Last month I read this post by Cory on her husband's road trip with two of his buds. Go take a look at it and then come back here…
I can completely understand poor Francis!
I will be the first to say it… I am NOT a “Let’s go camping!” kind of girl. My idea of roughing it is having to stay at the “Sawing ZZZ Motel”… if you know what I mean.
So when Himself and I did our mega 5000 mile, 5 week road trip thru the Southwest (TN-AR-TX-NM-AZ-CA-NV-AZ-CO-KS-MO-TN) I thought I was being a good sport to agree to camp at a few of our stops. (Why does a man who is a retired career soldier and ‘camped’ for a living want to do it on his vacation too?)
I got online and made reservations at Yosemite. I picked a beautiful campsite on the edge of the campground. How peaceful! I was actually looking forward to it.
Then we arrived at Yosemite…one of the most beautiful places on earth. Spent the day exploring and hiking from gorgeous place to another. Then we checked in at our campground.
And were handed by the Helpful Ranger a 1 inch thick packet of information, tips and rules about … BEARS.
No one had said a word about BEARS when they took my reservation. There was nothing about BEARS on the camping part of the web site (at least in ’04).
No… now when there is nowhere else to go for the night, they tell me about BEARS. Mind you, I think they are magnificent beasts. Huge, carnivorous magnificent beasts.
The first brochure shows a photo something like this:
(this photo was taken at Yosemite by a ranger!!!)
Then the brochure cheerfully informs you that each camp site has a “bear locker”. This metal container is where you are to store your deodorant, soap, shampoo, lotion, tooth paste, food and anything that has come into contact with food.
Where they serious?!?!
The Helpful Ranger assured me that it was quite serious.
I said “Fine! I am sleeping IN the bear locker then because I am WEARING deodorant, soap, shampoo, AND lotion!”
Helpful Ranger tells me that is not permitted.
Terrific. My bottles of deodorant, soap, shampoo, and lotion are sitting in an iron bunker while my deodorant, soap, shampoo, lotion laden body is sleeping in a nylon tent. Can someone explain the logic of that to me?
Then Helpful Ranger tells me that “if BEARS should appear during the night, I should have a set of pans in the tent and bang them together loudly to discourage the BEARS.”
Yeah right… or they might think the banging pans were calling them to supper…
Helpful Ranger was not amused at that. You know what? Neither was I!
With a last warning from Helpful Ranger that we were not to harm or harass any BEARS we might see (!!!), we headed over to our camp site.
Oh my goodness!! It was next to a rocky stream among huge pines… and peeking thru the pines was Half Dome.
It almost made me forget about BEARS.
Except were things that kinda brought them back to the front of your mind…
… like claw marks on a tree higher up than 5 ft, 9 inch me can reach.
And since Helpful Ranger is no longer around, Himself decided to take over the job and become Helpful Husband.
His suggestion? That we take our marshmallows and ring them around the camper closest to us (about 3 spaces away). That way the BEARS would go there first and I would have time to escape.
… I gave payback for that at a later date…
We also ate at a restaurant because I refused to have fresh food smell wafting from our camp site. (Hmmmm… there was an ‘up’ side to this because when it comes to camping, ‘food and cleanup’ is always left to the wife…).
Once back, we settled in for the night. Himself happily curled up in his sleeping bag, snoring away. (Please God, don’t let the BEARS think it was a new BEAR in the park and come investigate!)
Me, wide awake with those pans close by. I probably dozed off a half dozen times that night for a few minutes at a time.
The next morning *someone* wakes up bright-eyed and ready for the day. That *someone* was not me…
Then Helpful Husband informs me that he had considered sneaking out of the tent during the night and scratching on my side of it.
I’m glad he didn’t. He really wouldn’t have like what I would have done with those pans…