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This is a question The Great Outdoors

Deskbound says: Camping! Hiking! Other stuff that's not indoors! Regale us with your tales of the great outdoors, whether it involves being rogerred by the Scout Master or skinning your first rabbit.

(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 14:49)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Vegie Balls.
On my 1st Outward Bound (Yr. 10 in High School) we were given a plastic sheet & 4 lengths of rope and told to drape the sheet over some branches, make balls of vegetation in each corner and tie the ropes around them to an anchor point.

One night we setup camp and settled for the night. A night that included force 9 gales (told to us later by a ranger), hail and many of us losing our "tents" and getting drenched to the bone. A night where I saved our "bivvy" (plastic sheet tent) by getting up in the middle of the night and laying on the outer edge of it after it had repeatedly blown loose.

The following morning it was so windy that we couldn't get our breakfast fire going - we couldn't even get our trangia stoves (a solid fuel/kerosene "wind-proof" stove) lit.

Then someone gave a shout.
In the Southern Ocean beyond the headland where we were camped (INORITE!) were two Southern Wright Whales and their calves calmly swimming around in the clear blue water. They swam around for about half an hour as we broke camp. Fucking magical.

Didn't stop us from being cold, wet and hungry for most of that day tho.
(, Sat 31 Mar 2012, 9:20, Reply)
The t-shirt doesn't fit any longer.
As a kid I was in Cubs, Scouts (including Sea Scouts) and then Venturers, I went to a private school where I was a member of the Outdoors Adventure Club (we had our own budget), I took part in some of the Prince of Wales Awards, I've done Outward Bound twice (including the 30 day program).

I've walked a good portion of the Bibbulmun Track, the Murchison Gorge and our group was the last ever to walk the Wittenoom Gorge before it was closed.
I regularly used to drive out into the bush of a weekend and just bivvy down for a couple of days.

Now I'm just fat and middle-aged.
Oh, the stories I could tell.
That will probably follow (for the dumb-asses who couldn't figure out the ohh-so-subtle placeholder).
(, Sat 31 Mar 2012, 8:41, 8 replies)
Royal mess
When I was a young teen I belonged to the Royal Rangers, which is sort of like Boy Scouts in a church. I joined because I was excited to learn about camping and outdoorsy things, but it ended up being more like a Wednesday night Sunday school than anything useful for camping.

We did go on one camping trip, however. The group leaders and some of the older teens set about pitching tents, which took literally hours as none of them had any idea on how to do so. Likewise for getting a fire going, as all of the kindling was damp.

Hours after our arrival, and slightly past sunset, the leaders finally set about the task of cooking some food for all the hungry kids. Hamburger patties were cooked over the fire and passed out to a group of 40 or so starving teenage boys, who immediately wolfed down every bite placed in front of them.

Skip ahead to about 2 hours later, when the first vom bomb went off behind the tents. Within half an hour or so, everyone who had eaten a hamburger had liquid beef coming out of one end or the other - sometimes both. Everything was quickly packed up, the vans loaded up, and we were all shuttled back to town where our parents had already been notified and were waiting to pick us up at the church.

Moral of the story: Those who can't set up a tent or get a fire going properly probably shouldn't be trusted to properly cook the hamburgers, either :(
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 22:24, Reply)
There's a drain cover right by the front door of my house.

(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 19:55, 12 replies)
I spent a month in a tent this summer
On a (very cheap) campsite in Cornwall. Low points included:

The temperature sinking to 4oC - quite a lot lower than my sleeping bag was rated for. I woke up at 3am, colder than I think I've ever been before, and huddled into a ball to wait for the sunrise.

The temperature rising to an estimated 40oC+ inside the tent as soon as the sun did rise, making lie-ins impossible unless it was overcast.

The wind keeping me awake all night by rattling my tent until it sounded like a troop full monkeys with maracas were dancing around me.

Eating a pasty that had spent two days in the passenger footwell of my car because I had nothing else to eat.

Getting up at 6am, in the rain, to chase a group of seagulls around and around my tent because they had stolen my cheese slices.

Having to hunt through my entire car on the way home for the 14p extra I needed in order to pay the toll on the Tamar bridge. I was only going to Plymouth to borrow enough money from a friend to get my car home.

