There are outdoor kids and there are indoor kids. Outdoor kids spend their childhood doing things like hiking, camping, fishing and other general outdoor kid activities; tying various and assorted knots, maybe? Whittling? Some sort of thing involving rocks and sticks, maybe with a name like Sticky McRockball? I don't know. Indoor kids are only comfortable between the temperatures of 70 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit are plagued by ailments such as hemorrhoids from playing Ocarina of Time for 18 straight hours. Guess which one I was?
Now, I was in Boy Scouts for a period, but only until about the third grade. As soon as being a Boy Scout required learning any actual skills or going camping that was the end of that. What I'm saying is my 'scouting experience' more or less amounted to my dad tolerating taking me to about half the meetings and the pinewood derby every year. The pinewood derby, if you aren't familiar is a thing where all the kids get a block of wood and are supposed to craft it into a little race car to race each other down a sloped track. Ostensibly this is to teach young boys a lesson in working with your hands and friendly competition. In actuality it taught us a lesson in who's dad was a cheating son of a bitch when one kid came in with a perfect replica of fucking Night Rider complete with working lights and everyone else had a jacked up vaguely car shaped piece of shit covered in paint, hot glue and thumb blood. Personally I think they could really punch things up at the pinewood derby if they let the winners throw the losers cars into a wood-chipper, but this is a story about camping and I'm getting off topic.
So, firmly established that things within the perview of my outdoorsmanship ability include owning pants which zip off at the knee to become shorts and having watched a documentary about bears one time it only follows that for vacation this year, I insisted that Emily and I take a trip out to Colorado and go backpacking in the Rocky Mountains for several days.
Before you get all "You don't just go walk out into fuckall nowhere in the Colorado Rockies and camp for four days if you don't know what your doing asshead, that's how people get ate by a bear", I'd like to point out that my brother-in-law lives in Colorado and is an avid outdoorsman. As far as I'm concerned it was all taken care of; we'd all go camping together and he'd spend four days leading me around like the useless manbaby I am keeping me from doing stupid stuff that would result in plummeting to my death on some rocks or angering a swarm of moose.
We flew out to Colorado and had a day in Boulder to prepare and get our packs together before the actual camping portion of the trip began. I learned quite a few things about camping during this prep phase. First off, when you backpack camp everything you need for the entire duration of your trip has to be carried in and out with you, so weight is extremely important. How important you ask? Apparently important enough that we had to unroll and re-roll all of our fucking toilet paper to get rid of the little cardboard tube in the center.
According to my brother in law, those are critical ounces of weight, and you need to cut down for space however you can. I strongly suspect he is full of shit and possibly also a liar who told me that just to watch me sit there and wind toilet paper rolls for twenty minutes.
Shown above is a de-tubed toilet paper stacked on top of it's unaltered counterpart. I think we can all agree that the empirical evidence here supports my theory that unraveling your toilet paper for camping is fucking bullshit.
Another thing I learned is that when you go for real camping, you have to put all of your food as well as anything else that that has a scent into something called a 'bear canister', which is essentially an indestructable cookie jar that prevents bears from being able to get your shit. Get fucked, Winnie the Pooh.
There were other important camping rules that I'm sure I was supposed to learn, but to be honest I was so caught up with the fucking toilet paper I don't think I really absorbed much else.
We got all of our crap packed into giant camping backpacks and were all set to go. Being that we had flown in from out of state and also I don't own any camping shit, my backpack and just about everything in it was borrowed; I did bring my own underpants though.
The morning of, we all showered up with strict instructions not to use shampoo or put on deodorant because I guess bears can smell an Irish Spring from five miles off and will come kill you. Emily, myself, Andy and his girlfriend Heather loaded into the car and made the hour or so drive to the national park making sure to breath through our mouths, enjoying the last time when we wouldn't all smell like a hot foot for the next several days. Camping was going to be fun.
See? Here I am having fun.
