Monday, August 11, 2014

Unsleeping Bag

When you really think about it, our national obsession with camping sounds pretty stupid.  Leaving our perfectly comfortable homes, packing up half of it to sleep outside in utter discomfort among the bear infested forests.   Wait.  Why do we do this again?  Oh yeah, because this is fun.

That's why we headed up to 10,000 feet elevation.  Because apparently, 7,000 feet sleeping in your own bed isn't fun enough.  

At the beginning of the trip, it does seem fun. Kind of.  For a few brief seconds, after you've packed the car full, gone through the checklist in your mind a few hundred times and assured yourself, yes, I have packed enough alcohol to keep me warm even if I forgot my wool socks and hat.  Which is right before you get there and have to set every tent, tarp and sleeping bags at warp speed racing the impending rain.  Cause there is always impending rain.  And it's a much worse threat than the bears.  After all, getting eaten by a bear would just put you out of your misery.

After camp setup then there's making the dinner, cleaning up after it and starting the bundling process when the sun goes down and the marshmallows make their gooey, messy debut insuring you won't be able to find where the hell you packed the wet wipes.   Then, it'll be time to head to your tent to bed down for the night in your sleeping bag.  Oh sure, it seemed warmed and cozy when you packed it up sweating in 80 degree weather.  But now that it's 40 outside, it seems more like a wet blanket.

That's when you realize that what seemed like a flat place to put the tent is not in fact flat.

And that you can't sleep in the fetal position all night to keep yourself warm without cramping up.

And that rolling over in a sleeping bag while trying to keep your wool hat and socks on while trying not to be strangled by your 5 layers of clothes ending in a hoodie without getting intricately twisted like a long strand of cold, black licorice is impossible.  IMPOSSIBLE I SAID!

So that whole delusion of sleeping in the cool mountain air under the stars, with the lullaby of the mountain stream?  It's complete bullshit. 

Sleeping bag?  Check.
5 layers of clothes?  Check.
Wool hat? Check.
Eye bags from not sleeping?  Check.
So the next morning, when Craig rolled over and asked, "How'd you sleep?" 
My response was, "I haven't yet."  

And this is why I call it them unsleeping bags.


joeh said...

I know there is something to it because so many people love to camp...just not for me. I've taken trips on small sail boats which is kind of like camping, but still way more comfortable. I think I'll let that be my camping experience.

Travelin' GRITS said...

Have you been talking to my husband? Cause I could almost swear he wrote this post! After our 4 years assigned to Ft Hood, Texas, and him spending countless nights "in the field" in the bitter cold Texas freezing rain and wind, he swore he would never "sleep" outside ever again! And I'm happy to report that we haven't, at least not in the camping/field training exercise sort of way.
I hope you were able to get some much needed rest when you got home!

Joy Page Manuel said...

I hate camping. Need I say more? (Sorry to hear you had a crappy time) :-(

Sine said...

Hahaha, Marie, you nailed it again. Whenever people tell me "it'll be fun!" I get suspicious. It's really only ever fun after you're back home, have taken the shower, and sat down to write about it. (Then again, I talked myself into climbing Kili. For a whole week. Who am I to talk...)

Muriel Jacques said...

Ah, the joy of sleeping in a tent...It always take me a few nights to get used to it (because I am so tired that I could sleep anywhere after a few nights)...That says, who goes camping to get some sleep?


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