She lived her life the classic way: sleeping in a bed, with a solid roof over her head, eating food from a legitimate kitchen and washing dishes in a Whirlpool dishwasher. She did laundry with a washer and dryer, took showers with fancy smelling body wash in a stall, used the bathroom in a toilet, and knew nothing about starting a fire except that one rumor that if you rub sticks together, it should spark, even though she thought that sounded like a bunch of bull.
Well, she went camping.
Kind of against her will, but mostly due to lots of guilt induced by her camp-happy boyfriend–this time.
She’d gone camping earlier this year in the beautiful, lush Santa Cruz mountains with her boyfriend and found it surprisingly relaxing, very romantic and definitely pleasurable–much to her shock, of course.
That camping trip made her kinda-sorta like camping. She liked that she could pee in a toilet, take a shower (albeit it a short, very cold one), and the fact that the ranger specifically said there were no bears around, only frisky little raccoons. She didn’t mind frisky raccoons. She didn’t mind the mosquito-eaters flying around in the bathroom stall with her (well, okay, she minded a little).
So she was kind of expecting something like what she’d experienced earlier this year, minus the romance, of course, due to the fact that she and her boyfriend were camping with company. But that was okay. She could forgo a little romance for some good company with mutual friends in an equally-beautiful camp spot.
Maybe she and her boyfriend could sneak off down by the mentioned-creek and share a little kiss or sweet-nothing. Maybe they could hold hands by the campfire. Feed each other salmon his friend’s had purchased for this occasion. She could try and make it romantic, nonetheless.
Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.
Maybe… or not.
She didn’t realize how far away it was–about an hour away from home, and 30 minutes on a windy, dirt road leading to absolute desolation. She didn’t realize they’d get there at 8pm–when it was dark–and would have to set up a tent (only her second time setting one up, mind you) in darkness… on a slope… on top of an ant-hill… by the “creek” which said-friends said would be “a great place to take a dump.”
After setting up her “home” for the night, she began to mingle with her friends when the lead-planner asked her and her boyfriend, “did you bring ice?” To which they responded, “no. You don’t have ice?” To which lead-planner-friend replied, “no.”
Pardon the novice camper here, but don’t you need ice for important things? Like keeping food cold? Like that salmon she was promised but now scared to eat due to the lack of proper icing?
While trying to get past the ice-issue, she ate away her problems in Chewy granola bars, which she didn’t realize at the time would consist of her dinner and following-morning’s breakfast because food would never be made.
And then they showed up: two dudes, seemingly harmless, from a neighboring camp. Her friends mingled with them, deeming them “cool”, to which the dudes invited the rest of their gang over to her camp-party.
Two neighbor dudes morphed into what she could only call “hillbilly bro’s”–a whopping 10 or so of them–infiltrating her camp with a bunch of drunken bro-bullshit.
“Haay bro”, “suuuup bro”, “what’s goin’ down, braaah” were the catch-phrases for the night, accompanied by their arriving gifts of illegal substances, their best pick-up-lines for the other girls, and rifles.
She didn’t really feel comfortable with a bunch of strangers shooting guns and partaking in illegal activities in the middle of nowhere, but she didn’t really have a choice. So she fervently watched the fire, hoping that maybe the smoke-signals would be the lifesaver should she be accidentally shot by some hillbilly on drugs.
Instead, she spent the night trying to ward off creepy strangers with hungry eyes of hunters, lamely attempting to talk to her about her tattoos; eating granola bars; and praying she and her boyfriend wouldn’t die. They didn’t eat a romantic salmon dinner, they didn’t hold hands by the fire, and they didn’t sneak off to the “creek” (which was more like if you left your hose on for a few hours) to make out. They both sat, hair standing on end, waiting for the hillbillies to leave and hunt some mountain lion or something.
Oh yeah, did she mention that people kept taunting her about bears and mountain lions? They did.
She remembered somewhere that mountain lions and bears were afraid of loud noises, but were also attracted to human urine. Unfortunately, she happened to be an awful wilderness-pee-er, and her first attempt of peeing in the wild resulted of it all trickling down her leg. Now mountain lions would be after her right calf, for it smelled like her own pee and she was really upset because she liked the tattoo on her calf and it would obviously be devoured by a hungry mountain lion, attracted to her pee.
So after battling creepy rednecks for the night, swatting off copious amounts of mosquitoes and eating her weight in oatmeal raisin granola bars, she peed in her empty Gatorade bottle one last time and turned in for the night, freezing her ass off in the tiny tent in the darkness by the so-called “creek” and listened to the loud ass hicks progressively become drunker and drunker before falling asleep in an awkward position, alone and cold, for at least an hour.
She wished she had some comfort from home to help her sleep better and regain her sanity… perhaps some cookies, or some of this lemon & white chocolate chex chow she could munch on while rocking back and forth in the fetal position, chanting “it’s warm and I’m on a beach away from hicks”, she finally fell asleep again. She awoke in the morning with her makeup smeared all over her face, looking much like a tired raccoon, and began packing her crap as quickly as possible to hopefully bounce within the hour.
After begging her boyfriend to please please go NOW, followed by that good guilt trip girls are capable of, they finally left, spending 40 minutes on that annoying dirt road before ending up back into civilization and arriving, in time, to get the sandwiches they get every Saturday.
And then they napped in a bed, away from mosquitoes or drugged-up rednecks with guns. It was wonderful.
Because of this long and grueling experience, she vowed she’d never camp this year again…and she’d only camp in state parks, where restrooms were available, and in places where bears were more prevalent, to perhaps take care of the scary hillbilly problem should they invade her campsite ever again.
And then she came home and made this treat she’d wished she’d had while camping, but was glad she had now, at home.
Plus, it tastes better when you’re not rocking back and forth chanting…. just sayin’.
Lemon & White Chocolate Chex Chow *adapted from the Chex Mix website’s Lemon Buddies recipe
9 cups rice chex cereal
1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
Zest of one lemon
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar
1. In a large bowl, measure out cereal. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, microwave white chips, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice for one minute, stirring after the minute’s up. Microwave again for an additional 30-45 seconds and stir, until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture over the cereal and stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Pour mixture into a 2-gallon-size ziploc bag; add two cups of the powdered sugar. Seal the bag and toss to coat completely. Some of the bottom of the bag will likely be wet still, so add your last cup of powdered sugar to coat the bottom. Spread the mixture out onto foil (I lined my counter with it) and let harden and dry, about 30 minutes. If needed, sprinkle additional pieces with more powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.
I think everyone, novice campers with genetic camping mutations or not, should make this. It’s seriously amazing… but I can’t guarantee the hillbilly bros won’t think so, either.
Glad to be home!