Roughing It

So we returned from camping yesterday, so today I get to clean up all of the camping supplies and do laundry and get it all put away for our next trip. And when I say ‘I get to’, it’s like ‘I get to have a root canal’.

Camping is kind of a funny past time. Here we have perfectly good homes with power and running water and air conditioning, and we pack up everything we own and go and pretend to be homeless for a while. Let’s go see how the ‘othkahneetaer half lives’. Rough it. Except we are horrible posers if my last trip was any indication.

First, the location. We went to Kah-Nee-Ta which is on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. It is in the high desert, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sage brush, red rock and… nothing.  Where the cows and horses roam free. They seriously are not fenced and literally can be found causing a huge traffic jam, -of one car-  crossing in the road, very slowly.

While at Kah-Nee-Ta, you can rent a room at the resort if you are really spoiled and are too much of a princess to live without electricity, or bring your RV so you can camp in style in a gravel parking lot, or do what we did and really rough it. Sleep in a TeePee on a concrete floor, complete with your own fire-pit, full sized picnic table, garbage can and a broom. No electricity. No plumbing. At least not in your TeePee. The cost for such rustic accommodations? $110 per night. Yes, we really could have stayed in a hotel room for the same price- but who wants a room with a bed? Oh, wait. We do.

In our desire to be comfortable, while homeless, we brought with a few ‘necessities’, but the thing about the things that I think I need? It is a slippery slope that can easily spiral out of control. Of course we needed air mattresses so that we didn’t have to actually sleep on the concrete, so we brought one for each kid and two for us. Of course the only reason we brought an extra is because we weren’t sure if one of the mattresses might have a hole in it and we wanted a backup. However, once we were there and inflated, we decided we may as well inflate the spare too, and stack them- for added comfort while we rough it. Then came the sheets. Yes. Sheets. You might ask yourself, “Who camps with sheets?”  To which I would reply, “Heathen! Who DOESN’T?” It is very hard work being homeless and the least I can do is have a comfy bed to crawl into at the end of my long day. I need sheets. Need. NEED.

Next up comes our cooking supplies, complete with camp stove, camp grill, tea kettle, french press and camp kitchen. Yes. We have a camp kitchen. Actually it is my husband’s and it is his biggest pride and joy, well, after his little dogs, of course. In less than thirty seconds, you can unfold this marvel and have a cook top, prep top, sink and pantry. It is not just functional, but luxurious. So much so that it was quite the attention getter, with several people stopping by to get a closer look and to ask him where he got it. I fully expect all of our friends to have acquired camp kitchens of their own by the time we ‘rough it’ again.

Then, of course are the electronics. Lamps, flashlights and a  radio are all necessities, but now we have Kindles, tablets, smart phones, iHomes and hand held video games. All were in abundance while we were in the middle of nowhere. After all, how could you ever know that it was damn hot if you couldn’t check your weather app? Of course all of these things require juice, so that means you have to bribe a group of kids with ice cream to sit over by the restrooms where there is a plug, and have them babysit your phone, but hey, small price to pay for the necessity of playing Angry Birds. Right?

The most important necessity, however, is the water cooler full of long island iced tea that I brought. I mean, if I have to suffer by sleeping in a TeePee on a double-upped air mattress with sheets, and spend the day either eating or laying in the sun hand pumping my mister to stay cool, both of which require massive amounts of energy when it’s 100 degrees out, then by all means, I can NOT forget the refreshments. Forget my pajamas or my toothbrush, sure, but do not forget the refreshments.

In all of the packing of ‘necessities’ that happened, though, I was a lot more basic than some people, which in reality made me feel really superior. Did you know that women actually bring their full bag of make-up camping? It’s true. I witnessed one woman who spent at least 30 minutes transforming her face just so she can go and roast a s’more at the campfire. There were a couple of other women that brought blow dryers and flat irons. People. You are getting In. A. Pool. Why, for the love of all things holy, are you doing your hair when you are just going to get it wet? Plus you are taking up the plug that my phone could be charging in. Get it together. Put that crap up in a ponytail holder and go fill up your juice cup. Just don’t take MY juice. That is sacred ground there.

Yeah, the whole camping thing just struck me as super silly this weekend, and now I’m home with a pile of dirty laundry, coolers to clean and camping supplies to replenish and put away. The great news is though, that I still have a bit of long island iced tea left. There are people dying of thirst all over the world. I should definitely not let that go to waste.



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