Monday, June 1

Weekend Camping

Lisa and I went camping this past weekend. Rocky Mountain State Park. Our first Rocky Mountain Camping experience. It's a pity the drive was almost 3 hours to get there because it was honestly some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. We've posted pictures on Facebook. You can take a look.

Several of the fun things we did:
1. Stayed in a tent
2. Avoided the rain
3. Looked at elk
4. Went on 3 hikes
5. Hung out with friends
6. Cooked over an open fire
7. Took naps
8. Didn't inflate our mattress
9. Lisa ticked me off.

1. We got our camping gear cheap from all over the place as Lisa went garage sale-ing around Colorado Springs. We got a lot of stuff cheap. We spent money on the sleeping bag. (We got a "double" so both Lisa and I can fit in the bag to keep each other extra warm.)

2. The nice thing about Colorado is that more often than not you can see the rain coming and can work on getting out of the way. In this case we could cut our hike short, head back to camp, make lunch, and take a nap in the tent while listening to the rain/ hail hit our rain-fly.

3. There were deer and elk everywhere! (Thus I didn't feel so bad about the elk burger I had on Friday night) While they are semi-majestic creatures I could see where having them anywhere near domestic plants would suddenly turn them into pests. (Highly editable pests I must also mention.)

4. We spotted several types of hikers:
The hard-core: you can tell because they have enough equipment for EVERYTHING even though they are going on a 2.3 mile loop, and powering through nature to the end goal.
The weekend hiker: (us) these can be spotted by the lack of almost anything needed for hiking, and generally wandering around and enjoying the scenery.
The "Just here for the exercise/ trying to shun nature": Can be spotted wearing an ipod, heavy sunglasses and never takes his eyes off the trail in front of him.
The Gaggle: spotted as a cluster of women (sometimes with husbands in tow) who are hiking along (sometimes with dual water bottles strapped to their waists like Barettas), and talking all sorts of gossip.

5. We hung out with friends who's original idea was to go camping. We got up there Friday night and they showed up Saturday evening.

6. Cooked over an open fire... yup. We banked up the fire nice and hot and the fire had a iron grid to lay over it to cook on. So I cooked up some bacon, pulled it out after it was done, then tossed in a bunch of onions, fried those up in the bacon fat, and then tossed in some cubed chicken. Then we threw all of that into a chili base mixture we had sitting on the propane stove. And viola! Chili for everyone.

7. Naps, yes. Nothing finer than napping after a hike in the woods and food cooked outside. Zzzzzzz.

8. We got an inflatable mattress with a promise of a pump that would inflate the mattress in "About 4 minutes!". Right. We pumped on that thing for at least 30 minutes and got enough air into it to tell it had a little bit of air in it. Bleh. (BTW: Hit up that link and check out the photo. Funny stuff.)

9. We cane home Sunday night and unpacked the car and put everything away and then hung out a bit, had dinner and then I decided to take a shower. I get into the bathroom, take off my socks and see something that looks like a little leaf on my leg. I go to brush it off, it doesn't move. I look a little closer, it has legs... I try to move it again, nothing. It suddenly hits me. This is a tick. Now I don't freak out or anything, but I am imaging some of the tick stories I have heard in my day and my stomach gets a bit queasy. I call Lisa in and she looks at it and hits up the web to find a good way to remove ticks. "Forceps" is the answer. (I know some of you are going to say, "You can do the old "matchstick trick" but according to the site Lisa found if you do that they will sometimes release a toxin using that method that can make you sick. I wanted to avoid "sick". ) We found some need hook nose plyers, cleaned them off with alcohol swabs. (a plus side effect of being sick like I was was that we have LOTS of alcohol swabs) She then went after the little guy on my leg for me. (As it was an awkward position for me.) He wasn't very deep so there wasn't much of a wound, and it didn't feel nearly as bad as someone pulling out leg hairs. And I am still alive!

That was our first camping trip together. The End.



  1. Re: the tick. Keep an eye on that spot for a while. I'm sure you looked up lyme disease symptoms, but in case you didn't, a bulls-eye type thing will form around the spot if the tick was a lyme disease carrier. If that's the case, go to the doctor and get antibiotics ASAP. Lyme disease is treatable in the first week or two, after which you're stuck with it for life. Great, huh?

    Also, tick avoidance tricks we've learned since living in MA:
    - Spray bug spray around your ankles
    - Wear long pants and tall socks even if it's hot out (and it doesn't hurt to spray those with bug spray)
    - Wear a hat and spray it with bug spray. Ticks will fall on your head as you brush by and they're hard to find in your hair. I once got one IN MY EAR, which, let me tell you, completely freaked me out.
    - Did I mention bug spray?

    Lack of ticks is something I never appreciated when I hiked in Western Washington, but boy howdy, hiking out here in MA (which has tons of deer ticks) has given me a whole new appreciation for the ticklessness Washingtonians take for granted. Now every time I go out in the woods I'm paranoid about brushing against leaves and we always check ourselves carefully for ticks when we're done.

    That's pretty much the sum of my useful tick knowledge (I do know the tick life cycle, but I somehow doubt the applicability of that information here), so I'll stop now.

  2. Please contact your doctor regardless of whether you see the bulls-eye or not. Your body's system is too compromised to play with this. Ticks can carry other icky things besides Lyme disease. Allow your doctor to say it is not a big deal for you. Please.


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