The idea had been thrown around a bunch. A couple of my men’s league hockey friends and I had talked about going camping together many times after a few beers during 4th period (beers in the lot after a men’s league hockey game). This weekend, four of us finally had some free time, so we loaded up our gear, food and my two dogs and headed out to the mountains to watch the Perseid meteor shower, hike, drink beers and enjoy nature.
If you’ve never camped, you’re missing out. Maybe you’re afraid of the dark, hate fun or you’re a Nancy boy (or girl). I’m always up for some fun coupled with beer, friends, food and the green earth. Even the ride out was breathtaking; driving through the backroads, the hills and valleys, the farmland. Honestly, it was hard not pulling over to check out some of the vantages.
We got to the camp pretty late. Between the dark, thunder and lightning, and how dank the campsite was, it took a few minutes longer than usual to get everything set up. Once assembled, the stereo was pumping bluegrass, some Dead and Wilco, beers were cracked open and attention turned to the sky. Fortunately, the storm had passed through and the meteor shower was in full effect.
There are spectrums of participation with anything you do, from the weekend warrior to the Bear Grylls style campers. This campsite was pretty Spartan as far as they go, which keeps the RVs and weekend warriors away. It had a pump for water, no showers and a barebones shitter. Could be better, could be worse. I could have slept on a bed of concrete from the long day/beers/dogs cuddled up on me. Admittedly, it had been awhile since I’ve spent a night in the woods, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad.
We all got up pretty early, drank coffee, ate some sausage and bacon and were out in the woods for a 9-mile hike. I was pretty excited for the hike, as it’s one of my favorite things. Once inside the forest, we were surrounded by wildflowers and trees as far as the eye could see. Down the trail, some beavers decided this is where they wanted to dam up the stream, which was pretty cool. Native brook trout swam cautiously as Tank and Daisy dodged in and out of the stream. It was serene; there’s something about being in the forest, away from people, away from work, and cell phone reception that really makes me appreciate nature. It’s innate, in my opinion, to feel a kindred spirit with the earth. At the conclusion of the hike, we brought a couple of beers to enjoy the highest elevation in the state and it was truly a site to behold.
Afterwards, we made our way back to camp. I made a chicken and veggie smorgasbord cooked in bacon grease to negate any positive health effects from the exercise, and we drank and ate until bedtime. I even got up early to watch the sun rise over the hills and do a few laps around the camp, mostly because my puppy decided to be wake up early.
Like anything, it ended too quickly. The scaries swept the camp, as my buddy is a teacher and starts school soon. We all lamented how little time we have to enjoy the little things but how lucky we were to be able to go out together and have a guys’ weekend. I was by far the biggest newbie, although I think the guys were happy to not have to worry about cooking as that is my main contribution. There were luckily very few hiccups, besides my car deciding that it needed a new battery when we were at least 30 minutes from a working phone. After I mourned the $150 I didn’t plan on spending on a new battery (and some windshield wipers since I always forget I need them), we were on our way home.
I cannot recommend enough taking a weekend, preferably a long one, to spend some time and get back in touch with nature. I feel like we all became closer friends as a result of the trip. As we get older, it’s harder to get out and spend time with friends. Sharing experiences is part of the human condition, and there were definitely many. It felt great to get out of town and away from technology, to enjoy nature and have some time without distraction..