Into the wilderness, part one
Back in December, when the wonderful husband was on his annual, manly man, off-the-grid hunting trip, he and his friend decided that our families needed to share in this wonderful experience, and that vacationing together this summer would be a great idea. We have vacationed together with this family before, and it is absolutely a guaranteed good time. Our kids are about the same ages. They have a girl and a boy, and because we only see each other a few times a year, most of our get-togethers are top-shelf fun and over before familiarity has a chance to breed contempt. So, vacationing with some of our favorite people. Sounds good!
Our friends have been spending a week on an island in the middle of a lake in the Adirondacks for the past few summers, and they were gracious enough to invite us to share the quaint cabin, boat house, swimming dock, canoes and wilderness with them. Our “camp” consisted of one main cabin and several smaller “sleeping” cabins, which delighted the kids to no end, and they immediately started making plans to claim their own territory, in the time-honored tradition of “boys versus girls.”
Nerf guns were packed for battle. Life jackets were tried on and paddling skills were honed. Pocket knives and fire starters were slipped into bags. My kids were excited about spending a few days “unplugged” and getting back to nature! This trip would be the exact opposite of our insane Disney vacation last year. It was sounding better and better by the minute.
When the WH was extolling the many virtues of this back-to-basics trip, he showed me the beautiful scenery and the rustic cabin. In addition to returning our kids to our natural state, he expounded at length about how great it would be to sit on the dock, crack open a wine cooler, read a book and have nothing to do for hours. The man knows how to play to all my weak spots. Once he had reeled me in, he casually added that there was no indoor plumbing, electricity or cellphone service on this oasis of calm.
That wasn’t all quite true. There was some electricity, provided by a battery that was charged by solar panels on the roof of the boat house. While the “greeny” in me loved efficient, cheap energy, the realist in me now expected a week of serious cloud cover.
My confiscation of all the kids’ electronic devices came back to haunt me, as they taunted me about not being able to go five days without my cellphone. While I feebly made the excuse that work might need me, what I was envisioning were broken arms when kids slipped on the dock, or mysterious bug bites that ballooned to the size of cantaloupes, or some sort of boating accident that would make the 6-mile boat trip back to civilization impossible.
The WH reminded me that our friends are both medical professionals, and we couldn’t be in better hands if it came to a true emergency. So, he talked me down on two of those three points, but that third point, that was a deal breaker in my book.
Some people need coffee in the morning to get them fully functional. I need a good, hot shower in the morning to bring me back to the land of the living. The WH knows this and he had a plan. He promised me a “camp shower” whenever I wanted it. For those of you who don’t know what a “camp shower” is, it’s a black pouch that you fill with water, and set in the sun for several hours. After your water is heated up, you hang it in a tree, open the valve, and voilÃÂ ! Shower!
Never mind that the most area you can possibly cover with the tiny “shower head” is about 3 square inches of your body, it’s hot water, and it’s falling on you, and it was the best I was going to get. I could live with it.
When we first said the word “outhouse” to the kids, they stared at us blankly. The best I could come up with was that it’s like a porta-potty. But in the woods. And not portable. They thought I was making this up. When we arrived, it was the first thing they had to see.
As far as outhouses go, it was quite top of the line and luxurious. E was especially taken with the little log cabin.
“Mom! It’s a bathroom! But it’s all made of wood!” she exclaimed. “And, MOM! Guess what? There are two holes right next to each other! We can poop together, at the same time!”
It’s hard to explain how you can feel so loved and so grossed out at the same time, but that statement did it for me!
That was only the first of many memorable moments from our wilderness adventure. More to come next week!
Liz Pinkey is a contributing writer to the Times News. Her column appears weekly in our Saturday feature section.