Steam rose from my enamelware coffee mug in front of the cold steel head of my Husqvarna hatchet and the warm fire crackled in the background. I looked over to see Iza shaving ribbons of hard maple from our small stockpile of wood, sitting next to her a giggling baby and a sweaty, cold can of Canadian pilsner.
This is camping.
It is also the all important dry run before embarking on our cross-country travels, and it’s proving to be more valuable than we could have imagined. Turns out, you need more than two dry layers of synthetic fabric to protect from even the tiniest morsel of Mother Nature’s wrath. Also turns out that women chopping wood for a fire is decidedly more attractive than a bikini-clad slow-motion jog on the beach will ever be (sorry, Zac Efron).
I fear we might have sparked an obsession with fire that lay dormant deep inside Iza’s frontal cortex. Last time I saw that look in her eyes she was staring at that oft bare-chested werewolf from True Blood.
We made the trek with our well-seasoned outdoor couple friends, Rebecca and Austin, and their 1 year old son who probably has more camping experience than Iza or I combined. The five of us make for a well-rounded riverside campsite and we finally have enough people for a casual, relationship-testing game of Catan. Yes, nerds are people who camp, too!
All things considered (unexpected torrential downpour, horrible miscalculation of temperature, and insufficient variety of dips and salsas) it’s going pretty dang well. Our new Eureka tent is standing up to the leaky clouds and our spirits are high as we’ve built several successful fires (after smothering the first half dozen with our own damn firewood). I’ve even fashioned a perfectly functional hot dog roasting rack out of two parallel twigs over an open fire grate. One of my crowning achievements as a man.
I think we are both a little apprehensive about spending a majority of our time free from the clutches of wifi and heated toilet seats. This quick trip is probably revealing little about how we might hold up in harsher weather and longer durations without a comfortable bowel movement or a hot shower, but nonetheless we’re coming out of this weekend getaway excited as ever to test our city slicking roots out there in the great outdoors.
Our hands hurt, our stomachs ache, and our car smells like Paul Bunion’s ass, but we’ve never been more ready to hit the road and see how we come out of the other side. 8 more weeks of normalcy before diving head first into full-blown nomad life.
Can’t f-ing wait.
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