place: Yellowstone National Park. The Characters: Me, Nene and Little Chip.
Scene: My parents had gone into town for the day, leaving us children (me seventeen, Nene fifteen, Little Chip six. So young and innocent [*snort]. Actually I don’t remember if Little Chip was there, since she didn’t actually help with the endeavor. Let’s just pretend she was there, looking adorable in her little pink bandanna, while Nene and I take on the role of the fearless protectors). The hour was growing late and cold; the trailer was locked, so we had no access to food or flashlights. Our stash of wood for the campfire was empty, and the woods were picked clean of anything burnable because at that time Yellowstone was encouraging its campers to pick up brush. As the sun set, Nene and I reached back into the fog of our teenage memories, and remembered a campfire circle during which the ranger talked about emergency survival and what you could and could not burn in the forest. With grim determination and steady hearts, we grabbed the tent broom and dustpan, and went scavenging in the adjacent meadow for meadow muffins. Animal poop, for those who don’t know about the proper verbiage for this cleanly burning fuel.
And it worked.
My parents came back to the campsite completely perplexed at the roaring fire my sister and I had managed to create without the aid of wood, while we nearly exploded with amusement at our clever resourcefulness as they tried to guess what the hell we had set on fire.
Moral of the Story: It is so much fun to be smarter than your parents think you are.
My story, my moral.
All I can say is thank God I married this guy, who loves camping just as much as I do:
Maybe on one of our camping trips, I can convince him to eat larvae.
Tomorrow, my story about the time I dressed like a pioneer and lived with the Native Oaxacans for a week…