A couple of days ago I went on a camping adventure with my soon to be husband. He was so excited and had been planning it for weeks. He’s not much of a camper so I went along with it as long as it meant we’d be camping. I love camping. I was even a hiking director for a summer camp for two years so I have some experience with it.
We arrived at our camp site. This isn’t your typical camp site. It isn’t far from our home but I’d never camped there so I was pretty excited. This place is in the middle of a reserve, There isn’t any cell service and there isn’t a single person around for miles and miles…at least not normally. So again, we arrived at our camp site and there were two men already there. You could tell by the way they dressed that they were not from the area. Almost immediately one of the men wandered over and pleaded for a ride into town to get his car. They had plans to canoe the whole river, halfway through they realized their mistake.
Our jeep was still full with our supplies and I was motion sick from the ride in. I opted to stay behind but my significant other wasn’t very keen on leaving me alone in the woods with a strange man. I told him I was planning on going hiking anyway. I watched the jeep drive away and went in search of sunscreen before heading into the woods. Long story short it was in the jeep. So I went hiking anyway. How long could they possibly be gone? Several hours later I found myself waiting in the woods for the sound of our vehicle and my author brain was taking over. My dog and I were being eaten alive by black flies, horse flies and mosquitoes and there wasn’t even the slightest breeze. Finally Corey returned and drove us back to the camp site. By this time I was burnt to a crisp, dehydrated and working on the mother of all head aches.
I lathered up with some sunscreen, chugged a power aid and we went swimming. Swimming wasn’t any better as the section of river we were next to was barely two feet deep in every direction. So we decided to dry off and set up camp. This was when we discovered there was no firewood. My man was told by several people that bringing wood onto the reserve was illegal so we didn’t. Now we were at a camp site without wood and the biting flies were telling all there friends about the buffet on Ramsy’s Ledge. Also I’m pretty sure the little bastards were addicted to deet because the bug spray had little to no effect. A fire would drive them away but the only wood we were finding were ten foot logs and rotten branches that had been cut several years ago. With a little help from our charcoal we got a smolder going. Just as we were getting ready for supper a line of trucks came by, honking and making a ruckus. We came to this spot to avoid all things ruckus! They off loaded their canoes and my fiance and I looked at the drunken group apprehensively. It looked like rescue mission number two was on the horizon. They left and we got supper started. During this time I was enjoying the setting sun and most of the flies had been driven off by our smoldering fire. There in the sky was a bald eagle. My first reaction was awe, then to grab my 15 lbs dog, then I went back to awe again. The majestic creature was circling over the river and we watched in wonder as he swooped down and grabbed something from the water. My fiance got quiet, looked at me and smirked before going back to cooking. I thought this was odd but not wanting to miss a thing I grabbed my glasses when another eagle started to circle. Then I looked at the river and realized it wasn’t fish on the menu, it was baby ducks. So much for majestic. More like cannibalistic, baby murderers.
The drunk canoeists arrived just as we started eating and they needed help reloading their canoes. We sent them off with a big wave and went back to our cold meal. Then we had to find more smoldering firewood because as the sun was setting, the no see ums were coming out and I’m allergic to those little jerks. I covered up, head to toe with a hood on and the love of my life set up the evening activities of watching horror movies on my laptop. By this time the dog was outright refusing to come out of the jeep having lost most of his blood to parasitic flies from the gates of hell. I resisted the urge to join him because I didn’t want to spoil the evening. Just as we were getting settled in, it began to rain, which put out the smoldering fire. We moved our party into the back of the jeep where my man had set up an air mattress. My head was pounding out the rhythm to a Metallica song but we watched our movies. He fell instantly asleep but my head hurt and I was freezing probably because I had a mild case of sunstroke. Great, now I was going to die out here.
Two hours later the air mattress needed to be refilled and and hour after that I had to pee. I’m not scared of much but between me and a bear I’m pretty sure the bear would win so I waited until breaking point before climbing out of the jeep and into the rain for a third time. It was completely dark and thundering in the distance, there was a low fog resting just above the grass and an owl hooted from a nearby tree and I’d spent the night watching horror movies. Turning on the flashlight only made everything look like ghosts because of the fog and without the flashlight I was pretty sure I was going to be eaten by a bear. If there were a land speed record for a female peeing in the woods…I would have beat it by three seconds. Oh, I forgot the no see ums. For some reason in the twelve seconds it took me to pee the little monsters swarmed me. When I got back into the jeep I was covered with throbbing, itching bites all over my face, lips, eyes and neck.
I managed to pass out from blood loss and woke up again at 5:30 am. I’ve never woken up at 5:30 am without an alarm clock in my life. I woke up my sweet heart, climbed out of the jeep and into the rising sun. I stretched and smiled and lied for all I was worth. “This is great!”
“Babe, go look at your eyes.” He said.
I went and looked in the truck’s side mirror and gasped. Both of my eyes were swollen nearly shut and my entire face was spotted with angry red welts. Refusing to admit that this had been horrible I went back, sneezed in his face and hugged him. “This was so much fun.”
“Do you want to go home?” He asked.
“More than life.” I responded.
The ride out was more like an escape and halfway home we had to pull over so I could vomit on the side of the road.
We got home and the dog and I both got an anti-histamine for the fly bites. Then we slept until 2:00. Today the dog is still chewing at the fly bites but it looks like we’re going to make it. Moral of the story, never go into the great wilderness without wood, sunblock and black market fly dope.