I would totally be one of those capable, outdoorsy women if it wasn’t for the mosquitoes.

This occurred to me over the weekend when we were hiking into a lake in the Mt. Washington Wilderness Area. The sturdy, confident strides I am certain I would have been taking had transformed into a sort of herky-jerky crab scuttle as I tried to escape the ever-present clouds of bugs. Whenever we stopped, instead of serenely gazing into the distance as I absorbed the peaceful energy of the great outdoors, I was wildly chopping my hands Fruit-Ninja-style while hissing “Shit! Fuck. Get off. Goddamn.”

Take away the insects, and I am basically ready for my own survival-focused reality show.

Except for peeing in the woods. I don’t know what kind of quad exercises are necessary for performing a squat that does not result in a moistened shoe, but I have yet to master it. Do not even get me started about the logistical and spiritual challenges inherent in a Number Two, which my body refuses to even consider and thus I have spent every backpacking trip in a state of increasing Digestive Distress until I am finally reunited with my own bathroom. Frankly I can’t even poop in our trailer because of proximity issues so what I’m saying is the only thing holding me back from being the sort of person who achieves their full potential during the zombie apocalypse besides bugs is bathroom stuff.

Well, that and the bedding. Did you know that when you spend the night in a tent you just sleep, like, on the ground? I mean you can use those inflatable sleeping pads for about a half inch of cushioning that will instantly slither off to the side as soon as you shift positions but essentially camping involves not just observing nature but lying on it and spoiler alert, nature is dirty, prickly, and hard as hell.

Aside from those small challenges, I like to think of myself as the sun-kissed type you see in Patagonia catalogs, standing next to a kayak and looking adorably low maintenance, the only small difference being that in order to appear even marginally presentable I require, at minimum: shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair, hair dryer, leave-in spray, curling iron, primer, bronzer, blush, eyebrow pencil, a “luminizer” powder, regular powder, lipstick, mascara, eyelash curler thingie, plus deodorant and a fully charged Sonicare toothbrush and lotion and a razor and tweezers.

If I am allowed to pack a very large bag for my outdoor activities, perhaps carried by a well-compensated Sherpa, then I am going to look so awesome standing on top of a narrow rocky outcropping that can only be accessed via a pants-shittingly difficult 5.11 climbing route or posed in front of a jungle waterfall with arms spread wide and sporting impressive yet feminine trapezius muscles or mid-leap from a daunting cliff face above the ocean while absolutely rocking a slightly-too-small rash guard.

Except of course I dislike heights, water, exertion, being too cold or too hot or uncomfortable in any way, confining clothing, and the dietary requirements to have the sort of body fat percentage that results in visible muscles.

But listen: with just a few tweaks, I am extremely outdoorsy. What I really like about my living room is the window that looks right outside. I can sit there on the couch with a book and taste the adventure, any time I want.

Comments

31 Responses to “Wild thing”

  1. Katie on June 5th, 2017 7:58 pm

    Amen, sister. I’m right there with you.

  2. Wanda on June 5th, 2017 8:12 pm

    Couldn’t agrwe more…to camp you really need a real bathroom and more comfortable sleeping arrangements.

  3. nonsoccermom on June 5th, 2017 8:55 pm

    Same. I have never been camping in my life, and that is just how I like it. I would never survive the zombie apocalypse.

  4. Helen on June 6th, 2017 12:13 am

    You wrote a good thing, here.

  5. Alex on June 6th, 2017 3:09 am

    I’ve always thought that the best part of camping, or the real reason for doing it, is how good it feels by contrast to come home, take a shower, and hit up that AC. It’s like you need the suckitude of the outdoors to really appreciate how good you have it in your every day life. I mean, that first shower after a multi day hike is practically orgasmic.

  6. Kathy on June 6th, 2017 3:22 am

    Did I sleep-write this?
    Funny and well written as always!

  7. sandy on June 6th, 2017 4:53 am

    I loved this!!! So so true and funny! I like a good hike on a well marked trail followed by a night in a 5 star hotel. My idea of camping!

