it seemed like a good idea at the time…

Camping with friends seemed like a good idea at the time.

Christian and I are what you would call “mediocre outdoorsy.” We like to hike and frolic outside on a nice day, but we don’t live for it. Spending time indoors being lazy has just as much appeal. I do love a good nap.

About 10 years ago we planned a camping trip with some couple friends of ours at Enchanted Rock, a popular destination with tons of available hiking and exploring and outdoor space for two couples who didn’t have kids and liked to drink a lot.

Only Enchanted Rock walk-in camp sites book up approximately 5 lifetimes in advance.

So my husband, always with an ill-researched backup plan, booked one of their “primitive campsites.”

“So what does that mean, exactly?” I asked.

“No big deal,” he answered. It’s just a little bit farther of a hike.”

“Like how ‘little bit farther?'”

“Eh…like two miles.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

Now I am not a sedentary person (note I’m typing this on my couch with a blanket and my coffee and have no plans to move for the reminder of the day, but that is neither here nor there). I can run long distances. I can definitely walk two miles. But do I want to walk two miles, carrying a shitton of camping gear?

No I do not.

Because we all know a good wife never lets anything go, I occasionally brought up the impending Death March as the trip grew closer.

And that’s when he started to backpedal.

First it was, “Oh, it’s not really two miles. More like a mile and a half.”

And then the next time it was, “Meh, I’m pretty sure it’s more like a mile. Not too bad. It’ll be fine.”

So maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad. But that was ten years ago, and I can tell you that ten years wiser Leigh Ann has learned to Google the hell out of anything that comes out of her husband’s mouth. If I had done that in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to endure such suffering. But ten years younger Leigh Ann was more trusting and also not the Googling master that she is now.

It’ll be fine, he said.

So one mid-October day, we drove out to Enchanted Rock with our friends Reba and Troy. We had everything we needed: camping stove, sleeping bags, 6-man tent, board games, groceries, and a cooler full of Lone Star. A piddly one mile hike wasn’t going to dampen our spirits.

And when we pulled into the parking lot, there it was: a wooden sign with etched words that said it all.

PRIMITIVE CAMPING
2 MILES

There was no going back. We loaded ourselves up with our duffel bags, sleeping bags, and grocery bags. Troy hefted the cooler full of beer up onto his shoulder, and we headed off in search of our campsite.

October in Texas is still hot, and those two miles were so, so long.

To give an example of the kind of crazy people who book primitive camping sites, everyone we passed along the trail was carrying the following:

  • a backpack – most likely a legit hiking version with 897 pockets for knives and ropes and shit
  • a tiny tent – shoved perfectly in the space between their back and the backpack
  • absolutely nothing else.

I still carry the shame from the looks of pity and general “WTF are you doing?” on their faces. It’s my life’s burden.

“You’re doing it wrong!” one guy said as he passed, taking in our grocery bags of eggs and meat and circus animal cookies (because one never goes camping with out circus animal cookies). Glamping wasn’t a thing back then, but that’s exactly what it looked like we were prepared to do.

If this had happened today, he’d have snapped a photo and camping-shame us all over the Internet.

What seemed like 5 hours later, we reached our destination. We were exhausted, and Troy’s ear was bleeding from an unfortunate cooler injury. His main goal the next 24 hours was to drink as much Lone Star as possible so he wouldn’t have to carry it back.

But our site was the perfect picture of Texas wilderness: wildflowers, cacti, cedar trees, and tall grassy stuff that probably has a name, but I’m not a botanist. Where we were used to designated sleeping spots and a metal-ringed fire pit, we found a flattish space to sleep and a reminder that no fires were allowed in primitive spots. No bathrooms either, unless you count the outhouse that was about a quarter mile away, which is way too far to walk in the pitch dark after you’ve had 3 beers and really have to pee.

All in all, we had a great time. We hiked, we explored, we bonded, and we slept like babies that night, if babies slept on beds of rocks and sticks in a 6-man tent after a night of drinking and laughter around a battery-powered lantern because remember! No fires!

But we made it, and best of all we made memories. Reba and Troy remain some of our closest friends to this day. We’ve vacationed together, our kids have grown up together, and believe it or not, we still camp together.

We just make sure we don’t have to walk two miles to do it.

IMG_0782

This is what camping looks like for us now.
This is what camping looks like for us now.

 

Now go visit these other funny and amazing bloggers and read what they thought was a good idea at the time!

Smacksy

Good Day Regular People

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

The Mama Bird Diaries

 

Midlife Mixtape

When Did I Get Like This?

Arnebya

Up Popped A Fox

The Flying Chalupa

Suburban Scrawl

Elizabeth McGuire

Two Cannoli

 

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25 Comments

  1. It still seems like it was a good idea at the time. And ten years ago Leigh Ann had NO idea how much she was about to learn in the next decade of life.

    Cute cute story, lady. I loved it.

  2. You’re a much better woman than I. I would have loudly declared, “See you guys tomorrow! I’ll be at the hotel down the street!” 🙂

  3. We went to the Boundary Waters once so I had a point of reference for the need to pack lightly and the cooler of beer did me in! HA HA HA HA!

  4. Oh. Oh, my. I imagine every conversation going, “Sure, we can do that. Absolutely” while simultaneously pulling up whatever the hell it is he just suggested. Just keep nodding.

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  6. Lol.
    Truly. Even Glamping doesn’t appeal to me. We went to see The Jungle Book over the weekend and I kept leaning over to John saying…’ I can’t pay attention to this movie because Mowgali is so dirty. Cant he go in the stream? ‘

    Listen girl…more power to you. Primitive camping is for.. well not me.

    People ask why John and married…I answer ‘our collective idea of roughing it is 2 stars. ”

  7. Hahaha! Great memories. My favorite dialogue of the trip.

    Christian – concerned as I’m downing the Lonestars, “Troy, drink some water, man. I don’t want you to get dehydrated!l
    Troy – “F#*!& you, buddy… Drink this beer. I’m not carrying a full cooler all the way back to the truck!”

    Not ashamed.

  8. OMG, that was too funny. Camping-shame you! I can totally picture this.

    I’m pretty sure we have all become Google-masters on behalf of our husbands.

    Loved this!

  9. Ha! So classic. I have to say, one of my favorite parts of this story was the part when you refer to yourself in third person. I was cracking up! I also love the visual of the other, more professional campers giving you that WTF? look as you hoofed it with a whole cooler of beer.
    xo

  10. Yeah… you’re a better wife than me… oh wait. LOL!

    Love the pic of the kids in the tent. Glad y’all made it out alive. ha!

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