Monday, November 5, 2007

We Go Camping, and then Wish We Hadn't

It was a disaster.

I don't necessarily believe that God reaches through the cosmos to divinely direct a crappy series of events to warn us away so we won't have a crappier time later. But this time, I think he did.

From the outset, nothing went right. The fleeces I bought to keep the Buds warm were too small and needed to be exchanged. The orange-logoed Home Depot does not carry orange hats. Or camping chairs. The Dick's Sporting Goods was on the other side of town. The interstate we needed was closed for the weekend (what state DOES that?). We had a three hour trip ahead of us with a dog who hates the car. It was going to be dark when we got there. We weren't actually sure where we were going to camp, just somewhere in the state forest. I was still sick. It was hunting season.

You follow?

We drove north into the evening, passing lake after lake. When we reached the not-so-cleverly named Land O' Lakes State Forest, the sun was setting. We drove quickly to find a campsite. But all the good ones were taken by hunters wearing day-glo orange from head to toe, with ATVs and dead deer on trailers behind their pickups. So we in our BMW with our fleece-outfitted small, white dogs drove on.

We finally found a spot just off the road. It was too dark to go adventuring for a better location, and we set up the tent with the aid of a flashlight. Oh, the tent. It was free, so I can hardly complain, but it is GINORMOUS. It's one of those two-room deals that sleeps a family of 12 plus grandma. Except grandma wouldn't go camping in November because her years of life experience would have taught her that it's FREAKING FREEZING out.

We were white, suburban, excess America to the max.

And then Aikane started barking. AND NEVER STOPPED. And I, the ever paranoid City Girl, had to keep shining the flashlight into the darkness that surrounded us because what if a bear was coming to eat us and Aikane was trying to warn us? We had to wear vibrant orange hats so the hunters wouldn't have an excuse if they shot at us to restore the Quiet of the Wilderness.

When we finally went to bed, tummies full of charred hobo dinners, I couldn't sleep. It was too cold. And the side of our Mexican-Family-Sized Tent kept flapping in a manner which sounded suspiciously like an attacking bear.

The next morning, we awoke to the sound of distant gunfire and the dogs' resumed barking. It was 25 degrees, and I was coughing so hard it was making me gag.

We try to keep our language clean, but that morning the DNB used the most well-placed swear word I've ever heard. He surveyed our campsite and the barking dogs. He looked at me, hunched over in a coughing fit. He donned his combo head warmer/baseball cap bright orange hunting hat and shivered.

"Let's get the fuck out of here."

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