Good Morning, Scriblers! Happy non-official start of summer! Vivienne Lynge, here. Do you have plans this Memorial Day? Before I write another word, let me say from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all those who have served in our armed forces and continue to do so. From the American Revolution to this very minute, whether the people have agreed with the government’s decisions to use your services or not, thank you for your sacrifice.
Like most Americans, I made plans for my household to take advantage of this three-day weekend: we’re going camping. Before you say to yourself, “So what? Zillions of people go camping on Memorial Day weekend,” let me tell you about our plans.
I have 3 young children. Princess Second Grader can’t be induced to use a port-a-potty if her bladder is about to burst, and the twins, Jester and Minx, are pre-school Tasmanian Devils who know no fear. Hubby and I took the fam camping last fall and they had a blast, so we decided to do it more often this year. We bought a bigger tent (our old one was purchased pre-children and while it is considered a 6-man tent, it’s a two-adult tent at best) and put one camping weekend on the calendar each month from May through September. Then last week, I told the kids we were going camping this weekend – without making any of the plans yet.
When we went camping last fall (and pretty much ever other time in my life) we were at a campground where we drove the car into the camp site and parked it next to the picnic table and campfire. Car-camping, in other words. You may not know this, I certainly didn’t before Monday, but car-camping style campgrounds are very popular on summer holiday weekends. Very popular. So popular, in fact, that they can afford to jack their prices up from a reasonable $30 a night to $250 for the weekend or require a 3 night minimum. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend $250 on one night’s accommodations (that’s all the time our schedule allows) there’s going to be a bed involved.
Since I’m too cheap to pay those prices, I looked at state parks – all very reasonably priced and most of them seemed to have their campsites conveniently located along a river. I mentioned Jester and Minx, right? No way am I taking them someplace to sleep next to a river. They can’t swim yet – not that it would in any way stop them from plunging into the water. So that was out. But we did find one campground with no river where the campsites were far from the pond for a reasonable price for one night. Great! We booked it.
Our confirmation email came with a few little facts that might have been interesting to know before we booked. It’s black bear country. Oh and a 1.5 mile hike from the parking lot to the camp site. The final hit came from Mr. Weather-man. It’s supposed to be 37 degrees out tomorrow night with a possibility of wet snow in the higher elevations. Oh goody!
So, why am I telling you all this? Well, I’m quite nervous about the bears, although hubby tells me that they are more afraid of us than we are of them. And that they can run at 35 miles an hour, climb trees and they eat carrion, so playing dead isn’t a good idea. Just stand still and let them charge at you because if you run they think you are prey. Right. I’m only going to be able to stand my ground if I’m frozen in terror. But don’t worry, we’ve got bear spray (who knew this even existed?) and once they are 15 feet away!!!! you spray this uber-pepper spray at them and they should stop. Let’s not forget the rattlesnakes, bobcats and potential cougar.
I’m also rather intrigued to see how the whole hiking-whilst-carrying-all-our-stuff thing is going to go over. I hiked through mountain terrain once. A friend took us for “a little walk down the road” to see moose while camping one time that was an epic 3 hour tour full of sweat, blisters and dehydration. I’m a pretty sedentary lady these days. And Hubby used to be outdoorsy as a kid, but now he works for an insurance company and plays hours of online games with his friends. Not an athlete either. But we’ll be hiking with nice heavy packs of gear.
Lordy the gear! I bought yoga mats for the kids to sleep on (oooh the luxury!) with plans to bungee them to their backpacks, but Minx isn’t tall enough. The yoga mat is nearly as long as he is tall. Jester is allergic to wheat and Cabela’s doesn’t have a line of gluten-free freeze dried food. I checked. Nobody wants to carry a cooler the 1.5 miles and our new big-enough-for-the-whole-family tent weighs at least 25 pounds. Probably more.
So why haven’t I put the ky-bosch on this whole thing? Well, it’s only 24 hours and I figure I can live through most anything for 24 hours. We are about as likely to see a bear as we are to win powerball. They take boy scout troops to this place regularly so it can’t be too dangerous. And one way or another, it’ll be an adventure, that’s for sure. Who knows, maybe we’ll like it. Worst case, we hike back to the car and come home. And most importantly this is pretty far outside my comfort zone. I think it’s a good thing to get outside the comfort zone from time to time. We haven’t even gotten there yet and I’ve already started to imagine all kinds of plot ideas that could come from this. Of course, I’m taking notes, but not allowing myself to seriously entertain any new stories until I finish the ones I have on deck.
That’s what I’m up to this weekend, what about you? Got plans? Any of ‘em gonna through you out of your comfort zone? Do you ever visit the un-comfort zone? What has that been like for you?