That being said, some high points:

Being one of the first people to hear a great friend of mine was engaged, then meeting her fiancée.

The sunsets over Watergate bay and Fistral beach with a drink in one hand and music in the background.

Having a crack (unsuccessfully) at surfing.

Teaching my new friends power kiting in return for food, beer and floor space in their beautiful clifftop house.

Girls in tiny bikinis.

Girls in even smaller bikinis.

The experience of having no internet, no tv, no radio, no distractions and nothing to bother me.

Gail's breakfast rolls from the Harbour Hill takeaway, Newquay. Mushrooms, sausages, egg and bacon wrapped in two entire baguettes, all for only £3.50.

Seeing an incredibly drunk man in a morphsuit trying to eat an ice cream without removing his facemask, and wondering why it wasn't working.

I'm going back this summer.

Edit: Incidentally, the tent I used was an £8.99 job from Aldi. It is broken now, but it held together when I needed it to, and because I pitched it properly (maintaining a space between the inner and outer walls) I didn't once get wet.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 18:46, 2 replies)
Massive drugs!
My first acid experience was not so much like dipping my toe in the water, more like bellyflopping in from an orbiting satellite. But then I’ve never really done subtle…

The first time i ever went to an outdoor rave also happened to be the first time i dropped acid. This was with a mate of mine who had tried it before, once or twice, but was in no way a veteran of psychedelia. We were both young, naïve and quite, quite drunk.

We left the train station after coming from a nights drinking in Brighton, and we were immediately asked by these two other guys if we were going to this rave. We knew nothing about it - so asked where it was, and tagged along with these two, sharing a taxi.

We got to the site, a few tents, with a few travellers outside, listening to a stereo.
Not much or a rave, really. We looked around, thought “oh well, it was worth a try”, and started back to the main road. it was then we noticed several people actually walking through this small campsite, further away from the main road. So, using the zen method of navigation, we followed them…
…through a small wood…
…and over a hill…
…and through another small wood…
…and there it was: lights, sound system, banging music, all soundproofed and invisible from the main road by the South Downs and the wooded areas. it turns out the first small campsite was a warning outpost, i think, possibly to deter unwanted revellers (but then again in might just have been some people camping).

So we get to the actual site, and my mate says we should buy some acid. So we do - one each - and stash it in our top gums, and go about exploring the rave.

Nothing happens for about quarter of an hour. The psychedelic Smarties just weren’t hatching…

So we buy another one, leave that in our mouths. Some effects eventually start to make themselves known, which is all very good, but the whole experience was much milder than what i was expecting. “oh well, maybe they’re weak” we think - and look to buy some more - but we’ve only gone and run out of money.

So what do we do?

Went round begging for drugs money.

Even asked some travellers, which got a “you joking, guys?” response.
anyway, pretty soon we had enough for another three more trips, so we shared them.

And it was really only after we’d ingested the last half each, the first one really started to hit home.


And we’d done three and a half trips each.

Our heads turned inside out. It was so raw, to primitive and tribal - the whole experience. insects flying past turned into one dimensional comet trails of tracers. The people dancing morphed into one whole pulsating mass of writhing limbs, pulsing as one huge undulating entity. Kaleidoscopes of fractals before my eyes exploded into impossible colours of ever-more infinite beauty. We talked, laughed, and pondered . . . everything.
Including how to sit down, i remember . . .

Many many hours later, we walked the fifteen miles home (as we had no money). We were ambling down the middle of a twisting, tree-lined road in Sussex, as there were no vehicles using the road at all, for some reason. Just idly strolling down the road, chatting about what tripping was like, laughing till our sides hurt and our smiles ached.

Then: a terrific, blood curdling roar screamed down the road next to us, far too fast to see, the sudden noise tearing apart the serene early morning quiet like a jet powered hound from hell barking out deafening thunder.

We looked at each other, both totally and utterly freaked out and terrified…

…and then another blur of noise and violence and colour tore past us, scaring us so much we jumped into the hedge at the side of the road, hugging each other in fear, wondering just what was going on.

