(un)domesticated goddess-ish is about the life of a 20 something single city girl gone *gulp* soon-to-be-wed mountain step-mom.
Here's my camping history: one time when I was 10, my stepdad suggested he, my mom and I camp in our backyard. Working toilets were within reach and the only fire we needed was our grill - I could do this. My mom was another story. In the middle of a scary story, she politely excused herself to "use the bathroom".
She never came back.
Twenty something years later, jumping right into backpacking seemed like the logical next step. Thinking about my mom doing it makes me snicker since she's about the same size and weight as my backpack. But this story isn't about her. It's about me. Because it's always about me. #OnlyChildSyndrome
Dave suggested a two or three night backpacking trip in northern Colorado over the fourth of July. "It's a long weekend, let's just do three!", said the totally inexperienced, doe-eyed half. And so we're clear, I had no idea I'd be pooping under a rock at this point.
We obviously had to make an REI run because I/we/everyone always needs more gear - freeze-dried food, a couples sleeping bag (yep, that's a thing), a backpack. Just a few basics to make the trip a little more comfy. I won't bore you with the packing process, but I was about as useful as a wet Kleenex. I did learn, though, that packing a pack is an art. And no matter how much weight your partner volunteers to take on, it still feels like a car parallel parked on your back.
I never thought I'd see the day when I'd have wake up as early as when I played soccer, but there we were rocking a 4am wakeup call. Homemade burritos and coffee in tow, we loaded the truck and headed out. I wouldn't say waking up that early put me in a BAD mood, but I was pretty useless. Until I had to navigate. Dave prepped me the night before by showing me maps of the route to the trailhead because at a certain point, we'd lose cell service and he'd need my help staying on course. Fantastic. I nodded meagerly and promised him I totally got it. I didn't totally get it.
An expert car napper, I managed to hold a conversation with my sweet Dave for about 20 minutes into the 4 hour drive. He woke me up when he needed me to navigate and I white knuckled the maps until he was sure we arrived at the trailhead. What lay ahead? An eight mile approach, creek crossings, and an unpredictable quantity of wild animals with hooves and antlers.
Committed to proving my strength and toughness, I barely winced as I strapped into my 40lb backpack, climbed over and around tree fall every 15 yards and walked 20 feet across a log six feet above a raging creek while balancing the aforementioned backpack. But about six miles in, and my mountain man by my side, we still couldn't pinpoint ourselves on the map. Actually let me rephrase, we had no idea where we were on the map. He said, "I think we're somewhere around here" some 10 times before I started to passively lose my cool. But damnit, we were gonna get to that lake if that trail - or an unidentified wild beast - killed us.
Eight miles, two damp socks, a couple of blisters and a bruised ego later, we arrived at a junction. Dave was visibly excited. I was cautiously optimistic. "We're here!" he said. "Fuck", I responded. 'Here' meant we had four miles left. I had sweat marks in places I didn't know could produce sweat, felt like I was carrying a full-grown elephant and the mosquitos were having a field day.
But I was not going to cry, god damnit.
Dave did his best to keep me in good spirits, but all I could muster the final four miles were either inaudible grunts and expletive grunts. Finally, he claimed he saw water. I questioned his judgement. Primarily because if what he said was true, I was concerned I'd break into a sprint and as a result, collapse. But it was true, after 12 farking miles, four more than originally promised, we made it.
I was *this* close to diving head first into the lake, but I didn't want river water sitting on me for three days. Looking back, I was already swimming in my own sweat, so what was another layer?
Now, the three day camping experience itself? That's another story all together.