We entered the National Forest on the first day of our trip and did about a six mile hike up to an elevation high enough that I was warned I might get winded walking fifty feet and I'd probably get a bunch of spontaneous nosebleeds. I get the last laugh though because I get winded walking fifty feet at sea level so I was pretty sure nobody would be able to tell if I was struggling with altitude or not.
Naturally it rained shortly after we arrived at our campsite, and due to the aforementioned lack of my own equipment, I had this rubber ducky-colored poncho instead of a real raincoat of any type.
I guess when you are up that high, rain typically isn't all that intense, and doesn't last that long, as within twenty minutes things had cleared up. Our campsite was at the side of a small lake nestled way up the mountain, one of those ones where it's made entirely from snow-melt so the water is completely crystal clear. It was honestly one of the most naturally beautiful things I've ever seen in person. If I were say, a blogger with a desire to showcase an amazing experience to my readers through sensational photography of my trip, I might have gotten some really gorgeous shots for you.
However, I'm shit, so here is a dumb picture of me standing up to my knees inventing a game called "Touch the Log", in which the challenge is to go into the water and touch a log.
In fairness the water was cold as fuck, so it was more challenging than it seemed.
The rest of the trip was quite lovely, involving hiking, looking for wildlife, checking out views of nature, and doing various camping things, a lot more of which are solely about not attracting bears to kill you than you might think. Turns out camping is mostly just being outside and not doing things that make wildlife try to murder you. Who knew?
Here are some other shots from the trip:
A nice little waterfall on the trail. The red dot about halfway up on the right is Emily who climbed up there for a picture. White people amiright? Not shown here is the roughly 37 families with their children also taking pictures of the waterfall.
Hahahaha look at how fat that chipmunk is. Stupid fat chipmunk, maybe do some cardio instead of sitting on that rock being all fat all day long. Burn.
Here Emily plays Touch the Log.
Here Emily follows my instructions to sit and look contemplatively out over the lake so I could take a dramatic photo. Also, the challenge log makes an appearance as a guest star in this photo if you look closely at the water.
Obligatory trail action shot. Am I jealous that my brother-in-law can pull off a mountain man hat and carry a walking stick whereas if I tried it I'd look like a huge douche? Fuck you.
I bet at this point you're saying: 'I was led to believe this was a story about pooping in the forest and you just tricked me into spending four minutes looking at your shit vacation photos. I came here for shit vacation photos but in a way more literal sense than what you've delivered. I want poop related storytelling and you are really letting me down right now.'
First of all, that's gross. Second, I was getting to that part.
The first thing my wife asked before we departed for our multi-day back country backpack camping extravaganza was "What is the pooping situation out there?" I've never been more proud, the woman knows what life's important questions are.
Turns out in the particular neck of the woods we would be staying in, they have pit toilets, a.k.a a big fuck hole in the ground that they place a child's first training potty over top of and if you are super duper lucky there is some sort of flimsy privacy barricade or other natural cover so that you don't have to shit while making eye contact with anyone in a 500 foot radius.
My wife was less than thrilled by the concept, but was at least comforted by the fact that it wasn't a scenario where you have to pack it up and carry it out with you. I however like to think I possess an adventurers spirit. To go forth and poo in the wilderness. Maybe share a knowing glance and a nod of companionship with a nearby woodland creature as if to say 'We are the same. Let the adjacency of our respective poops unite us as one in the great heart of the wilderness.' IT'S THE CIRCLE OF LIIIIIIIIIIFE. . .
AND IT MOVES US AAAAAAAAAALLLL, THROUGH DESPAIR AA-AAND HOOOOOOPE, THROUGH FAITH AND THROUGH LOOOOOOOOOVE,
TIL WE FIND OUR PLAA-A-AACE, ON THE PATH UNWINDIIII-II-II-ING, IN. THE. CIIIIIIIRCU-U-UL
IN THE CIRCLE OOOF LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFE.
Speaking of people who are not garbage like me and have a legitimate talent for capturing beautiful images of nature, you can check out Andy's photogrpahy blog with his images from the trip. They involve an order of magnitude fewer images of me with my pants down, so it's worth a look. Check it out here.