Monday, June 1, 2009

"You make me feel like a 'natural' woman..."

("Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin.)

Friday I embarked on my first ever camping trip. You may recall that I was a little apprehensive, since I've never been, and The Hubs is an Eagle Scout. The six of us (The BFF/BF, Tonja & Jason, and The Hubs and I) had a spot at a campground in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio.
(This is just our stuff. Two nights of camping and two people...I had no idea how much stuff we would need!)

The website for the campground had a map showing all the campsites and their locations as compared to the campground's Family Fun Center which was supposedly equipt with mini golf, go karts, and most importantly, shower houses. According to the map, our campsite was easily within walking distance of this area, so the three women in our group were very excited at the prospect of camping with nearby indoor plumbing.

Unfortunately, the map they provided was not a topographic map, and while they may have been a quarter mile apart distance-wise, they didn't mention that we would have to walk up a busy road, then up an 80 degree treacherous gravel incline, and across a field to get to the showers and toilets. Needless to say, that wasn't going to happen.

The boys obviously didn't care about this, because well...they're boys. They don't have a problem peeing anywhere they like. The BFF is a self-admitted germaphobe, and was having difficulty deciding where she wanted to 'go', Tonja 'manned' up and took the squatting route, and I braved these:
See them, way back there, behind Jason? My two best friends, the disgusting Porta Potties. The one on the left had hand sanitizer, but no toilet paper (which was fine because I brought my own) but it also had some dried mud, or dirt, or... whatever... on the seat. The one on the right had tp, but no sanitizer, and had a resident wasp. I chose to utilize the one on the right for the weekend. Damn skippy, I'd rather face a wasp than something questionable on the seat. Not that I actually sat anyway, but whatever. The tag inside said they had been "serviced" on the15th, but I'm pretty sure "servicing" them means just checking to see if they still exist.

Here's our campsite, right on the Hocking River:
We were fortunate enough to have this section all to ourselves, even though there were three or four other campsites in this area. Every time a car would drive by, we would all watch to see if it was stopping, and luckily, they never did. Saturday night, however, a couple came and set up camp in the site closest to the Porta Potties. (You can see their orange tent in the Porta Potty picture). I bet they weren't too thrilled with their spot, especially when I had the overwhelming urge to pee at 2:30 Sunday morning. Oh well, sorry about your luck. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

The Hubs and the boys went looking for firewood for us, and The Hubs came back and said, "Geez, someone must have been afraid of vampires or something - look at this stake!" We all know my love of puns, so I couldn't resist making him take pictures with various "stakes" through the heart for the rest of the trip.
You've got the classic wooden stake:

The modern tent stake:
And the weapon choice of Foodies everywhere, the dinner steak:
Why does this man put up with my shenanigans? I would have divorced me by now, for sure.

Saturday, we had signed up for a canoe/kayak trip. I guess I knew in my head that it was an 8 mile trip, but I didn't realize just exactly how long 8 miles really is. If I had thought about that before hand, I might have paddled a little bit harder on the first half.

Here's the crew at a little docking spot right after the launch.

Here's Tonja and Jason floating down the river together:
It was the perfect day for the trip - not too hot, sunny, and lots of big shade trees on the banks.

Tonja takes advantage of the sun:

And, like I said, when you gotta go, you gotta go. I guess what they say about women going to the bathroom in groups is true even when camping:
The river trip was really fun until we got to the part with the Ohio University drunks screaming and drinking their Nati Light all over the river. We paddled as fast as we could to get through them, but I swear, there were probably 20-30 separate canoes filled to the brim with drunken college kids. Kinda ruined the peaceful float down the river that we had been enjoying up until that point. Overall, it was a really good time, and the long-ass 8 miles was really worth the money we paid.

Saturday night, we got back to camp and had dinner. We were just about to hit the s'mores when The BFF's BF got a call from his mom freaking out because we were about to get some bad weather our way. I had been doing okay so far with the whole nature/dirt/bugs/sleeping outside thing, but hearing the word "tornado" scared the bejezus out of me. We all started packing as much stuff into the cars as we could in case we had to get out in a hurry. I've never packed so fast in my life, dude. In the end, I had everything in the car but the tent, air mattress/cot and sleeping bags. I was ready to go.

I told The Hubs that if it started to rain, we were getting in that car. Sure enough, it started to rain, so I folded up my chair (with the Diet Coke still in the armrest, which The Hubs was thrilled about, let me tell you) and high tailed it to the car. Once there, I cried and cried and cried. So I'm a wuss, sue me. The Hubs got really frustrated with me freaking out, but my whole point was that he's a freaking Eagle Scout. He's done this a thousand times, and in weather a thousand times worse. This was the very first time I had ever slept outside. We didn't even do backyard camping when I was a kid. Of course I was freaked out!

We called his mom, and she checked for us. She told us that it didn't look too bad, just some rain and stuff that should be over by midnight. We ended up unpacking the things we needed for the night and staying there. The Hubs and I went to bed a little after midnight, and that's when the downpour started. It was supposed to be over by then! It only took about twenty minutes for The Hubs to start feeling drops on his sleeping bag. Our brand new tent had a leaky seam, right across the section of the tent where his body was. There wasn't really any room for him to move around, so that awesome Eagle Scout of a man spent the night with water dripping on his body. And then I woke up at 2:30 am with the uncontrollable need to pee, so I woke him up and he walked with me to the Porta Potties and checked the inside for bugs for me.

Bless that man. I certainly do love him.

We got up Sunday morning, packed the tents up, and decided to hit up Cracker Barrel for lunch. The Hubs always plays the little wooden game at the table, and this time, he conquered it on his first try!
Overall, I'd say my first camping trip was 85% fun. I will definitely do it again, I'd just like to wait for a weekend with no chance of rain. Cooking hotdogs and s'mores over the campfire was definitely one of the fun parts, as was the canoe trip. Once we get a new tent, I'll be excited to go again.

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