  8. jennbb33 on June 6th, 2017 5:06 am

    You and I are simpatico. I prefer glamping as well. Any camping adventures I undertake must guarantee running water, close proximity to my car, and NO BUGS WHATSOEVER. Or humidity. Or discomfort. And I need my bed.
    So, no.
    Also: No bushwacking. I like hiking on clear, wide trails. Thank you. And my water should be cold. With ice.

  9. Mary Clare on June 6th, 2017 6:07 am

    Damn, you are hilarious!

  10. kristih@nawfi.com on June 6th, 2017 6:27 am

    :)

  11. Erica on June 6th, 2017 6:32 am

    This. All of this. I could have written it myself, though without nearly the skill or humor.

  12. Jeanette on June 6th, 2017 6:34 am

    Ha ha! Great post!

  13. Jean on June 6th, 2017 6:54 am

    So funny! You have a gift. Enjoy your posts so much!

  14. elizabeth_k on June 6th, 2017 7:42 am

    I’m as wild as they come, if wild means sitting quietly inside and reading. Just like you!

  15. Olivia on June 6th, 2017 7:42 am

    Amen. I am a woman of the great indoors.

  16. Shawna on June 6th, 2017 8:51 am

    I love hiking, but at the end of the day my minimum requirements are a solid lean-to shelter with an even floor (a wooden tent platform isn’t quite enough), and an outhouse in order to really enjoy the experience. Of course, a bunkhouse with beds and a real toilet are far better! I hiked the entire Chilkoot Trail without once pooping or peeing in the woods – I don’t tend to drink much anyway, and you sweat it all out so much that I managed to make it between “camps” every time.

  17. Jessica on June 6th, 2017 10:20 am

    I may live in a 5th wheel, but damn, I hate camping.

  18. Carla Hinkle on June 6th, 2017 10:54 am

    So, I think you can solve your problems by combining the “pants-shittingly difficult” rock climb with a bathroom stop in the woods. Voila! All cleaned out and ready for a long term camping adventure! (I theoretically like the out of doors but hate being dirty or uncomfortable. I grew up living in the woods and BTDT.) :-)

  19. Alison on June 6th, 2017 12:43 pm

    God yes. Plumbing required. And concealer.

    I live in fear of my sons getting older and asking for a camping trip. Hiking, sure. But please don’t make me function in the wild without bare minimum grooming. I did not wake up like this.

  20. TinaNZ on June 6th, 2017 3:58 pm

    Absolutely loved this; these are all significant issues that were not fully addressed by Cheryl Strayed!

    Although the phrase “when we were hiking into a lake in the Mt. Washington Wilderness Area” sounded pretty capable and outdoorsy to me.

  21. Kristin on June 6th, 2017 4:06 pm

    This is great! Love it!

  22. Nancy on June 6th, 2017 7:26 pm

    I love you so much! I’m not at all outdoorsy, but in my mind I’d like to think at some point I could have been an Everest explorer. Great writing – as always.

  23. Spacy on June 6th, 2017 9:59 pm

    You are my spirit animal. So.much.yes.

  24. Donna Brubach on June 7th, 2017 9:09 am

    Peeing and pooping!! Yes. I can deal with the rest if I have to. Why should I have to? Hmmm……

  25. Julie on June 7th, 2017 2:00 pm

    Add a snoring significant other to that tent and you forget about the cold, hard ground as your thoughts change to homicide…

  26. Julie on June 7th, 2017 2:01 pm

    By the way, you wussies, did you catch that guy who climbed El Capitan with his BARE hands? Bet he wasn’t worried about how to go to the bathroom. Or, was he…

  27. Katie on June 9th, 2017 6:11 pm

    You are brilliant and I am what I like to call “indoorsy.”

  28. Christine on June 11th, 2017 3:37 pm

    You are my people. Only you said it better.

  29. Mike Wilson on June 11th, 2017 10:37 pm

    You know, I’ve been reading you for years and years and years, and among all of the fabulous things you’ve ever written, THIS may be the best!!!!!

  30. Em on June 12th, 2017 2:18 pm

    Love it!

  31. LD's Mom on June 20th, 2017 7:41 pm

    This may be your BEST post ever. And I’ve LOVED plenty of your posts. Nailed it!

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