Tuesday, October 13, 2009

camping with Mike

When I go camping, all I can think about is "I wanna see a bear." I guess it's because I've never seen a bear in the wild. So I go as deep into the mountains I can get. I set up my camp on the outside of campgrounds, away from people. I cook some hot dogs and burgers (bear favorites). Then I wait. I wait all evening, and nothing. But then, at night, after the fire has gone out, and I am alone, I get terrified that I might actually see a bear. I sit awake in my flimsy tent, clutching my cheap, plastic flashlight for protection. Every noise I hear all night long is a bear or a cougar waiting to kill me.

The truth is I want to see a bear while I'm driving. If I saw a bear on the road, I could stop and take a picture or two. If he came at me, I could just drive away. If I ever saw a bear or a cougar at my campsite, I'd shit my pants and scream like a three-year-old screams at her birthday clown. I'd never go into the woods again.

Whenever I hear a story about someone being eaten by a cougar, or getting lost and dying in the woods, I say, "That'll never happen to me." But the truth is I'm exactly the kind of moron that it will happen to. I go camping under the most under-prepared and dangerous circumstances. I remember my ipod, and forget a lighter or matches to light a fire. I throw a flashlight in the trunk, and never bother to check the batteries. I bring a disposable razor, but no pocketknife. I remember my favorite pillow, but not my sleeping bag and blankets.

When I go hiking it's even worse. I ignore all safety precautions:
1. Always hike in a group--all alone, check;
2. Always carry your food in a sealed container--I hope they don't mean this Big Mac I brought in my backpack, check;

3. Carry a map at all times--I'm a man. I don't need a map. I just follow the trail, check;

4. Always let someone know where you are and how long you'll be gone--called in sick for work to start my camping weekend two days early, and I told my girlfriend I'm spending the weekend with my parents, check.

At least I don't have to worry about wild animals when I'm hiking. I never worry about being attacked by a wild animal because I always carry a stick with me. Cougars are afraid of sticks. Plus I have a keen sense of hearing, and I can hear cougars sneaking up on me. Because if they see my stick, they know their only chance is to sneak up on me. So I walk really quietly, and keep the volume on my ipod really low, well, kind of low. It depends on what music I'm listening to at the time. Bears are even easier. All you have to do is run downhill. Bears can't run as fast downhill as they can uphill. So if a bear attacks you, just run downhill. He'll give up and go eat something else. The people who get eaten on trails are always found without a stick, and facing uphill. They're stupid.

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