Then another dozen or so of these ultra-fast bellowing monsters stampeded along, racing past just inches from where we were lying in the undergrowth, cowering in absolute abject horror.

Turned out that’s why there wasn’t any traffic on the road. a local club of enthusiasts had cordoned off the stretch of road we were walking down, and were racing their motorbikes along it in the early morning.

That’s how I lost my LSD cherry.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 17:02, 10 replies)
Half a dozen lads fresh from leaving school decide to go on a camping/fishing weekend.
We'll call the instigater of the weekend 'Jim'. Jim's sister dropped us off at the campsite, which was a freshly harvested hay field owned by Jim's dad. The field sloped gently down to a stream at the bottom and the hay bales were stacked by the gate ready for collection. Once we'd got the tents set up we realised that the fishing rods were still in the back of the car so it'd just be a camping weekend. Jim, who’d volunteered to bring food had only brought Pot Noodles and crisps. He’d bought a gas stove but the bottle was empty. We had a couple of disposable barbeques but no one liked the idea of using stream water they weren't used.
As we got bored quite quickly we soon wanted to find out how heavy hay bales were and decided that we'd see if we could move one. We could. What we couldn't do was stop the thing. It gathered speed as it went down the field, straight over Jims tent, through the fence and into the stream.
That night, whilst I was doing my own crop spraying, the geniuses huddled in my tent were feeling the cold chill of a summer evening as they hadn’t brought sleeping bags as ‘it was summer and we won’t need them’, thought they'd light the disposable barbeque and put it in the tent for warmth. On returning to the tent I requested they remove it as it wasn't a good idea and on lifting it up found that it had melted a hole in the groundsheet. I was peeved and let them know that.
The next morning we packed up and Jim called his dad from a phone box to come and collect us. When he arrived we chucked our stuff over the gate and started packing the car up. Jim’s dad was looking a bit perplexed and said “What were you doing in there? My field is the other side of the road.”

tl:dr - Don’t go camping with anyone who hasn’t been in the cubs as they tend to be unprepared.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 15:54, 2 replies)
Dead animal trip.
Father and I were ambushed into going to Scotland with some family friends to stay in a "charming" cottage next to a lake for a week.On the way there, a deer jumped in front of the car and was killed "almost" instantly ("almost" because it was bleeding profusely,panting and pooing lots - t´was finished off by a man with a hacksaw,poor bugger.)We arrived at the cottage - as promised it was charming and pretty and rural and everything you don´t give a shit about when you´re 17 and traumatised by a recent beheading...Two days later it was infested with flies.Biblical style.We couldn´t sleep or eat in the cottage,such was the magnitude of the invasion.So we slept outside.With a herd of cows.And no tents.
The next day we investigated the source of the fly-plague,and after about 3 hours, discovered a bloated,pungent,almost-green cow carcass about 30 feet away in a bush.
We decided that enough was enough,so our fortnight long holiday was cut short - we went to the nearest town (Oban) and spent 3 days getting pissed on some rather lovely Scotch.
I would rather be shot through my eyeball than go camping/lake watching/anywhere rural again.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 14:40, 3 replies)
the 16th stapenhill goes to anglesey
On the second night, all our sleeping tents blew down (bar one - which had been ptiched the wrong way round, bell end downwind *snigger*).
The troop made it to the big mash tent which then also blew down.

We also went to Bangor on a day out and got spat at by the locals.

Loogies and dismal weather. Scouting, Camping, Wales or all of the above?
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 13:50, 13 replies)
Bit of a pearoast, but people enjoyed it before...
Back when I was much much younger and still in School, trying desperately to get my funk on with just about any female willing to try it (little did I know that it wouldn't happen for several years to come), I somehow befriended someone who would later become one of my better male friends in School.

His name was Ryan. Before you get excited, no I did not bum him, nor did he bum me and, sadly, this part of the story more revolves around him than me.

Anyhoo, being at an all-boys school certainly wasn't helping my heterosexual case at all, but little did I know that Ryan was, in fact, gay. I had no problem with this, he had always been a good friend to me in a strictly friends-only sense and in fact I was a little bit intrigued. I'd never met a gay person before, despite Ulster apparently being the gay capital of the world (if that statistic includes lesbians, it sure as hell explains a lot on my end, but I digress...).

