Things I’ve Learned About Camping

I will preface this story by telling you that I watched The Blair Witch Project three days before I went on this camping trip. 

Lesson #1 is don’t watch scary movies before you go camping, especially movies that involve camping or forests.

Since it’s still October and I’m still in a spooky mood, I’m going to tell you about the last camping trip I took in Gros Morne, Newfoundland. This happened a long time ago, I think in … 1998 (yeah, I was living in a particular house, so it must have been the summer of 1998).  

The trip was with 2 friends and we planned to hike the Green Gardens trail in Gros Morne, which has lots of cool trails (I still want to hike the Tablelands some day).  I also have no shame in admitting that I was the greenhorn of the group (I think that means what I think it means).  I have a lack of upper body strength, I didn’t have a proper backpack, and I was lucky that I had a sleeping bag.  The good part was that my friends didn’t mind.  Or, at least, they never told me that they minded.  We piled into K’s car and drove up to Gros Morne, listening to songs like “Janie’s Got a Gun” and “The Roof Is On Fire”.

Between the three of us we had 3 packs – the Green Bitch, which had the metal supports on the outside (and could easily dig into your lower back); the Red Bastard, which was heavy as hell; and The Other One, which was the easy to carry pack.  We basically switched packs every so often, making sure that we all had a turn to enjoy the discomfort.

Lesson #2 is get a comfortable backpack.

The hike was really nice and Green Gardens is a very pretty trail.  We hiked the smaller portion, stopping to set up camp.  We had a huge tent that we were all sharing, and we were pretty close to the rickety stairs that led down to the beach.  We’d brought a small propane stove and prepared for the night.

That’s when the 3 flashlights my friend had brought died.  All 3 of them.  Me & S hadn’t brought flashlights, so we were without light.  Well, until a nice hiker from Quebec loaned us a headlamp he didn’t need.

Lesson #3 is that fellow campers can be awesome.  We’re all stranded in the woods, so we might as well be nice to each other.  And for the reverse, if you can help someone you should do it and be a good neighbour. 

It was a great trip except for the side effects of the aforementioned movie.  There were sheep (which become 500% scarier in the night), and there was rain.  To my brain the water hitting the side of our tent sounded like someone splattering blood after murdering all the other campers in their sleep.  Of course nothing happened, but it was still unnerving  (especially for a person with an overactive imagination who’s read too many scary stories).

In the morning we packed up and hiked back to the car, avoiding a confrontation with a moose.

Lesson 4 is if you can avoid a moose, do it.  Don’t go for a direct confrontation, because that’s just stupid.  Sheep are okay to chase, moose are not.  I’m pretty sure that a charging moose will go through you.

And Lesson 5, the most important lesson, is to hike with awesome people.  Because they are the ones who make you think back on the trip and remember how awesome it was (even if all of your backs were hurting from that horrible green pack).

But you should still pay attention to Lesson #1.

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