camp 1 // (kmp) Noun
a. A place where tents, huts, or other temporary shelters are set up, as by soldiers, nomads, or travelers.
b. A cabin or shelter or group of such buildings
c. The people using such shelter
That is the dictionary definition of camping, but what does the dictionary know. Like a book could be an absolute authority over anything.
My definition of “camping” happens to be a tad different. Let me explain.
Original plan for camping weekend:
4 friends (myself included)
1 night of camping. 1 day of canoeing
Camp site near river/lake
Make eggs in the morning
Enjoy the wilderness and lack of technology
Didn’t quite go as planned.
I was picked up from my Mom’s house in Connecticut by my friend SR. He was driving his mother’s conversion van. We were riding in style.
We drove to a grocery store and picked up essential supplies: drinks, chips, Advil, and humus. (I figured humus would work out well for me seeing how hot dogs were the other dinner selection) We thought about picking up some lighter fluid, but SR and I looked at each other and remembered the last time we got a tad over zealous with lighter fluid (We almost burnt down the shrubs at his parents house along with the house in which his parents and two brothers were sleeping) We said nothing and moved on to the next aisle.
We then picked up JD (great initials). He had hot dogs, eggs, and a tent. Not bad.
Liquor store: 12 pack of Sam Adams, 12 pack of Bud Light Wheat, 12 pack of PBR, bottle of Jameson. That should be enough for 4 people to last the evening.
Friend number 4 (RJ), had to work late and was going to meet us up at the campsite.
45 minutes later we were at Black Rock State Forest. We arrived and saw the following:
A school bus
A few campers
Lots of families
Not a whole lot of privacy
A large “No alcoholic beverages allowed” sign.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm…………… not quite what we were shooting for. We inquired in the park ranger’s office about a spot for the night. There was one left. And it was the first one in the camp site (ie, the most visible)
But the question became…..where do we go camping tonight?
The answer was obvious to all of us. Macedonia State Park.
We had been there ten years ago. We lasted one night when were supposed to be there for three. Let’s see what will happen this time.
Off we went. In the mean time we were trying to get in touch with RJ who still had not left his house. The beauty of going to upstate Connecticut is that you can disconnect from technology. That drawback is that you do not have the option to turn it on. No cell service means no cell service. Between T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon we could not get in touch with RJ.
On we went. The weather was noticeably cooler as we continued moving north. A refreshing change from the concrete sauna I call home.
Then we made it. We were there.
The first thing that was noticed was the “No alcohol allowed” sign. The second was the “Beware of rabid animals” sign. I did not pay much attention to either of them.
Our campsite was rocky. Not just a little rocky. I’m talking littered with sharp, jagged, tragedy inviting rocks.
A small brook/creek/crick ran next to the site. It added a little bit of charm/somewhere to pee.
Immediately we got out the cooler and started drinking. A close second was our B line to the fire pit. Within 5 minutes we had beer and fire. Frankly, I felt like a bit more of a man than I did pre-beer and fire. (I may have been drinking on the way up to the park, but without fire it is just drinking. With fire, it is “being a man”)
JD then started standing on a picnic table to get a cell signal. You know, I’ll be damned, but it worked. Within 4 minutes we still had no clue as to if RJ was going to meet us, but at least he now knew where we were via text message.
As you can clearly see, we were roughing it.
Luckily JD is more of an outdoorsman than SR and I. He brought with him 3 flashlights, matches, and a mini-saw. A saw!!!!! Best – worst idea ever. Three drunken idiots in the woods with a saw and flashlights with one single A battery powering each of them.
Back to the fire. JD whipped out the mini-saw and declared that he was going to go get us some wood.
15 minutes later he returned with a few small trees.
Darkness was upon us and it was time for the whiskey. Oh, how I do enjoy whiskey. This was also the beginning of the end of our night.