The day Ryan came out to me was an interesting one. He didn't confess his love to me or anything, I just had a damn good intuitive sense about things. For instance, being young boys we would naturally imply that the other loved the cock. One day, as per normal, I said something like "Ahh Ryan you big Gay, you love the cock". Naturally, he responded "No I don't!", for fear of being assaulted by any of the Chavvy types that might be listening nearby. I then replied with "sure you do, I bet you had a lovely big cock right up your arse last night and everything", to which he replied "...n...no!".

What was that?
A pause?!?

"Wait a second!"
"y..you....you did! You really did!".
My voice quickly died down, yet there was clear exclamation.

I had always suspected Ryan was a bit gay, that was half the reason I teased him about it, but he always denied it. Until now.

"You're gay, aren't you? Just admit it!"
"...ok....yeah...but don't tell anyone"

Ryan was gay. Suddenly the world made a lot of sense, for the brief few seconds before he made his next comment:

"I lost my virginity last night"

At this point, I'm still in a little bit of shock at Ryan finally coming out, then he lands that bombshell. I'm all for equality, but I didn't really need to know that. I think my brain was still processing it.

"We did it in the hedge just outside 'spoons"

Ahh the local drinking establishment. Low-brow enough to serve those who are barely 16, let alone 18. Suddenly things start to make sense.

Ryan then proceeded to go into quite graphic detail about how he got bummed in this hedge for the first time. My fragile brain was beginning to crumble under the pressure.

Amidst Ryan's descriptions, he added "...I had so much fun, I dropped my bottle of coke!".

That was the end of his story and now I had some of the best graphic imagery of one of my best mates getting bummed for the first time. Fan. Tastic.

Skip forward about a week and suddenly, my ship had come in. One of the local, not-quite-so-posh girls got drunk enough to kiss me. With Tongue. Woo-hoo!
Next came actual gropage. I could have came right there and then and still been brimming with joy, but I didn't expect her to do that thing where they wink at you with her tongue sticking out. I knew what this COULD mean, but while I was busy processing it, she was already tugging at my arm.
She drags me off away from the other people who were out having a drink and a spliff that night, around the corner.
Soon enough, we reach a hedge that she pulls me into. She pushes me onto my back and that's when it REALLY starts to get heated. This was it. This was my big moment. Mr Wrigly and I were about to set sail, I was about to become a man. And she was pretty hot, as well. I didn't care that she was a bit skanky, I didn't care that she was quite drunk and I was completely sober, I wanted this, I wanted this so bad. I did care, however, that something was sticking into my back.

"Hold on a second, love" (Because in Belfast City, everyone is either "mate" or "love").

I reach under and pull something out. It was a half empty Coke-bottle.
I immediately realised where I was. I was in the bushes outside wetherspoon's. I was holding the bottle of Coke Ryan lost. I was in the exact same spot he lost his Anal virginity.

And that's when the images came. They were graphic enough without knowing the scenery, now I knew the layout, how hidden it was, what you could see. I was probably looking at the exact same telegraph poll he was when he was on his back (Yes, apparently gay people can do it like that as well, you just have to raise their legs a...nevermind). I could even see what looked like hand prints in the dirt. Hand prints. Pretty dug in, too. He must have been ridden pretty hard.

Hard. I remember that feeling. That feeling that disappeared the second I realised what the object poking into my back was. I wasn't the only person to be "Poked in the back" in those hedges.


Mr Wrigly had gone home for the night, cowering away in fear at the nasty thoughts going through my head. It didn't take long for "the one" to get bored and hop off to go look for a "real man" who could "get it up".
My chance. Gone.
All because of a Gay boy called Ryan. Who incidentally became a complete whore and figured since I was the only one who knew about him, that he could tell me everything. EVERYTHING.

I wouldn't lose my virginity for 2 more years later.


P.S. Sorry about the length, but Ryan thought the girth was fantastic.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 13:48, 7 replies)
Pilton Pop Festival (Glastonbury) 199 ... 4?
12 of us managed to get in.

