If we’re friends on Facebook (and I totally hope we are) or if you read last week’s blog, you already know I’ve been on vacay, exploring the wilds of the most excellent Smokies.
So I’ve got a story to tell you. (Somehow you knew that, didn’t you?)
Spouse and I have been enjoying the puddin’ out of our grandkids’ visit and promised them (well, Mimi did; Pop-Pop smartly kept his mouth shut because he’s NOT a rustic kind of guy) an overnight camping adventure on the bit of mountain we’ve been clearing off for just such a memory-making occasion. They’ve never tent-camped in the great outdoors before, so I tried to trouble-shoot ahead of time and check off all the boxes:
- Waterproof ground-covers to go beneath both tents in case of rain (which is almost a daily given up here)
- Propane canisters and new wicks for lanterns
- Fire pit assembled and dry firewood stacked
- Marshmallows, grahams, and chocolate bars (“You’re killin’ me, Smalls”) – who knows what AWESOME movie that quote’s from?
- Mice droppings scraped off older-than-Methuselah sleeping bags; washed and re-rolled
- Halfway functional cot for oldest person out there (moi!); inflatable mattresses for everybody else
- Porta-potty for those of the female persuasion during the wee hours (it had to be a Mimi who coined that phrase); trees for boys
- Brand new storage shed for porta-potty privacy and to store camping equipment (and in case of a surprise downpour)
Check, check, check. Yup, got it all. Efficiency R Me.
Oops. Except I forgot one crucial thing.
Them durn mountain party-crashers.
We waited all week for two consecutive rain-less days so we’d not have to pitch the tents atop squishy mountain mud (and let me tell you, mountain mud has an alarming personality of its own – it’s like aggressive, living, black alien sludge demons that attack and refuse to loosen their grip). Then we finally struck gold. The forecast was in our favor for Wed and Thursday nights. So I pumped up the grands for Thursday (that wasn’t hard – they were already primed) and tried to rustle up some personal enthusiasm for sleeping outside in the shivery 55 degree summer night at 5,000 feet elevation when my nice warm inside bed was within slingshot range. (And make no mistake: this dyed-in-the-seersucker Florida gal has been freezing since she got up here. In June. When it’s 95 back home.)
Oh the cockamamie things we do for our littles.
So late Wed night after watching a movie, a peculiar noise outside the screened porch caught our attention. It was this fine furry fellow seeking a midnight snack. He was merely an adolescent (somewhere between cub scouts and fully grown) and actually quite polite. He climbed up on the porch handrails, reaching high to upend the bird feeder into his mouth, then carefully set it down on the ground completely intact. Mmm. Better’n popcorn.
He must’ve heard the movie music and hoped there’d be free refills at the concession stand.
When Spouse threw open the porch door to snap a few photos, Lil’ Bar (anyone recognize that reference? Hey, I’ll give a FREE Debora Coty book of your choice to the first one who responds below with what book that name is from!) took off down the hill and all we got were some fuzzy pictures of his furry rump waddling into the darkness.
Then the million dollar question arose: Who thinks it’s a good idea to intentionally place yourself outside with Lil’ Bar and his buds (or heaven forbid, his mega mama) with only a flimsy tent flap in-between when he comes back for his birdseed refill tomorrow night?
Um … my hand was NOT up. Nor was anybody else’s. Our camping party crashed and burned before it even got started.
So to the kids’ dramatic disappointment (they thought it would be great fun to hug a real Pooh Bear), we postponed the long anticipated camping trip until we can get some Bear Spray. I’m not really sure what that is exactly, but seasoned camping-types tell us it’s a must-have for mountain backpackers. Evidently it’s like mace for bears, but I personally don’t relish the idea of a bear getting close enough to squirt burny-stuff in his angry, shocked, tooth-barring face.
I just don’t hop that fast when zipped into a sleeping bag.
Say, reckon if I had the boys pee on the trees all around the campsite it’d act as a bear repellent force field? (Someone told me that works to fend raccoons off growing pineapples but I haven’t convinced any volunteers to test it yet.)
Got any good camping stories of your own you’d care to share? I guarantee our terrific community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) would love to hear them.