Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Camp-Lore and the Great Outdoors

This weekend my lovely boyfriend Brian and I were going camping. We had talked about it for at least half of the summer, picked the best place to go, promised to go REAL camping (which apparently means NO playgrounds, arcades, pools, or electricity... the type of camping my family and camping family friends prefer), and packed up our bundles.

Hoo-rah, the nearest state park (prime REAL camping at these babies, I hear) was a mere 30 minutes away!

My dad even got excited about Brian's passion for REAL camping and gave me a book to let him borrow.

[The Book of Camp-Lore and Woodcraft by Dan Beard. copyright 1920.]

[there are cute illustrations, and fun old-timey words like "rucksack" and "tenderfeet," and says things like people who aren't real campers should "stick to the bungling bungalow."]

Brian got to my house a little late in the day (he had a ride from his parents, so he didn't get to choose the time), but no big deal we packed up our belongings and were OFF!

Lake Maria State Park, curse it, was hot, sticky, fly-infested, and confusing! The ranger station had no ranger. We didn't notice the board that told us which sites were open and which were reserved (the lying, cheating website said "NO RESERVATIONS" in caps lock, like it was final and legally binding). We had to "backpack" to the site(s) which would have been fine had we only walked 1/2-1 mile to a SINGLE site rather than being disappointed three times while lugging heavy backpacks and sweating profusely.

I could probably drag this story into a novel--or at least a few chapters, but let me nutshell it for all you fellow impatient 21st-century-ites: humidity, back pains, continual disappointment, darkness, getting lost, biting flies.
It was too late in the day... well, night. We couldn't make three or four one mile trips. We had to pick an Alternate Campground.


There was no back-up plan. So we went to the Back-Up of back-ups, namely: the Back-Yard Plan.

[our cozy campsite... nice and close to the ranger's station and toilets, right?]

[the good 'ole tent. our one and only shelter from the elements.]

Worry no more, Readers, we made the best of it. (What do you expect when two Hopeless Optimists experience failed plans?)

We backyard "roughed it," not quite REAL camping, but fun enough. We slept in the tent and even started a bonfire!

[the blue is one of those fancy fire-color-changer sticks. ooooh. la. LA.]

[ghost stories]

[Brian is totally one of those people who tends to the fire constantly and pokes at it with his hand or a stick. he's also the one always adding firewood and monitoring the flame.]

That night, we just knew it was time to employ our wilderness skills. We made sure our food was out of the way of the wild animals. We macheted a trail to the bathroom before moon-rise. We put out some garlic to ward off the vampires. (But there was also a copy of Twilight to show that hunky Edward that he is MORE than welcome. xoxoo...)

Oh, and the cherry on top of these wilderness activities was brushing our teeth, not with running water but, with a mere WATERBOTTLE. Wow. We were officially and seriously Serious Campers.

[not for the weak-hearted]

[flashing your teeth while brushing helps ward off the wolves--just another camping tip for ya]

The next day we took a hike. To the local bowling alley. Pretty sure no one at that camping site had ever trekked quite as far.

Brian forgot socks, so he borrowed some of mine. Lucky for him I own a pair of Men's socks! They are ugly blue ones that I got from horrid Old Navy in a fun attempt to clear the balance from a gift card.
To ease his evident social stigma, I too, vouched to wear some ugly socks. They were knee-high, pink, and striped. My mom came too, and brought her Trick or Treat Halloween socks!

[ah, classic bowling alley carpeting. beautiful.]

[legs! legs! fantastic, hairy man legs!]

Next, we each had to take a personal bowling profile pic. Oooh, baby.

[mom, Halloween Queen]

[me a.k.a. christie a.k.a. The Striped Wonder]

[chic, sexy, hip... no, not an Abercrombie model, it's BRIAN VIRGIL!]

I am a notoriously bad bowler. But Brian is for some odd reason amazing and my mom is in a bowling league. So I got really excited when, for a single frame, I was merely ONE POINT away from kicking Brian's ugly-man-sock-wearing butt!!

[Brian alias Bowler 2: 97; Christie alias Bowler 3: 96; thumb belongs to Bowler 3]

[and then there was one KAR-RAZE-EE moment when we were all tied! Like a three-legged race or something!]

In conclusion, camping was a good time.

Thanks for reading y'all,



  1. You know, Halloween is one of my least favorite holidays-how could I become the 'Halloween Queen?' Aaaarrrggghhh!
    Just kidding-bowling was really fun (and that's not just the wine talking!) and maybe we can do it again sometime :D
    You know the weekend could've been a bummer but you two really are optimists who make the best of most anything and I love that!!
    Good night kiddo :}

  2. this was the best post EVER!! it made me laugh, out loud, by myself in my house. the dog looked at me and was like, "what?" (she's not very expressive.)

    anyway, this is awesome.

    love you,


  3. Excellent post! You cracked me up! I'm sitting at work over my lunch hour with people giving me the 'what the hell is her problem' and the 'what right does she have to be laughing' looks. I'll write more later when I'm home, because I have some comments I want to make and my lunch hour is done. VERY fun post! Thanks for the laughs!

  4. just read it again. stop making me laugh so hard.

    and sometime there NEEDS to be a person tending to the fire constantly. i'm not ashamed.

  5. WELL, mother, if you had socks from other holidays, maybe, just maybe, I'd believe you but... you are the Halloween Queen. Face it.

    Aww, Brian and Tess, you make me so happy with your appreciation!

  6. Okay, now I have more time to comment!

    First of all YAAAAAAAAAYYY Christie for trying to go REAL camping! And good job Brian for trying to stay as true to REAL camping as possible (brushing your teeth outdoors...nice touch!)

    Doesn't EVERYONE have a copy of The Book of Camp-lore and Woodcraft? Harummmmpph....bungling bungalow dwellers probably never heard of it!

    Nice job on achieving a roaring campfire, Brian! Yes, we're all fire pokers. We can't seem to help it. Brian has been known to singe his tennies...he sometimes pokes the firewood with his feet. (Not a good idea for you REAL camping newbies.)

    I must comment on the socks. You told me that Brian didn't want to borrow your dad's or brothers socks for some reason....what do you want to bet that Brian had that dream about your dad throwing him off the couch because it was 'HIS couch' the night before you went bowling??? (If your followers are confused....go to Popcorn Day and read about Brian's dream and learn about 'when girlfriend's dads go bad'! :-)

    Great blog post, Christie!