As evening fell, we remembered none of us had brought a tent, a sleeping bag, or basically anything other than a bit of cash, a fuck-load of hash and enough tobacco to get us through the weekend. Thankfully it was bloody lovely weather, so it wasn't too much of a concern, and the general consensus was that we would simply burn through the weekend on a blaze of massive drugs, drink, and sheer rock-hardedness

2am saw my best mate and I sitting at a beer tent, drinking and smoking and discussing life, increasingly incoherently as the chemicals took effect.

We decided that all the people and lights and noise was all a bit too intense, so we elected to find somewhere chilled out.

"Vagabond!" said my mate, "Vagabond!" I opened my eyes to see him proferring a joint, "Breakfast!" he said in the darkness.

I sat up, and dutifully toked away, as he lay back and looked at the stars, and promptly fell to sleep.

"Vince!" I said, shaking him, "Vince!", and he blearily opened his eyes, "Breakfast!" I said, proferring the joint.

This scenario repeated itself a couple of times, until people started kicking me in the fucking ribs.

"What the fuck?!" I cried, "What the fuck did you do that for you stupid cunt?!" I said, very much enangered.

Someone else came and kicked me in the ribs, and then had the audacity to apologise! "What the FUCK?!" I shouted, "REALLY WHAT THE FUCK?!" a new person kicked me, punched me in the shoulder, and waking up, I found that we had both passed out right in front of the main stage, and the mosh pit was forming all around us in time for the first of the day's acts.

Rude awakening doesn't cover it - I'm just glad no one pissed on us.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 13:10, Reply)
I went to help with a car rally.
The start, finish and division break were in the cleared land either side of a multi-kilovolt power line.

I set up near the edge of the clearing along with most of the rest of the crowd and never gave the power line a second thought.

Darkness fell. A car load of blokes arrived and started to set up a big tent about ten yards from mine. After a few minutes there were cries of dismay coming from over there. I thought they'd pitched on an ant nest. The half erected tent was pulled down quickly and dragged to the side.

Sparks were coming off the tent poles.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 12:51, 5 replies)
Here's what I did after work last Monday.
I did it outdoors...

(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 12:28, 1 reply)

I caught a glimpse of a Girls Guides' bush and I made a tent in my trousers.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 11:04, 2 replies)
I went outside once
it burned, IT BURNED!
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 10:56, 1 reply)
Why I live in Scotland

That's a cheeky wee pint of Schiehallion beside Loch Broom. One of many sharpeners before tramping across six Munros in two days of glorious sunshine - while the less fortunate were watching the Royal bloody Wedding.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 10:27, 18 replies)
I'm off to Iceland on Monday to go snowmobiling across a glacier.

Wish this question was next week - I might have had something interesting to say.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 10:26, 4 replies)
the only good thing about the great outdoors, period.

(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 10:12, 8 replies)
On one of the many outward bound team building trips I endured as a nipper.
There was an excersise where we were divided into 3 or 4 teams of 10 and were tasked with threading 50 metres or so of rope through a forest for our rival teams to follow, blindfolded.

This was when our devious plan was hatched. We started by threading the rope through some undergrowth, around some trees and through some spiky bushes. As there was a boating lake at the edge of the forest we threw the rope across one swampy edge of the lake so our rivals would find themselves up to their knees in muddy pondwater. Finally we threaded the end of the rope through the middle of some military style tent that had clearly been there for years and was part of some other task, finishing by threading it through some more bushes.

Later that evening we were all blindfolded and escorted to the start of eachothers ropes and instructed to find our way to the other side using teamwork. The winning team would win some beer tokens we could redeem at the Bar.

As we started to thread our way along the rope we'd been assigned I remember our team chuckling with glee at the misfortune of whichever team got our rope, right up until the point we found the rope led us through a large tent.

(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 10:11, 1 reply)

I have been to many festivals over the years and am used to stumbling back to my tent in various states of intoxication depending on whatever chemicals and alcohol I'd imbibed during the day. The following morning I'd wake up aching, bruised and de-hydrated beyond belief and blame it all on whatever chemicals and alcohol I'd imbibed the day before.

Then a couple of summers ago I had a bet with a friend who said i couldn't stop drinking for three months.

