But, of course, you can't. Because...PEER PRESSURE. It still burns like a bitch. Even when you're a 37-year-old.
With the question of whether I'm going settled (embarrassingly quickly, I might add), I turned my attention to focusing on the "positives" of camping. Outside. In a tent. In the dark. And, luckily, the positives of camping are pretty much the same as the positives of any life event: it's all about the accessories. And the food. Long-time readers know of my obsession with my hiking boots (they are, in fact, my FAVORITE footwear of all time), and so being already properly shod, I've since been able to spend many happy hours perusing the camping/outdoor aisles of a number of fine local establishments for other supplies. And, can I just say? The mystifying array of camping accessories available even in this backwater town is completely and utterly overwhelming, even for a veteran accessory shopper like myself.
The mind boggles. Truly.
I ask you, what camper doesn't need THAT? An honest-to-God AUTHENTIC kerosene lantern-- and a bargain at a mere $5? I was all set to toss that baby in the cart and go all Laura Ingalls Wilder with myself around the campsite--but, ah, no. Alas! VETOED. Turns out? Kerosene is "messy". And perhaps not the best idea for campers likely to be--how to say--"less than sober".
My half-pint of disappointment was quickly forgotten, however, when I ran across this little number at Tar-ghay:
That's right, folks, a TINY [nine-cup] CAMP PERCOLATOR! How cute is that? Is that not what Jeremiah Johnson drinks coffee out of?? For real!
More importantly, do I drink coffee? Of course not. But that's really not the point, now is it? Yep, this little guy is now happily tucked into the chuck box. And, while we're on the subject...the chuck box. Or I should say, THE CHUCK BOX. For (the two of you) those of you not in the camping know, a quick Googling of "camping supplies" quickly leads even the dimmest, most inexperienced camping bulbs straight to...THE CHUCK BOX
, which is, at its most simply defined, essentially, is your outdoor kitchen supplies. Now, technically, your chuck box could consist of a cast iron skillet, a Swiss army knife, a tin cup, and a can of baked beans, right? But, seriously? Do I look like Fess Parker? (Okay, don't answer that...)
Of course (surprise!), our chuck box is one that is, decidedly, not what you'd call "primitive". Because, fortunately or unfortunately, I've had upwards of two weeks to stock my chuck and, well, I've sort of stocked and re-stocked and maybe over-stocked my chuck a tiny little bit. Let's just say I've kinda been banned from accessing the chuck box right at this particular moment. And that happened right after we had to get...Chuck Box Junior, original Chuck Box's happy smaller sidekick that holds all those important overflow items that can no longer fit in bulging original Chuck. Take, for instance, my tiny, portable spice rack:
You gotta have spices, right? What, a person's gonna brave the Wilderness without a decent Jamaican Jerk rub on hand for God's sake? I think not.
I'm not gonna lie, by this time, in case you haven't guessed, I was actually enjoying, if not camping, then camp accessorizing. Folks, I even bought myself a sleeping bag...a purple sleeping bag (and matching bubble wand).
I mean, it was on. SO on. And then...THEN!
Well, then there was Sasquatch. Yes, you read that right: Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti...you know, big, hairy, elusive and, above all, stinky. Around here, he's known as The Beast of Land Between the Lakes and--DOUBTER--he has his own Facebook page.
Here's what happened:
Someone I know very well knows someone else very well who actually, just last Saturday at dusk (and I'm so not kidding here), saw Sasquatch at the aforementioned Land Between the Lakes (otherwise known as "LBL") resort area. And LBL, it just so happens, is where my very campsite is located. And of all the 170,000 acres (and all the gin joints) of vast wilderness preserve that is LBL, it just so happens that Sasquatch was spotted not three miles from the spot at which I'll soon be lounging about choking down authentic percolator camp coffee and and grilling high-dollar Whole Foods steaks.
That's right people, we are in possession of the very GPS coordinates of the exact spot where, less than a week ago, Bigfoot actually stood.
Put THAT on your camping fork and roast it.
Now, before you ask me just exactly where this spot is located, let me just say I can't (or don't feel like I should) tell you. I will say that, like most LBL sightings, this one took place toward the north entrance a few miles from a campground on one of the trails. As I said before, it happened at dusk, and the sighter in question (a camper) was alone when it happened, having decided to get in a quick bike ride before dark. He pedaled out on a trail and had decided it was time to turn back. He parked his bike for a moment and was just taking in the scenery and watching night begin to fall when he heard something big...very big moving through the woods. The noise was so loud and so obviously something unnaturally huge that he experienced the noise quite a few beats before he saw anything. He had time to think...It has to be a bear because that's the only thing big enough to make that much commotion, right?; however, he was also aware that there had never been any bears to his knowledge at LBL. And it was then that it, or part of "it" emerged from the brush and stopped short. From his vantage point, he could only see it from what he estimated must have been its waist down as the top half was obscured by brush. There was perhaps sixty feet of distance between him and what looked to be a very hairy set of legs that had to belong to something by his reckoning somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 feet tall and standing upright. It seemed to him as though the thing had spotted him at about the same time it had become visible and he had the distinct impression that it was aware of and startled by his presence. In the split second that he and the beast became aware of the sight of each other, he took in the size, and hairy legs of the bottom half of the creature and realized he could make out distinct looking, albeit extra large, somewhat ape like knees and thighs despite the hairiness factor. But these were very VERY quick observations as his main, overriding reaction and gut instinct was to get the hell out of there. And this he did, quickly covering the distance to his bike, and riding as quickly as possible back to the campground. He had no camera or cell phone and, as he would later tell, would have been shaking far too badly to operate either well enough to get any kind of picture and, anyway, would not have taken the time to delay his hasty retreat a single second to do so.
While I've pulled your leg a few times in this here blog, I swear on the life of my sweet, spoiled (but nevertheless prized) little Westie bitch that the preceding account is the truth. And that the sighter in question is a grown man in a respectable profession that, to say the least, is not not given to the excitable. He is not speaking to the press about this, although as recently as 2007, the Paducah Sun ran a story ("Is Bigfoot in LBL?") on Bigfoot researchers who collected a plaster cast of a very large Sasquatch-esque footprint at LBL as well as spent a few days scouting the place for other evidence having heard enough accounts from that neck of the woods to warrant the trip. But, again, keep in mind, 170,000 largely uninhabited acres is a hell alot of ground to cover and would offer thousands of vast and varied remote options for a Sasquatch lair(s).
So, there you have it. I leave you now so that I may go forth and, like it or not, partake of the joys (?) of tent camping, the bounty of the chuck box, and the wonder of nature. And if you think me and my three com padres are gonna come this close to a bonafide Bigfoot sighting spot without hiking on over and and planting our silly tootsies on actual hallowed Sasquatch ground, you'd be sadly mistaken. Because, yes, oh HELL FREAKING YES we are nothing if not most definitely, positively, abso-freakin'-lutely crazy just like that. (And if you think the fact that this whole damn premise sounds just exactly like the opening 15 minutes of a horror movie plot has escaped me, think again.)
See you on the other side...