When I started packing for the weekend at camp with Terra, I was thinking of things to take with me to combat potential boredom–being out in the wilderness, essentially, this meant I ruled out things like my laptop, which normally goes traveling with me, and stuck to things like a book and a notebook. One to read (Lord of the Rings) and one to write.
In the end, I used neither. Didn’t need to.
We left Friday after work and met Terra at her house, then she jumped in our car with her dog, Lilly, and we followed her mom and her boyfriend in their car. It was a nice drive and Lilly’s a good companion, although I think Paul’s excitement to get out into the woods for a weekend started to get grating for Terra. Paul doesn’t show enthusiasm for much of anything, at least not in front of other people, and I think they’re not sure of what to make of him when they see him get excited because it’s so rare. And I get it. He was so calm early on in our relationship, and as he opened up and expressed more, seeing him be upbeat was weird. Even now, five years later, he can be a bit much if I’m not prepared.
Of course, he and I hadn’t really eaten dinner–he got stuck at work an hour later, like ya do only on days when your schedule doesn’t have room for you to get stuck for an hour. I actually packed his stuff for him and did my best not to say, “This is why you should’ve packed the night before,” but when I forgot a hoodie and his swim trunks, that was tough. In the meantime, I made a small bowl of angel-hair pasta, since it cooks in three minutes, and when he got home, we packed the car and left. Four or five hours later, angel hair wasn’t cutting it and he hadn’t eaten at all, so we stopped at a Sheetz to get some food. It ended up pretty much being the last trace of civilization we’d really see until going home Sunday.
Because we didn’t get in until after 9, Friday night was pretty tame. Terra took Paul and I for a walk into a meadow to stargaze, then we figured out sleeping arrangements. We were supposed to take the back bedroom of the family trailer, like we did when we first went up four years ago, but it was covered in dirt and one of the relative’s deer stands. Fortunately, one of the couches was a pull-out, so Paul and I slept on that while Terra and Lilly took the couch opposite it and her mom, Terri, and her boyfriend, Dave, took the only other functional bed.
Terra and I slept super late Saturday morning. Paul got up and did Tai Chi, Terri and Dave went fishing, and Terra stole Paul’s spot in bed and we slept a good extra four hours. When we got up, we went into town.
Town up at camp is small. We were camped on Terra’s family’s land, which they call Redtail, in a section of Clear Creek State Forest, just outside of, duh, Clear Creek State Park. There’s no cellphone service at camp, and it’s spotty in the areas around it (for this reason, I made sure my mom knew where we were, lest someone try to get in touch with either of us, fail to get a response, and assume we were dead). Most of the businesses are family-owned–they’re either small shops or gift shops, or they sell camping gear. Bigger areas are only maybe 15-30 minutes away tops, so it’s not like we’re totally deserted, but the area is independent enough that you feel pretty deserted. And strangely, it’s kind of nice–as much as I love my technology, I kind of enjoy being forced away from it. I’ve talked before about how it was sort of liberating to be stuck without a cellphone for a few weeks one winter, and I had the same feeling this time. Most of the people I’d hear from were with me, and most of the ones that weren’t knew they wouldn’t be able to get in touch with me. Checking anything on my phone was pretty pointless, so I couldn’t use it was a crutch if there was nothing else to do. It’s a good way to truly get away.
We hit the one proper-ish grocery store, Truman’s, for food. Paul and I had planned to buy some food on our way to Terra’s, but that obviously didn’t happen. I tossed some reasonable camping foods in a bag, of course, and while fruit and peanut butter–more on that later–is enough to sustain me, I knew Paul would starve, so we grabbed him some snacks. I also bought basically every form of salad one can get–potato, pasta, and macaroni. I may or may not have been already hungry at the time.
He and Terra also needed water shoes, which took some effort for him. Truman’s didn’t have his size, and one of the other camping stores only had super fancy $40 ones, which is ridiculous for just playing in a river. So we dropped the food off and visited some other stores.
Basically, Terra and I managed to go shopping in the fucking woods. The gift shops are all pretty cool and carry all sorts of things, from souvenir hoodies and shirts to jewelry. I mean, there’s knives and moccasins, incense burners and sculpted gemstones. I forgot a hoodie for myself, too, so I grabbed one, which was pretty much identical to Terra’s hoodie. It’s not my fault it was the cutest one in the store. We also found jewelry. Again, not my fault that the gift shop stocked really cute, nice silver jewelry–I got earrings and a ring. Paul did manage to find his water shoes, as well as a knife. Oh, and I bought a cute knit blanket that got added to the heap at bedtime.
Paul put up with us pretty well, but I knew he wasn’t crazy about, you know, shopping in the woods.
And we just hung out the rest of the evening. Someone left an old copy of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or whatever in the bedroom, and we started reading from it. And we found ourselves criticizing the plot holes. And twisting the stories into tales of modern social issues. But we had fun. I mean, Terri and Dave overheard us from their spot on the porch, opened the door, and just kind of peered in with this “what the fuck are you saying” look, but we had fun.
We went for another walk to the meadow, and we sat around the campfire making marshmallows.
I didn’t read my book or write in my notebook because I was too busy hanging out with the people I was with and just enjoying their company and my surroundings.
And honestly? There are very few people I could spend a weekend with in a trailer in the woods.