Friday, June 17, 2011


There is a kind of person who, every now and then, has to leave the difficulties of modern life behind, to live in the wilderness, to go “roughing it” for a while.  This is the kind of person we call “mentally ill.”  Okay, that’s not fair, brain damage would also make a person want to give up sanitation, good food, and entertainment.  Or maybe you’re going camping with a hot woman.  I have to admit, showing off that you can build a fire, set up a tent, and fend off vicious chipmunks could get almost any woman to make your sleeping bag move like an inchworm, if you know what I mean.
Remember, real campers bring all their advanced electronic equipment with them.
If you fit one of the above three categories, and you have decided to go “roughing it” in the wilderness, you may want to bring the following things:
  • Food and cooking utensils
  • Drinks
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Firewood, kindling, and matches
  • Cook stove
  • Lamp
  • Propane (at least two canisters)
  • Bandages, tourniquet, antibacterial gel
  • Maps
  • Change of clothes
  • Garbage bags
  • Soap and towels
  • Emergency money (quarters for toilets)
  • Toilet paper
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Tablecloth
  • Backpacks
  • Batteries
  • Emergency radio
You may want to leave behind:
  • Children
Almost ready!
Once you get situated at your campsite, you’ll want to build a fire.  Building a fire is simple, if you following these easy steps:

Purchase firewood and kindling at store.
Kindling is another word for “thin wood chips we’re going to throw in because it turns out fire doesn’t actually burn wood.”

Put kindling in small pile in center of fire pit.
Or, have your child dump the kindling all over the campsite so you can scrape them all out of the dirt.

Light fire with match.
Due to winds and the aforementioned resistance of wood to burning, it will take about nineteen matches.  The kindling will burn up quickly, not starting any of the bigger pieces on fire.

Find replacement kindling.
Most campsites are covered with twigs, leaves, pine cones, mouse droppings, dry mold, and infectious agents that burn handily.  It helps if you don’t read the sign prohibiting you from burning anything you find at the campsite until after you get the fire going.

Add big logs.
To get the big pieces of wood to burn, you’ll need to get them very hot for a very long time.  Since wood naturally puts fires out, you’ll have to start with only a few pieces, watch them not burn, move them around, take them out, etc.  You may want to consider siphoning gasoline from your car’s tank and pouring it on top.

Add more logs.
Remember, each time you add wood, the fire will go out again.

Move logs.
You have to keep adjusting where the pieces of wood are so they don’t go out, put other pieces out, or fail to create any heat.  Keep moving the logs around for six to eight hours so they burn up completely.

Put out fire.
After ten to twenty hours of waiting for the fire to go out on its own, you’ll have to pour water on it so it doesn’t somehow get out of the metal ring, crawl over to the nearby trees, and burn down the entire forest.  Make sure you lean way over the fire when you dump the water on it to get a big gulp of the healthy dust and smoke the fire kicks up.
"Don't mind me.  I'm just in for a quick bite.  Go back to sleep."
After you have eaten, cleaned up, recited the three camping songs you know over and over again, and told your children stories that aren’t scary, but will still give them nightmares, it’s time for bed.

Some things to remember while you try to sleep:
  • One child will wake up every thirty minutes to scream: “I CAN’T SLEEP!  I WANT TO GO HOME!”
  • Your other child will push you off the bed, trying to crawl inside you for warmth.
  • No matter how hot it is during the daytime, it will be freezing at night.  One of your children will show you how to close up the giant screen windows in the morning.
  • Those mice that run all over your floor, eat open your bag of rolls, crawl in your garbage, and poop in your shoes have lived in the campsite for years.  It’s not nice to throw things at them.  Besides, they’re too quick for you to hit them.
Next time, I’ll cover MREs: the food that tries to kill you.

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