Stubbornly I took the bet and was two thirds of my way into winning the bet when the secret garden party festival loomed up. A load of us had bought the early bird tickets nearly a year before and we were all gearing up to go. This was going to be the test of my resolve. I had gone two months without any drink or drugs and thought I could handle going to a festival without my usual festival partners.

The hardest part was the first day when we all arrived and everyone was very excited setting up camp and the beers were still cold from the supermarket. I resisted the temptation of a cold beer literally minute by minute until we all went into the festival to see what was going on and the temptation was less.

Then during the course of the evening and the rest of the festival all my friends proceeded to get properly festival trashed and them saying "Oh you're doing so well", "Are you sure you don't want some of this?", "Just have a cheeky one" and "I wish I didn't drink so much" kind of wore thin after the tenth time they said it.

Every evening I would go back to camp alone (leaving girlfriend out) because I was knackered from all the walking and without any stimulants I didn't have the energy to carry on into the night like the rest of them.

On the way back I would, without fail, trip over guy ropes, fall into holes and get lost and not be able to find my tent in the dark. Even during the day I tripped over a hole in the ground and three guys sitting having a smoke pissed themselves laughing. I told them I hadn't drunk anything but they just laughed more. I could see in their eyes "Why?"

Every morning I woke up aching, bruised and de-hydrated, especially if the sun was shining. I had always thought it was the chemicals and alcohol I'd imbibed the day before but it's not. I've worked out why I wake up like that.

It's because CAMPING IS SHIT.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 10:10, 2 replies)
Pearoast from CP
Stony cove rocks................
Not as hard as my head apparently.

Some years ago I was spending a happy day with a few of my thirty-something mates all round Stony cove, a popular scuba training spot in the midlands. With us was my mate Spence, an ex-Marine mountain and arctic warfare specialist. He'd brought along ropes and climbing gear for the afternoon's fun.

And fun it was! Loads of abseiling and rock face scrambling, all done under the supervision of an accredited expert in the field. The last thing we were to learn was "the pendulum". In essence, this manoeuvre sees you at the end of the rope, half-way down the rockface, running/swinging across to find a handhold. I elected to go first.

The first two swings were a bit hesitant so my mate encouraged me in his gruff marine way by calling "RUN YOU MINCING CUNT!"

So I ran.
As fast as my legs could carry me, bearing in mind I'm 60' down a 120' sheer rock face with a deep, cold lake at the bottom, but I sprinted!

Did I mention that I'd elected to do this without a harness? Just a strop, looped round my legs and waist and fastened with a carabiner? Rope looped through a descender? No?

Then read on.

10 yards before the end of my run I realised I was going WAY too fast so, I tried to slow down. Unfortunately the friction between my boots and the rock was even less than that between fresh poodle poo and parquet so my legs flew out in front of me. In accordance with the laws of physics, my head then rushed towards the rock with equal speed. It seemed to take about two hours from my slide to the impact, but impact it did. I blacked out.

My friends watched me hit and they thought at the time it was unsurviveable. Within seconds, one had called the ambulance, two others abseiled down to me and found CP unconcious and gripping the rope like I was pulling Gary Glitter off one of my daughters*.

The ambulance arrived in minutes, by which time I was already at the top, sitting up wondering why my head hurt. At the hospital I was X-rayed to buggery, had all sorts of reflex tests and kept in overnight.

1 bruise. Didn't even break the skin.

I was so proud of my new-found indestructibility, I strutted to the nurses station to get discharged (insert smutty comment here), basking in my superheroness. They gave me back my clothes minus my trousers and grots.

"Where's my trousers and pants, did you have to cut them off me"? I asked, still swaggering a little.

"No, we threw them away 'cos you'd shit yourself" she replied, beaming.


*Original euphemism deleted due to extreme non-PCness
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 9:17, 8 replies)
My dad used to take my brother and I camping, when we were young.
Kind of fun, sitting around the gas stove, cooking bacon and beans and pretending to be cowboys.
One time, we were having a kick about. It was hot, so we were just wearing our shorts (steady, nonces); I managed to fall down a ditch, and disappear into a particularly large nettle patch (maybe not so large, but size is relative), stinging pretty much all of me. First time I can remember ever going in to shock.
Not a bad holiday, though. There was a three legged cat, living on the site; turned out that a neighbour had taken umbrage to it shitting in his garden, so had caught it and chopped its leg off with a spade.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 9:12, 2 replies)
I have an open fire
at home.

