June 12th, 2005

planet

camping

I just got back from a fabulous weekend of floating down the buffalo river in arkansas, and now I'm clean. ah. We camped three nights total, with the second night being on the river with just the stuff we had in our canoe. That's why I also had no tent the second night. yeah. the one I was sharing with two guys got wet in an unfortunate capsizing incident (two, actually) because that's just the luck we had, so rather than just have it drip on us all night we just spread out an air mattress that one guy had brought and all piled on and slept just fine. That's the thing about canoeing... by the end of a trip you're so tired you don't care where you sleep.

The weather was absolutely perfect for the entire first day. It was sunny and hot, but not so hot that you felt like death if you were out of the water. It was probably in the 80s. Swimming felt great. The only bad thing was that we were in the middle buffalo and the water was really low at a bunch of places. There was a lot of getting out and dragging the canoe, and we had a LOT of gear in the canoe which made it even worse.

But at least I didn't get sunburnt. After my memorial day weekend, I'd re-learned how to apply sunscreen so I was well covered. I wore a t-shirt and shorts while the sun was really high, then took the off later and spent the day in my swimsuit (and after capsize #2, I lost the shorts, so I didn't have a whole lot of choice). We ate sandwiches during the day and snacked on chips and stuff, than at night we made steaks over the fire.

The weather was perfect for the first half of the second day, and then it rained. And then it stormed. It was awful... it was coming off the front of my hat in sheets, and we couldn't see through the water very well because the surface was getting pounded on, so we hit every rock possible. It was warm still (thank God) but it sucked to get rained on so we just rowed our hearts out until we got to the pickup point about two hours early. And then it stopped raining. Of course. It stayed nice out the rest of the night... we made hot dogs and s'mores over the fire, smoked some cigars and drank more beer (the beer thing was sort of constant throughout the trip) and told jokes and re-told stories of dumb, funny stuff that happened during the trip. 11 of us went and we're all coworkers but we managed to avoid talking about work too much, which was nice.

Part of me got to thinking that I could just live out like this in the wilderness, running around barefoot through the trees like a crazy person, eating fish and bugs or something like that. I'm sure I'd get cold eventually. But I'd feel so free. It was great sleeping under the stars. I used to think I had a three-night camping limit but the more trips I go on the more I just love it and want to do some crazy five day trip. I get used to the filth and lack of normal resources. When I got home, the familiar smells were almost depressing. Every place has its smells, you know? The laundry room smell, the air conditioner smell, the lysol smell. I unpacked my clothes and had that river smell again, and wanted to go back.