I don’t know about you, but generally I feel about three day weekends the same way I felt about prom. There is so much build-up! So much pre-event excitement and fevered planning—what you’ll do, who you’ll be with, and oh my god did you hear what THEY’RE doing isn’t that just like them?…and then suddenly it’s over and you wonder what all the fuss was about and why in the name of Pete was it so expensive? Three day weekends (and proms) tend to come with more hidden fees than college student’s first VISA.
But not this one! Oh no, my friends. I went backpacking this weekend, for the very first time. And since it was my very first time, I had much to learn. And since I am very kind, and also since you have no way of stopping me, I present to you my list:
The Backpacker’s Guide To…Well, Backpacking In Umtanum Canyon…So It’s Not The Most Comprehensive List You’ve Ever Read…There Are Still Some Nuggets of Wisdom To Be Found…Especially The Part About The Whiskey…Anyway, The Do’s And Don’ts of Backpacking In A Very Specific Location In Washington, According To Me Who’s Only Done This Once:
- DO go with people who know what they’re doing. The Lovely Miss Q and Beez, for instance, if they are available. This will cut down the work required by you by like, 87%. Really.
- DO take a boy. They are handy for things like walking in front of you to scare away the rattle snakes, and for knowing how to tie square knots. Although probably TLMQ could tie a square knot too. It’s hard to say, as she was busy cooking me dinner.
- DO put all of your food in a ‘bear bag’ and hang it from a tree limb at night.
- DO go with people who actually think about things like ‘bear bags’, therefore saving you from a horrifying death involving teeth and claws and generally being mauled because you slept in a tent with your last Luna Bar.
- In case of strong winds, DO stake your tent down, OR;
- DO lay in your tent reading while TLMQ stakes it for you and then ties it to HER tent in her underwear because moments before everyone had simply been lying around in the sunshine but then this really really strong wind came out of nowhere, forcing us to lay around inside our canvas shelters bemoaning the fact that we hadn’t brought enough whiskey.
- DO bring enough whiskey.
- DO admit to yourself when you are standing in front of the shelves of booze at the liquor store the night before you leave that what you would like to think is enough whiskey is probably not nearly enough whiskey.
- DO bring MadLibs—the greatest invention ever—allowing you to tell amazing stories about the first two space farts to orbit the Air Force Pizza Hut, or about a bride who walks down the aisle wearing an invisible testicle with a hairy trim and a curly neckline.
- DO bring a book, because you know what? “Backpacking” really just means walking somewhere and then sort of sitting around for a while and commenting on how pretty stuff is.
- DO go somewhere that has mountain goats. Goats! Fun to say and to see.
- DO start referring to the areas where people actually live as the ‘front country’. It will make you feel like a bad-ass.
- DON’T bring your yarn. For God’s sake it is OK to go one weekend without making knots with sticks, you giant giant dork.
- DON’T attempt to drive home on the last day of a huge music festival located roughly nearby. If you are silly enough to try, DO expect to be surrounded on all sides by sunburned weirdos, each clad in an ‘independent’ band T-Shirt and Volcom hat. Dude. It was, like, AWESOME. (I was once a sunburned weirdo in a Bright Eyes T-Shirt, so I feel OK about judging all the folks who made the pilgrimage this year. Also, Dudes—hope those toilets were in better shape this year.)
- DON’T forget to bring enough whiskey.
- DON’T trust that TLMQ has fashioned (T-Bone’s borrowed) tent stakes securely to her pack before walking over the rickety suspension bridge with the wide gaps between the planks. DO have Beez reattach them once disaster has been averted.
So there you go..follow the simple rules outlined above and I assure you a glorious weekend will be had!
Next weekend—car camping with TLMQ and T-Bone. You know what’s great about going camping in a car? THERE IS NO LIMIT TO THE AMOUNT OF WHISKEY YOU CAN BRING.