How else to explain the weekend spend marinating in bug spray, smelling like the proverbial bull got loose in a chemist’s laboratory, and with a clothing-permeating, heavy dusting of partially combusted spruce trees?
I know I’m not the only one that lost my marbles and went camping this Memorial Day weekend. How do I know, you ask. Why else the miles long processional featuring motor homes, motorbikes, and fifth-wheels, boats of all shapes and bikes strapped to every auto extremity, and absolute impossibility of fueling up at the gas station without a long wait? It’s a fact of life, long weekends mean camping here.
Normally, I would say long weekends mean fishing here, but the big runs of salmon haven’t quite come in yet in south-central Alaska. Once they do, abandon all hope, ye who drive out of town on the weekends. Your drive time will be sluggish, nearly as much so as the behemoth motor homes that could be mistaken for greyhound buses on steroids. (Except the motor homes have tricked out interiors that resemble a Vegas casino lounge. If I ever win the lottery, I'll be sure and buy myself one of those palaces on wheels to “camp” in, but mostly to hold traffic up by crawling at a rate of speed Fred Flintstone’s ride could beat. Step on it, would you?!)
Some high points: 1. sighted 24 bald eagles fishing on the mud flats for hooligan at low tide, a first for me, 2. we were able to get one of only two spaces left at the Black Bear campground near Portage Glacier, 3. I didn’t forget the pink and white frosted animal crackers, which would have been, as a grown man put it “a crisis”, and 4. we had a seventy degree day, maybe the “best day of the summer” as another grown man put it. Dreary thought, as summer doesn’t start officially for another three weeks. And in Alaska, perhaps not even then. (All together now: knock on wood!)
Some low points: 1. the dratted barking dogs, all night long, 2. my sleeping bag was, shall we say, insufficiently warm, 3. wood smoke in my eyes for an extended period, and 4. the absolute worst Kevin Costner movie I’ve ever seen, which is saying something. Might I suggest when one goes camping, if a movie is in order, pass by “The New Daughter”. My eyes/brain are still cramping up from the experience.
Still, the taste of an ooey, gooey, slightly burnt marshmallow and it’s attendant graham cracker and chocolate bar make up for a lot. Perhaps not Kevin Costner’s movie, but close. And the feeling of exhilaration from a bike ride literally over the river and through the woods was worth something. It won’t build the enamel back that I ground from my teeth whilst watching the movie, alas. I must be crazy for watching it to the end.
Seen a bad movie? Camping tips?