I Pooped in the Woods

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.

 
Made from beartonite, which is bears only known weakness.

Made from beartonite, which is bears only known weakness.

 

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.

 
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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. . .

 
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AND IT MOVES US AAAAAAAAAALLLL, THROUGH DESPAIR AA-AAND HOOOOOOPE, THROUGH FAITH AND THROUGH LOOOOOOOOOVE,

 
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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.

My Brother-in-law Has Mind control Powers

Emily and I visited Boulder Colorado to visit her brother Andy who was walking at graduation from Colorado University. He is finishing his PhD in Neuroscience, which means between his degrees and my soon to be- veterinarian wife, I'm looking more and more like a chimp with a pack of markers over here with my dumb cartoons. Not to mention I'm like, 95% certain whatever his degree is about means he can control people with his brain waves and chuck buses with his mind now.

According to him, even though he walked at graduation he doesn't officially get his PhD until he successfully defends his dissertation in a few months, so technically nobody is allowed to call him doctor until then. We all agreed to roll with it, partially because it’s the polite thing to respect his wishes and not give him a hard time, but also because he probably mind controlled us all with those brain powers into doing what he wants. Mainly the second one I think.

CU is so large that they apparently have a whole bunch of mini graduations over the course of a weekend for individual departments, which I guess is probably not all that uncommon unless you went to a school where the entire graduating glass was 2500 people like I did at which point you start to think it would just make more sense if they just texted everyone "Cngrts, u get 1 d-ploma, lol" and called it a day. The graduation ceremony for Andy's department was held in the basketball stadium and it was quite nice with the exception of two drawbacks:

First, I had to walk up and down the enormous flights of stairs approximately seven billion times as I was put in charge of the camera for the evening.  My protests that I didn't want to be the photographer because if I took a bunch of pictures that were either blurry or had my thumb in them I would be solely responsible for ruining graduation forever were dismissed. Also my mother in law thought some seats on the opposite side of the gym might have been reserved for us and I had to go check it out. One week later, after making the pilgrimage and paying the Sherpa my last few dollars I found that the seats were in fact reserved for the Gersons. The Gersons, who never actually sat in those seats and I now hate forever because I had to walk up and down five miles worth of stairs just to look at their empty chairs with their smug little 'Reserved for the Gerson Family' signs. F*#%ing Gersons.

I can handle walking pointlessly up and down flights of stairs that seemed to have been constructed at an 84 degree angle in a stadium where the AC quickly failed to meet the demands of the crowd, but the thing was, including Andy there were a total of six PhD candidates. In contrast to this, there were approximately 2348542398563095823e10 undergraduates getting their bachelor’s degrees in Whogivesashitology.

Of course I don't mean that in the sense that their degree is pointless or they didn't accomplish something to be lauded for. I just mean that I, personally, don't have it in me to care. I nearly blew off my own college graduation due to my severe lack of interest in other people or their degree, the only thing that keeping me in my seat being fact that at some point someone would read my name over a microphone and a bunch of people would clap, because I am an ego-maniacal monster (also, there isn't really a way to just piss off after you get your diploma without making a scene). If the prospect of receiving my own diploma just barely held my attention you can imagine how much less of a crap I was able to muster for anyone in the University of Colorado Boulder's Psychology and Neuroscience undergraduate class of 2016 once the PhD group was done in the first ten minutes of the degree handing out portion of the festivities.

I'd like to say I did what reasonable people are supposed to do and sat there respectfully watching the hoard of undergrads get their degrees, but what really happened was less 'watching the proceedings through to the end like an adult who doesn't have the attention span of boiled carrots' and more "just getting up and wandering off five minutes into the sea of undergrads'. I swiped a piece of cake that I'm almost positive people weren't supposed to start taking until the ceremony was over and wandered around outside until everything was nearly done. I came back in at the end to get a few more pictures and set up to take a cool angle on the hat-throwing, which required I walk all the way down that god-forsaken flight of stairs again and then they didn't even do it which further enforces my negative feelings towards their general existence.

The cake was good though. I hope the Gersons didn't get any.


We were there for four days, so besides the graduation we did a bunch of hiking around in the mountains, as one does when one is in Colorado. I simultaneously love and hate hiking because it's a great outdoor activity where you can get fresh air, exercise and see some really amazing scenery, but in the case of many places we have been you're also walking on a narrow trail or climbing up rocks one foot from falling a million feet to your death at the base of a mountain.

