The two week immersion into the Pasayten Wilderness in Washington State did nothing to curb my appetite for exploration and adventure. The trip only made matters worse, leaving me hungry for more portions of delicious wilderness. I learned a lot on that NOLS (national outdoor leadership school) backpacking course and I was eager to put newly acquired skills to use. And off I went, but as much as I enjoy the company of my own thoughts I felt lonely at times. So, I dragged a few friends along for a couple of short backpacking trips. Later, it occurred to me that lugging a heavy pack for days, smelling like ass, and eating dehydrated peppers wasn’t everyone’s idea of a grand old time.
Looks like I wasn’t going to have my wilderness cake and eat it too. There was only one way to play the hand I was dealt and combine the company of my bros with being outdoors. I would have to embrace a particular kind of camping…..car camping. Oh yes, everyone loves car camping. Fans include bikers, hippies, birders, and beauty pageant winners. No heavy lifting, no need to emulate the diet of a goat, and best of all; no need to dig a hole after a sip of coffee. The bathroom is close and the car is even closer. So close, I often walk right smack into the car, usually after my 3rd specialty beer. It would be quite a challenge to backpack with a six pack of Boulder Beer’s “Hazed and Infused”.
After a strong night of partying in the woods, it was time to pass out on king-size air mattresses waiting inside tents that Andre The Giant must have loaned out. But, I still had the stars, the fresh mountain air, the eerie sounds of owls growing louder and nearer, and best of all; the company of my bros. My cynicism for car camping was replaced with a feeling of content, as I reflected on a terrific night of classic shenanigans. Same old jokes, same old impressions and comedy skits, for well over a decade now. There are trips where nights like this make the trip and trips where it’s all about summiting that peak, but I wouldn’t trade one for the other.