I took the bit where you put the coal out of it, and left it in the garden.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 8:59, 3 replies)
The Wilderness
My father and uncles were great hunters - never a shortage of venison, elk, bear, or moose steaks in my house. Growing up in the american west we had access to tremendous outdoor resources. We had a large farm, and maintained both horses and mules for the express purpose of camping and hunting.

A couple times a year my father and I would pack our supplies and regalia into our stock truck, load Princess Jaba and Shazam, the horses; and Henry, Bubbles, and Little Joe, the mules, and head out.

Our favorite spots were in the Selway-Bitterroot wildferness. The forests there are pristine, and primeval in their wildness. No machinery or engines, no trace of modern life. On one trip up the Selway river we negotiated a cliff-face trail with our little pack string. 18"-wide trail: look down off the toe of your right boot and you can see the river 200' below, reach out with your left hand and touch the cliff that rises 300' above you. Ran into an 18-head string going the other direction, longest string has the right-of-way. Spurring our horses and dragging the mules into playing mountain goat is a special kind of thrill.

Our most memorable trip was up Warm Springs creek off the Lochsa river. We were kitted up in our wool trousers and shirts, pistol belts strapped on (in case of snake or bear), leather creaking as we headed up the trail. We you would have to dig into our packs to see any difference between us and prospectors of centuries before. We passed the first springs, a muddy hole that attracted most casual traffic, not that this trail was well-used. We turned a corner a mile farther and beheld something wonderous:

The trail widened into a grassy meadow. On the left steam boiled off an impossibly hot spring. The water flowed down across the trail, mixing with the ice-cold creek (snowmelt, even in July) in a series of rock-walled pools. Sitting in and around the pools were a dozen or more flower children - all nude. They stared at us, amazed and likely wondering if whatever they were smoking had caused a hallucination. We stared back at the unusual but not unwelcome scenery.

We rode 100 feet up the trail, in silence, before my father turned around with the biggest grin I've ever seen. "Pretty good camping trip so far, huh?"

That trip saw him get kicked in the head by Bubbles, Shazam and Little Joe upside-down in the creek, and us being stalked by a grizzley for a few hours, but yeah - best trip ever.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 5:24, 1 reply)
Solo trip
It was 2001, and I was in the process of breaking up with a particularly awful boyfriend. I decided that what I needed was a solo trip around Ontario: I'd take my kayak, and camp wherever I found myself.

One of my first stops was at a national park on Georgian Bay. You had to kayak in and out of the site; it was on an island. I was pretty familiar with the area, and felt pretty safe. It was early May, so it was quiet. I didn't see any other campers on the island. I set up my tent, properly stowed my food to keep it away from the animals, and settled in for the night.

At some point during the night, I was awoken by the noise of something in the bushes. I wasn't too sure what it was, but it sounded pretty big. I was fairly sure it wasn't a raccoon. I'd never seen or hear of a bear on the island before, but I was pretty sure that was what I was dealing with. I lay there afraid of making any noise or making a move for fear of attracting attention. After a while, I decided to reach for my cellphone; I thought I could call the ranger station and get some help. I blindly groped for my cellphone and turned it on... to find it didn't work in that area. I lay in the tent for the rest of the night, paranoid that every noise was a bear.

Finally, it was light, and I felt brave enough to open the tent flaps. There were paw prints in the sand, the bear had played with the kayak during the night. Luckily, nothing was damaged. I threw everything in the kayak as quickly as I could and got the fuck out of there.

It was probably one of the scariest experiences of my life, but the trip on the whole was pretty amazing. I stuck to campsites a little less off the beaten path for the rest of it, though!
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 3:31, Reply)
Growing up in Canada
Growing up in Canada, and going to school filled with shiftless hippies, I went on a number of ill-conceived and poorly executed school trips in the wilderness. The most memorable was certainly a grade 8 (we were probably about 13) trip to Tamagami, which is right up in logging country in northern-ish Ontario.