From here (in order) these are the events that occurred:
1. Hot dogs eaten
2. Stories told
3. Beer consumed
4. More whiskey consumed
5. Fire wood gone
6. Group trip into the woods to get more stuff to burn
7. Sawing down trees
8. More beer consumed
9. Big fire
10. Big fire begins to dwindle.
11. Sufficiently drunk; we return to the woods. When we get back we start sawing wood. Three drunk morons sawing wood. It is times like that make me think a few things:
a. Why are we so dumb
b. I’m glad I have good disability insurance
c. My family is lucky I have so much life insurance
d. Could I hold a golf club missing my index finger?
12. Nobody lost any fingers
13. SR in a completely sober state (I am shaking my head as I write that) falls into the creek where I have been peeing all night. By this time it is late. Cold. He gives me a hug. It was a real moment.
14. We get loud. The stories become more animated. The falling (yes, there was a lot of falling) becomes much louder. Me exclaiming that I want to wrestle a bear becomes……well, I was exclaiming that I wanted to wrestle a bear.
15. More whiskey!!!!
16. JD begins quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (I’m not making this shit up) Something about the Civil War and battle and life and death. I was just hoping he wasn’t ready to start a fight to the death. It was late and I was getting tired. (Though as the most sober one of the crew I felt like I would have had good odds)
18. For a reason that I will never figure out SR decides to take the keys out of the van. Apparently he did not want anyone stealing out “getaway” vehicle. Huh?
Yogi and Boo Boo were sitting on a hill watching us:
Yogi – Hey Boo – let’s go down there and get us some pic-in-ic baskets
Boo Boo – Fuck that small time bullshit!! Time to upgrade. You see that conversion van down there? I saw three drunk idiots leave the keys in the ignition. In an hour they will all be passed out and I’m gonna get mine!
Yogi – You sure the is a good idea?
Boo Boo – Yogi, I gotta get paid. I’m gonna get that van and then I’m gonna get that money.
Now that I have written out a short conversation between two talking cartoon bears SR’s logic makes much more sense.
19. This is about 15 minutes after SR takes the keys out of the van. He hits the Emergency button. All hell breaks loose. The alarm is going off. The horn is beeping.
I want you to close your eyes. Think about a crackling fire. A peaceful night. Stars. And then New York City shows up in the middle of it all. A cab is blaring its horn, a fire truck is breezing by, and homeless drunk people (Me, SR, and JD) and trying to make it all stop.
After 30 seconds or so of fumbling around he hits the disarm button.
20. SR and JD begins asking each other “Are there really only 3 of us here? I feel like there should be 4 of us.”
What the fuck are you guys talking about?
21. No more whiskey for you two!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
22. Is that an owl or a wolf? I really hope it is an owl.
23. What the fuck is that moving over there?
24. Time for bed.
25. SR gets his sleeping bag, knocks everything off the picnic table, and goes to sleep ON THE TABLE.
26. JD goes to his tent that is FAR too small for him. I believe that outside packaging read “This tent can fit two full grown midgets comfortably”
27. I went back to the van. Fuck that, I’m not sleeping outside. I slept on the spacious floor of the van. And then…..
28. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. “What the fuck is wrong with this kid. Why does he keep hitting the emergency button?!!?!”
29. Alarm turns off after another 15 seconds. “Wow, the other campers must love us”
The next morning I was the first to wake up. It looked like a bomb went off around the site. Beer cans/bottles, food, sawdust, a guy passed out on the picnic table, a 3/4 empty bottle of whisky.
As I am cleaning up our campsite neighbor came over.
“Good morning. Do you guys think you could be a little quieter tonight?”
He was a nice enough guy so I told him that we would not be staying another night and sorry. I felt slightly bad.
Soon enough my partners in crime were amongst the living. We got the fire going again with the scraps of wood left over from the night before.
It was then quite obvious. It was time to leave.
SR and JD had debilitating hangovers. There was no way we were going to be able to go canoeing. NONE.
It took about 9 minutes after we all looked at each other and decided we were going to go canoeing for us to pack up the van and be on our way.
As a considerate camper I put the fire out with a bag of ice. The last way I want our camping experience to end is with Smokey the Bear running out of the woods and bitch slapping one of us.
13 hours and 35 minutes. That is how long we lasted “camping”
Soon enough our phones worked again and we were at a Dunkin Donuts.
I had a great time and I can not wait to do it again next year.