On Second Thought
there is an unspoken, though often grumbled through grinding teeth, little saying about camping, it goes, "your not camping unless at some point your miserable".
last friday that some point would have been from 11pm to 7am.
with my parents in town and the mandatory trip to the redwoods and coast at hand, i decided months ago we would camp out at right there in the redwoods just twenty minutes away from the coast, also known as, jedidiah state park in california.
i had acquired a 6 man tent from a yard sale and jon borrowed two extra sleeping bags from one of his friends at work. as for food, my mother and i decided it would easier to forgo the hot dogs and potato salad and wavy lays and six packs of cola, not to mention, the makings for breakfast and lunch (though naturally we brought along the ingredients for smores) and instead go into town for all our hunger needs. the buying and packing and preparing all that food just wouldn't just be a huge task for we women to undergo, but four adults plus one car seat, a tent, four back packs, four sleeping bags, four pillows, one carry your toddler on your back-back pack, and a crate full of incidentals all stuffed in a small rav4, was in and of itself, WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.
once we arrived at the campground we "lucked" out and got a spot someone had just cancelled their reservation for right down on the river. SCENIC just isn't a sufficient enough of a word. lot 55 was mystical- as my father and i resigned to once we ran out of synonyms for scenic-though it's not like we actually saw any white bearded wizards or little fairies dancing on shamrocks. our campsite was however backed up to redwoods hugging the rocky bank of the sparkling crystal water, and, my favorite part, across from a flight of steps that lead directly to the restrooms. unfortunately, and most importantly, we were unable to find even ground for our dome of a tent. and that leads me to 1) attempting to sleep while feeling yourself sliding down and, 2) the quote un quote of the word lucked previously written.
and while i was miserable, no one had it worse than my husband and mother and son. my father and i actually decided it would be awe shucks to sleep out under the stars like we use to when i was a little girl: be it in the backyard or on camping trips, i was always his comrade for braving the elements in hope he would talk about the various constellations and their wonders till my eyes couldn't take staring up into the white speckled abyss anymore and i would retire to dreams of far away galaxies. this time however we were both too tired and the air too cold; we said goodnight then buried ourselves out of sight from one another in the warmth of our sleeping bags. but back in the tent, the ground wasn't just uneven it was extremely uneven. conrad kept sliding out from underneath his covers to the cold tarp at the bottom of the tent, jon would bring him close and afraid of distressing conrad, conrad would fall asleep their on jon in the most uncomfortable, coldest position possible. on the other side of the tent was my mother. she shared the dilemma of sliding while trying to sleep and of a borrowed sleeping bag that was rank with the smell of gasoline. she too was cold, and alas, she made her peace with God and decided to take the gamble of covering her face down in the sleeping bag from the chilly air despite the possibly lethal and obnoxious odor.
throughout various points in the night i would wake, greatly disappointed it wasn't yet twilight and dying to take the short but brisk walk to the bathroom. sometime around 3am, i mustered the courage, squeezed my muscles together down there, and woke my father to go with me. there was no way i was going to be able to walk those few hundred yards by myself with only a flashlight as my defense from wild hungry california bears.
when the sun finally rose, once again, i laid there longing; longing for food. any food, bear food. my mother had noticed a sign for McDonalds on the way there and the night before jon and my father spoke of rising early and bringing back food for the women and children. but it was past twilight and the soft nudges did nothing to stir my father, neither did the eventual, "i thought you were going to get breakfast early this morning. and well, it's early." i tried to sleep through the hunger pangs but every time i would dose i was rudely awoken by little chipmunks daring to crawl into my sleeping bag with me.
7:30am marked the rise of our campsite. we huddled into the car and headed for McDonalds, but ended up at some dive jon knew of from his annual company fishing trip to brookings. through bloodshot eyes we happily sipped our coffee and exchanged horror stories of the night before.
we had camped, and survived.