Sunday, July 31, 2011

Camping: The Reckoning

It seemed like any other day when I woke up, but that illusion ended quickly. I can't say why I chose to turn on the news that morning, since I rarely care to hear which celebrity had a baby and named it "That-sound-a-cat-makes-right-before-it-coughs-up-a-hairball RainbowSparkles" or some nonsense. I'm glad I did, though. If I hadn't, it would've been too late for me. apparently, some lab in south Denver had been working on splicing the genes of wolverines with hamsters or they were irradiating marmots or something. The news anchor wasn't especially specific and as soon as I saw those murderous, beady eyes, I knew it didn't matter what they were, I just needed to get away.

(Artist's Rendering)

We have our BOBs about 95% ready to go and threw in the last few things we thought we'd need to make it in the woods while this whole situation blew over. We coordinated with a few other friends to meet up and ride it out together. Just because you're running for your life doesn't mean you can't have a little fun, right? Unfortunately, I was too busy trying to get everything ready to take pictures until we'd already gotten to our agreed-upon meetup spot. It's in a nice little valley outside of Nederland, CO where there's plenty of firewood and a great water source.

Spirits are still high as we hike into the woods. We haven't seen any frothing rodents all day, so we're hoping they're confined to the urban areas. I will admit I put about five 10mm hollowpoints into a justifiably indignant red squirrel when we first got out of the city. Dude took it like a man and went about his business. Note to self: do not underestimate the squirrels.

We found a good spot and set up camp. My wife helped get our tent in order. A double-thick tarp underneath probably wouldn't actually slow down any rabid voles trying to burrow up into our bodies while we slept, but it made us feel better.

After camp was set up, we decided to hike out a ways and explore the surrounding areas. It turns out they're very pretty. Mission accomplished.

We returned to camp and got a small fire going. Even though it was warm out, the crackling flames were comforting. Also, we were getting pretty hungry. Granola bars and jerky are great trail food, but our tummies required a little more.

Thankfully, I always keep a pack of hot dogs in my wallet for emergencies. My wife complains on laundry day, but I think this proves that it's worth the inconvenience.

Now that our immediate needs were met, we wanted to lay in some larger pieces of firewood to get us through the night.

The hand-powered chainsaw is a handy tool when used by one, but when a whole team gets going with it, it is truly a thing a of beauty. We broke this 4" diameter tree into manageable chunks in no time, and had more than enough wood to keep us comfortable for a good long while.

We were now feeling a little better about ourselves, with hot food in our bellies, a rushing creek nearby and plenty of wood to keep the fire roaring. We had depleted our drinking water pretty quickly, so we took the filter down to the water and refilled everything. Water tastes a little strange without the chlorine and fluoride and unobtanium our municipal services pump into it, but it was cool and wet.

We hadn't seen any more skittering vermin since our arrival, and our terror had started to wane. Maybe we'd overestimated the efficacy of an unholy army of gerbils? Unlikely. Maybe they were simply content to build their empire in the city before they decided to chase the clumsy, oversized primates into the wilderness? Possible. We had no way of knowing. All we could do was to hunker down and hope for the best. We spent the evening around the campfire, telling stories of loves lost and singing sea chanties. We also pulled out some of our Mountain House meals and enjoyed the second hot meal of the day. The fire was going well, but we'd also brought a homemade alcohol stove we'd been wanting to try out.

You can't tell, but it's going like gangbusters. It boiled enough water for a 2-serving entree of beef stroganoff in just a few minutes with less than an ounce of fuel.

If you put on your LSD-o-Vision, the flames are suddenly clear and the roaches are UNDER YOUR SKIN GETTHEMOUT GETTHEMOUT! Thankfully, that whole episode passed pretty quickly. Suffice it to say, the stove worked fantastically and I should be more judicious with my toad-licking.

The night passed without incident. We were pretty worried, because I think rodents are nocturnal, but nothing really happened. I got a little turned around in the middle of the night and ended up peeing on Werespaz' bivvy sack, but he was very understanding.

So sorry, dude.

We woke up and got everything packed up to move out to a new site deeper into the woods. Thankfully, we ran into another survivor who informed us that the rodent outbreak had been contained and that we were free to return to our homes. He also mentioned something about not mixing medications, but I was too full of joy to pay that much attention. Once again, humanity has triumphed over the hordes of the furry scourge.

Celebrating the continued position of humanity at the top of the food chain.

We got home and got re-settled into our lives as best we could. Turns out that the program I had thought was the local news was actually a SyFy original movie called "Wombat: The Reckoning". Honest mistake.

Total time bugged out: 24 hours
Participants: Septimus39, Victory, Werespaz, Jordan (Non-ZS), Liz (Non-ZS)
Lessons Learned: Better safe than sorry when it comes to bugging out.