Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Camping Made Easy

Do you know how????

Number One: Where to camp?

Though it can be exotic and fun, most of us are not quite sure about the whole "camping" idea.

Say you drive to a forest camp ground. OK so far, but what then?

You may expect to find an expanse of clean pavement and modern facilities, but few so-called camp grounds are this well equipped, even in today's world, and expect you to put your tent somewhere in the dirt.

Try to adjust by slowly easing off the pavement. Allow plenty of time to avoid vertigo or panic episodes. Eventually you will overcome your revulsion.

Now once you are past the "yuck" factor and are ready to put up your tent on dirt, things get easier. (True!)

One step that "pros" use is locating a "Park Ranger", a kind of hired help. These are the ones wearing uniforms. Your "Park Ranger" will gladly offer you a selection of camp sites for perusal. Take your time and don't be shy about asking for an upgrade. Rangers are there to serve you.

Once you have your site you are ready to start camping, like in olden times.

What to look out for.

Forest water is not house-broken. It can be unreliable. Rain even in faraway mountains can make the water near you rise up and do strange things. Stay well back from it. Do not touch anything but bottled water.

Dead things may be present. Like trees and stuff. They are also known to fall on people, especially while changing clothes in their tents, for some reason. If you smell a bad thing, it may also be dead. If you have had a pet, you probably know about this. So if you find a dead thing, even a bush, ask your Ranger to tend to it immediately.

Wandering hungry animals are a sign that lazy camp ground staff did not feed them properly. Well-fed animals won't come and bother you. Your Ranger can verify that all animals will be back in their cages by nightfall.

Putting up your tent.

Some use the location of the latrine as a factor in siting a tent. Since this is not a topic we like to think about, we will avoid it.

Preferably you will be in a nice meadow with soft grass. If the grass is too high you have a problem so trample it flat, then start a big fire.

The fire will be cheery and show which way the wind is blowing because things "down wind" will start burning from the sparks. Put your tent on the other side.

Ideally you should have practiced putting up your tent at home, but this is not practical in most apartments, so leave yourself plenty of time. Pound those big nail things into the ground and then put the rod things inside the special things sewn into the tent and pretty soon you are done. It couldn't be easier, really.

Finally, just to be safe in case some of the animals forgot to go back in their cages, start another fire, but far away from your tent. This is where you will cook to "throw them off the scent". (Animals are dumb.)

Cooking is easier than at home because camping food comes in colorful pouches. After supper throw a rope over a tree and "hang" your food and dirty dishes to keep other campers from being tempted.

Relax and enjoy the wilderness.

It's probably getting dark by now, so put on your gortecks camping sweater and break out the booze.

Ingredients for Camping Drinks:

  • Alcohol - Tequila, Vodka, or Gin
  • Juice - Lime Juice, Orange Juice, Coca-Cola, or Kool-Aid
  • Syrup - Maple Syrup is traditional for campers, but Karo or Mrs. Butterworth's is OK, or some Jam
  • Salt - (In case you sweated too much while getting your tent to work.)

Combine the ingredients and drink.

Traditionally, camping drinks are stirred with a stick of jerky. If this does not soften the jerky enough so you can eat it, try relieving the boredom by using it to stage sword fights. This is handy because if the alcohol and altitude go to your head, it is much harder to kill or maim any of your friends with jerky sticks than real swords (speaking from experience).

When the booze runs out it's time for bed. Luckily you drove here, so you can crawl into the back of your SUV, roll out your sleeping bag, and have a cozy night safe from all the kooks out there in the woods. Keep a loaded gun under your pillow, of course.