This last weekend I went on a short overnight camping trip with my beautiful wife (Hi wife!) and a few good friends: David G. and his now-fiancée Merry P., Jason H., Jared W. S., and Whitney J. (Isn't the anonymity of surname initials exciting? It's almost like I'm in some sort of crime novel, and these were my accomplices!)
We went to Hope Campground, just off Squaw Peak Road. The road was still closed, but after some initial complaining from my comrades (you know who you are!) we finally made the arduous, painful, 15-minute walk on pavement to the campground. Because the road was still closed, there was only one other group of campers in the entire campground; and they purposely chose a spot on the far side of the campground from us, allowing us to make as much noise as we would like. (They probably realized that we're the kind of people who can make as much noise as drunk campers, even when we're sober.)
Camping in May is pure delight — for the first hour or two. When you first arrive you prance around looking for dry firewood (not an easy task), attempt to get a roaring fire going, set up tents, eat dinner (unless you brought tin-foiled dinners, in which case you will not be eating for another 3 or 4 hours), and settle down for the evening.
Then the sun goes down. And in May, when the sun sets in the mountains the temperature changes faster than the dark side of the moon (100 degrees in the sun, -40 in the shade). The shivering begins. You begin to look at your tent with growing dread, as you realize that even your zero-degree bag may not provide the requisite protection from the cold. You sadly realize that your poor, frozen fingers are too cold to play the guitar you brought.
And then, as you sit around the fire, this train of thought enters your mind: Why do I do this? Why not just pack up everything I brought with me, enjoy the fire for a few more hours, and then drive home to sleep in my own warm, soft bed? Why torture myself? Why not leave now and go hot-tubbing and eat pie?
I'm not sure if I have a good answer to those questions. But we did stay, and I did sleep terribly, and I did have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (it was cold!), and I was insanely tired the rest of the weekend, and I didn't get any pie!
The funniest part of all is, I really want to like camping. Something deep down inside of me, beneath the point of conscious and reasonable thought, wants me to be the type of person who likes to go camping just for the heck of it. Which is why, even as early as when we were walking back to our cars after a cold, terrible night of sleep, I said out loud:
"We should do this again next week!"
Ah, the irrational human mind.