Friday, August 21, 2009

Take a Hike

As I sit here in my cozy bed nest, my husband is conscientiously packing for a four day hike/camp trip with two other adventurous, soon to be stinky men, and one amazingly tolerant, possibly insane, woman. Desiring nothing of the wild, I am baffled why an adult would choose a vacation where you have to use a water filter daily. Really. If I have a spare four days to spend however I desire, I require at minimum a toilet, mattress, refrigerator and phone service. Traipsing through the woods does not offer these basic amenities, or room service, so I avoid the vacation that feels more like work.

When I imagine being dependent on a compass for direction, it scares me. I fear not only getting lost, but there’s the possibility of snake bites, slipping down a cliff or being eaten by a bear, not to mention a nutjob tracking me down with a gun while I sleep….. Or worse yet, I fear being the only female with a group of filthy males whose natural animal instincts causes an adrenalin gush over “getting” to poop in the forest. Call me a baby, princess or a chicken, I don’t care. Only a genuine, true nature lover is drawn to this type of getaway with its solitude, gorgeous untouched scenery, abundant trail farting, and endless bugs. There was a time I thought I was that nature loving, rugged sort of girl…..a player amongst a mostly male dominated, can I call it, sport?

I am speaking from firsthand experience.

When I was eleven, my father took me on the Father Son Hike of 1979 to the Chocolate Lakes near the Mammoth Mountains. This escapade consisted of 6 males and one female, me. I recall it being an extremely long drive up to Bishop where we ate our last edible meal for days at a Pancake House, and then on to the barebones dirt lot where we parked the Van and started our blaze up into the mountains. I had no idea what I was getting into or how badly my father needed a son. It was my first overnight hiking trip without my two sisters, mom, potty or air mattress. I had zero knowledge of what it was like to hike for days with blisters, eat disgusting food and bathe in the freezing cold lake. My father, Uncle and the other dad, who happened to be the family dentist, spent three days leading us "sons" in living off the wild. We patiently fished daily, but never caught a thing. Oh yeah, everybody had to brush every day, and it was not easy without a sink. My dentist was watching so there was no cheating on this one.

It was awkward being the only one challenged when it came to using the tree. I trudged up the side of the trail preparing to drop my red OP shorts, clutching the toilet paper my dad packed. I found it awkward to crouch and lean my bottom against a tree, feeling something tiny crawl up my back while I simultaneously had to scan the area for deer, bears or a nutjob with a gun, and then pee. I have no memory of ever going number two in the forest during those three days, so I either held it, or had such a bad experience that it has been blocked from consciousness. Something I do recall is being surrounded by amazing scenery, framed in huge jagged mountains and enjoying lakefront tent property.

My dad and I shared a tent. That was a fun part, to set up house with my dad for three days. Dozing with hats and dirty clothes on, we huddled close when temperatures dropped at night. We both slept horribly. Everyone did. However, this spirited venture provided me warm memories of father-son bonding with my dad. I still crave spending time with him thirty years later. The Father-Son hike of 1979 was cut short. The seven of us ended up coming home a day early which tells me everyone had enough of a good time to last until the flu season.

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