I did it!!! I went camping this weekend!! Whoo hoo!! Though I grew up in the midwest, I had somehow managed to never camp in my entire life so this was a super exciting weekend for me.
Max picked me up from the airport at around 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning. He was a really good sport about the fact that he had to wait an extra 25 minutes and drive in circles around the airport, as I was on a mission to find some Purell and had to stop at four different stores in the airport to find some. There was no way I was going to camp out in the wilderness and possibly brave a port-a-potty without at least a bottle of instant anti-bacterial hand sanitizer.
So, with two bottles of Purell and a package of anti-bacterial moist wipes in hand, we set off for the Statebridge Lodge
, which is about two hours outside of Denver. Our plan was to catch a concert and camp nearby over night. We met up first with Nick, and then went on to pick up his friend Emily, who actually went to my high school and graduated a year before I did, but who I never knew. She was also really cool and so I'm really glad I got to meet her, nearly 10 years later.
We finally got there and set up camp, after driving around a bit to find a decent spot. Since I'd never been camping before, I had no idea what to expect. I think I was actually kind of surprised that camping really did consist of sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere. I suppose I still thought that there'd be restrooms or at least a port-a-potty nearby, but there weren't any by where we were. It was a great camping site - it was very secluded and the Colorado River roared just down below in front of us. Anyway, I did my best to help set up our tent and not freak out about the fire ants crawling around. Once Max showed me how mouse-proof the tent would be, and promised he'd do a mouse check before we turned in for the night, I was happy.
Now, while I'm usually pretty detailed in these posts, I may have to gloss over some incidents - a few things happened and the request, or in some cases, the warning of "This is not to make the blog!" was given so I will now skip over what I privately dubbed "The Firewood Fiasco" which ensued after we set up our tents. All I'll say is that several hours of extra driving and 12 logs of Duraflame later, it was resolved.
So, after the Firewood Fiasco, we headed back into the Lodge, which was really just a small rustic bar/restaurant with an outdoor patio and a small stage. Our waitress was unusually attractive and unusually terrible. It took us nearly forever to get our burgers, but at least they were good. Afterwards, we headed back to camp.
I have to for a moment just note how strangely dark it was outside. Now, I don't even walk to my bathroom in the middle of the night without turning on the lights in my apartment, so it was really bizarre to me walking around in the middle of nowhere, in the pitch darkness. There was no moon and no stars, and except for our two flashlights, it was completely black. I clung on to Max and tried not to think of The Blair Witch Project. After a few bad starts, we managed to get the fire going and life was good again. We drank a few beers, a little whiskey, and butterscotch schnapps.
At around 11 p.m., we decided it was time to catch the main act of the concert - Karl Denson, who notoriously starts rather late. He's a great funky jazz saxophonist/flutist. However, before we started back down the hill to the Lodge, I realized I had to pee. Really really badly. I was all set to risk getting a bladder infection and just hold it but everyone told me I should just go and get it over with. And with no port-a-potty in sight, I had to do the inevitable - pee outside. So, I made Max come with me. Yes. I made my boyfriend stand guard while I peed in the great outdoors. I'm only noting this in the blog because I'd never really done that before. And Max was super nice about it and when my legs were about to give way from squatting for so long (I really really had to go), he told me to hold on to his belt loop for support.
Anyway, this was followed by another strange experience - running downhill in darkness. I'm not sure why we were running - I think we were afraid that we'd miss Karl Denson. Or maybe it was because were were following Nick, who was the only one with a flashlight, who was running. I can't really explain the feeling - here I was, slightly drunk, running downhill in the dark, trying to keep the beer and schnapps from sloshing upwards out of my stomach, trying not to trip, chasing after the jigging/dancing silhouette of Nick, with the only light in all the world coming from the bouncing beam of one small flashlight. It was strangely cinematic, and strangely eerie - I suppose he reminded me of Puck or maybe some mythology character leading me to hell.
But we didn't go to hell, just back to the Lodge, where the warm-up act was just wrapping up. So we danced and had a great time for the next three hours. It was awesome. There were a ton of hippies, some mountain-men looking types, and a lot of just regular campers like us. I was definitely the only Asian person in the whole place (there was about 200-300 people there) and the only other non-white people there were Karl Denson and his band members. Afterwards, we headed back up the hill. Max and I briefly lost Emily and Nick, and when we turned back for them, we found them at an impromptu dance party, dancing next to a car blasting a Janet Jackson song. Funny.
Once we got back to the camp, we started another fire, this time using toilet paper, paper towels and the Lodge menus that we had pocketed as kindling. I fell asleep in my folding chair, and just before I passed out, I saw that Emily had her head down - asleep as well, presumably. I think she may have woken up again, as I have this vague memory of her suddenly up and saying "I HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY NOW." Soon after, she went into her tent and fell asleep, I think.
After using all sorts of disgusting ways of putting out the fire (mainly peeing on it - ewwww) we all went back to bed. Max and I shared a one person tent but luckily it was pretty comfortable. I remember talking to Max about how cool it was to actually sleep on the ground - on Earth - and how I was sleeping the way prehistoric people did (except in a tent, in a newly purchased Eddie Bauer sleeping bag), and Max telling me I was sleeping like the cowboys and Clint Eastwood did...and then I out for the night.