I don't know this for a fact but I am convinced a person falling that distance onto a bunch of rocks would look a lot like when you ate those gummy candy snacks, Gushers, as a kid and you put one between your fingers and squished it until a blob of jelly splorched out the side. Except with entrails.

I fell head first off the top of one of those plastic spiral slides on a playground when I was six or seven, which in reality was probably a drop of like, four feet and I don't even think I got hurt, but when you are only 19 inches tall or however old six year olds are it basically feels like somebody threw you off the top of your goddamn house. Ever since then I've been a little uncomfortable around heights.

Despite the traumas of my youth, a combination of wanting to experience the outdoors and not wanting to look like a little bitch while other people hike, a bunch of little girls with their parents skip past me, unphased by the terrain and a teacup poodle looks at me like I'm an asshole as he shambles by with his owner forces me to push forward whenever we take a trip somewhere mountainous. 

By the way teacup poodle; You have four legs and a low center of gravity, so f*#k you and your judgmental attitude.

In any case, here are a bunch of perfectly nice photos of scenery that Emily and I ruined by standing smack in the middle of them, blocking the view.

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You might think this is a candid shot when in fact I forced her to stand there with instructions to "Gaze majestically across the landscape" Until I could take a picture. The debate over what Emily considers a suitably majestic pose is one for another time.

You might think this is a candid shot when in fact I forced her to stand there with instructions to "Gaze majestically across the landscape" Until I could take a picture. The debate over what Emily considers a suitably majestic pose is one for another time.

There could have been 1000 bald eagles behind me, or a bigfoot, or another interesting thing. You'll never know because my dumb head is in the way.

There could have been 1000 bald eagles behind me, or a bigfoot, or another interesting thing. You'll never know because my dumb head is in the way.

do you ever become super aware of your hands whenever someone is taking a photo of you? If someone ever makes me pose for a photo and then takes more than .5 seconds to FIGURE out how to work their goddamn PHONE and just take the photo I start to lose it. Like... look at it. Its just there. doing nothing. Christ, I wish I had a hook hand.

do you ever become super aware of your hands whenever someone is taking a photo of you? If someone ever makes me pose for a photo and then takes more than .5 seconds to FIGURE out how to work their goddamn PHONE and just take the photo I start to lose it. Like... look at it. Its just there. doing nothing. Christ, I wish I had a hook hand.

One thing we hiked to was the site of the Crags Hotel, a hotel that was built in 1908 way up in the mountains that you had to ride a special rail car to get up to. It promptly burned down in 1912 because apparently they built everything out of asbestos and dry leaves back then. All that's left really are a couple of low stone walls and a fireplace which based on the condition of everything else that remains from the structure, I am 1000% convinced they rebuilt more recently and are just claiming is the original one from where the hotel was so people have something to take their picture next to.


PS

I saw this tree with a pair of boxer shorts hanging off them at the site of the hotel ruins. I'm not sure what situation leads a person to hike three miles up a mountain and then take off their boxer shorts and hang them on a tree but there you go.

Either somebody was banging up here at the ruins and left their shorts behind, had a case of the sweatiest balls in history and simply HAD to air everything out after the climb up, or my personal favorite: fancied themselves some sort of intrepid explorer, sumitting a mountain and planting their flag. Short on flags to play they made the best of a tough situation.

Whatever the scenario was that led to somebody hanging their underpants from a pine tree at 8000 ft, I imagine the trip back down the mountain, testicles jostling freely within their pants, could not have been ideal.  


PS Also

On the way home we had a layover in Chicago O'Hare. All through the airport they have these giant posters of peoples faces. There was some sort of "don't be a douche/terrorist" message that they were supposed to convey, but I've forgotten whatever it was, so first off, poor job Chicago O'hare, douches and terrorists are probably just as unphased as I was by your weak attempt to ward them off with enlarged ethnically diverse happy faces.

More to my point, in every single one of those photos the way the lighting they used reflects off the subject's eyes makes them look like they are all goddamn lizard people in human disguises.  

Jesus Hershall Christ, it's like he's going to rip off his meat casing and be a sixty foot python with arms like Dwayne Johnson before he tears off my head so his mate can implant a bunch of eggs down my neck hole into my body cavity.

If you happen to be reading this post and plan on sleeping ever again in your life after having seen these murder lizards from Chicago O'hare, good luck.

They'll be watching.


PS Also Also

 I fixed their poster for them