Setting Up Camp

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Being an active outdoorsman, Jamie furnished myself and Autumn with a tent to sleep in. Neither of us owned one. There was barely enough room on a raised, dirt section at the back of our campsite to hold two tents. They chose to place them facing each other opening to opening. I already forgot what Jamie and Autumn’s reasoning was behind that. By the time Autumn and I showed up Jamie had already assembled his dome shaped dwelling. It took a half hour of Autumn fumbling around with aluminum support poles while I expertly bungled placing them through loops in the tent before Jamie stepped in to assist. Eventually we raised our larger domed light green shelter correctly.

Next on the list of camping debacles was inflating Autumn’s queen sized mattress. The mattress did not come packed with a battery operated blower for quick inflation. It didn’t cross either one of our minds to buy one before we left the East Bay. Someone brought a squeaky foot pump that didn’t fit the rubber valve on that mattress properly. If your hand slipped from that valve, a burst of air rushed out of the mattress and the foot pump operator got to start over again. One of us had to hold the valve snug to the foot pump for an air-tight seal while another person stepped up and down like a human jackhammer on the nearly useless pump. Barely a puff was produced each time the pump was compressed. The squeaking became more annoying and much louder with every foot stomp. Quickly tiring from rapid leg lifts the three of us took turns air pump smashing, holding the valve, or just standing there watching. How many camping idiots does it take to fill up an inflatable mattress? I say the answer is three.

Unloading crap from the car was gratifying. As I was hauling junk out, Jamie instructed me to place all foodstuffs into two large steel boxes located next to a nearby picnic table. They looked like Army footlockers with sturdy chains and a spring loaded clasp for securing the lid. When I asked him why, he said that there were bears around. Bears sense of smell is so acute that they can sniff out packaged food inside locked cars with all the windows rolled up. Frequently they will smash through car windows like they weren’t there and rummage through the inside for grub. Bears leave a wake of destruction in their path. So, everything had to be secured in the bear boxes. Jamie also mentioned to leave soap and even our tubes of toothpaste in the steel lockers. Anything scented might be picked up by a bear’s nose and they’ll come looking for it. I decided not to bring any snacks into the tent that night. Just to be extra safe.

Jamie was obviously ready for adventures. His car’s roof rack included a kayak and a mountainbike. In his back seat there was an electric refrigerator powered by his car’s cigarette lighter. Autumn discussed hiking while Jamie expressed interest in rock climbing. There were remote lakes to visit. I felt like a third wheel on this trip and couldn’t think of anything in particular that I’d like to do except get some R&R from my job. I was looking forward to those slow moments sitting around a raging campfire at night telling each other stories and enjoying Autumn’s company.

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~ by factorypeasant on February 19, 2007.

One Response to “Setting Up Camp”

  1. “His car’s roof rack included a kayak…” That’s why I like the inflatable kayaks more. They are easy to care and don’t require much space. It’s worth pumping… 🙂

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