I hate camping, but my girlfriend Sarah and Enrique Limón somehow talked me into doing it for this here special issue. Here’s the blow-by-blow of the whole awful experience.
Sunday, June 1
9:42 am, Sarah’s house
We search the Internet for campgrounds and discover that “primitive camping” is the name for pitching a tent any old place, and that this is allowed on most Santa Fe National Forest land unless otherwise posted. I rack my brain for outdoor places the least possible distance from any showers.
Noon, Cochiti Lake / Grandma’s house
We borrow a prehistoric tent from a buddy of mine as I field jokes like, “You!? You are going camping? Ha!” The fear grows.
10:20 pm, Sarah’s house
We decide to call it an early night since the very prospect of camping has stressed me out so hard I am emotionally exhausted.
Monday, June 2
6:30 am, Sarah’s house
The mood is bright and cheerful despite the early hour. The bottom line is that even though we’ll be camping tonight, there are worse ways to spend time than in a tent with a babe.
8:15 am, Trader Joe’s
We buy mostly snack foods as it’s hot, and the idea of building a fire for grilling is both miserable and baffling.
10:26 am, Sarah’s house
We stop to grab the dogs because I’ve heard dogs like camping and they’re cute.
11:45 am, Undisclosed location
Even though we are pretty sure it’s OK to pitch this old-ass army tent wherever, we’re still nervous about the location and I’m not sure if I’ll be subject to retroactive fines once this goes to print. We get to work on the tent and check our inventory which contains two collapsible chairs, extra socks, sweaters (just in case), a few library books, cashews, cheese, water, peanut butter, a whole mess of beers and our cell phones—since what the hell else are we going to do besides watch Netflix? Look at the landscape? Please.
1:32 pm, On some fucking trail
After discovering the smaller dog sinks like a stone when we come across a small body of water, I muse on why hikes are so popular. Walking up a hill under the blazing sun? They should call it something way worse, like “sucking.”
"I devise a plan for a time machine and for how I’ll assassinate John Muir/whomever created the Boy Scouts."
3:17 pm, Inside the tent
It’s a little cooler in the tent, but the ground is hard and phone service is in and out. This means that an air mattress would have been wise and even worse, we can’t get caught up on Orphan Black. I devise a plan for a time machine and for how I’ll assassinate John Muir/whomever created the Boy Scouts…this is all their fault.
4:44 pm, Near the tent
Thought: Why didn’t we make sandwiches earlier in the day?
6:15 pm, ?
The dogs, accustomed to a nightly walk, are growing antsy. They might hate camping, too. We look for the flattest route and are psyched that neither of us has to pick up their shit now that we’re not inside the city.
7:15 pm, Inside the tent again
We are drunk now, so that’s a plus. Either camping ain’t so bad or doing anything drunk ain’t so bad. We joke and laugh and hug the dogs and such. It’s finally cooler out, so that’s a huge plus.
10:53 pm, Still in the tent
I don’t recall falling asleep, but Sarah’s sudden declaration of, “Are the flaps closed tight!? There’s a skunk outside!” followed by the stench of said skunk and the realization that some terrible pointy rock is stabbing me in the spine jerks me from my sleep. It hits me like a ton of bricks: I’m simply not meant to camp. We make sure the flaps are secured and try—fruitlessly—to get more sleep.
4:11 am, How are we still in this tent?
Conditions are deteriorating. I am wide-awake when I turn on my side and notice that sleep eludes Sarah as well. “Let’s get the fuck out of here,” she says with an air of seriousness so intense that I merely nod and begin to gather my things.
5:25 am, Back at the pad
I quickly come to the realization that nothing beats a sturdy box spring and a ceiling fan. Suck it, nature. You’re no Mother of mine.