Now, our class teacher had decided our adventure was going to be a canoe trip. I had never set foot in a canoe before. Most of the others in my class had some canoeing experience, but no one had much more than a passing knowledge. On day one, we drove for almost the whole day to the base camp where we were supposed to pick up our rental equipment, get a quick crash course in canoeing, and set off.

After getting our gear, we got the basics of canoeing lesson. I was a fat kid - there's no way around it - and after they'd made me tip my canoe, there was no way I was hauling my fat arse back in there. After a number of very undignified tries, they gave up and paired me up with two guys from my class with slightly more experience and better upper body strength than a pudgy 13-year-old girl. Finally, we got all the gear in the boats and were ready to start off.

Unfortunately, while we were getting ready, the wind had picked up somewhat. And when I say somewhat... I mean rather a lot. Our teacher made the decision to set off anyways, so off we went. It was supposed to be an easy one hour paddle. It wasn't. It took us almost three hours to cross the lake, and the waves were so large, I spent most of the trip bailing instead of paddling. We were going against the wind, and sometimes it felt like we were hardly moving forwards. Finally, we made it; we were the very first canoe at the campsite! Unfortunately, as we looked behind us, it became apparent that things were going to be pretty lonely. More than half of the canoes had already returned to the base camp, and word came to us that we'd have to go back, because the weather was just too bad.

The trip back was much faster because the wind was coming from behind us, and we were back in less than an hour. We found out that most of the other canoes had capsized at one point or another, and that our teacher had lost about half of his clothes in one of the overturns. I was pretty lucky: my stuff was fairly dry, but I was definitely in the minority. We set up tents near the beach and settled in for the night.

I've spent some miserable nights under canvas, but that night really took the cake. The wind was so strong that our cheap dome tent was almost flattened by it; the fabric was inches from our faces, and there was water everywhere. The temperature was close to zero C - it was early October - and we were cold and wet. The morning dawned, and it was still cold and rainy, and some other people's tents were in even worse shape than ours. The base camp had a summer camp on site, and our teacher made an emergency agreement with them to rent some of the cottages. They were just big old buildings with about 20 bunk beds in each. We spent the rest of the week around the wood stoves in the cabins while it poured and stormed outside; I don't think we ever got in the canoes again. It was a pretty brief brush with the wilderness.

All in all, we ended up having a pretty good time in Tamagami, but it was a miracle that no one drowned or got hypothermia. These days, someone's parents would probably sue.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 3:08, 1 reply)
Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger
When we were about 15 some friends and I went for a three day hike in the dales... On the second night we camped in a field next to a small copice of trees. I was awoken in the early hours by something in the tent. I assumed it was my mate Eddie coming back from taking a piss when I heard the weird snuffling/growling type sound. I sat upright to see a badger in our tent helping itself to the food we had brought for the weekend. I woke Eddie up to show him and we sat and watched the badger pork its way through corned beef sarnies and then not being able to figure out a bag of crisps. It then noticed us, Shat and made a bolt for freedom and on it's merry way.....
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 0:56, Reply)
A mate of mine from uni (this is about 30yrs ago)
had a Scottish surname, even though he was deeeeeply Cornish. He'd never been, so I said "Hey, let's go bivvying in the land of your forefathers". He agreed, and we set out to the wilds. It turned out that I knew what I was doing, and he didn't. I had the kit, but he didn't. It also turned out that it was the worst winter Scotland had seen for a loooooooooooong time. There were 10ft snowdrifts on Skye FFS.
His winter kit was a pair of army and navy boots (holed) and a bike jacket (real leather though..).
We survived, he got laid (and closely avoided a severe beating) and for some reason I joined a team for the annual Dunvegan village quiz, which we won (despite one of the tasks being 'Complete the following well-known Gaelic proverb...)! My name is still on a trophy shield somewhere.
One night we met a bloke in the bar of the Misty Isles Hotel who heard of our bivvybag insanity, and said 'I'd not let a dog sleep out in this' and promptly invited us to his home on a peninsula with a view (which we woke up to in the hungover morning) that would make a poet from a London traffic warden.
I still have a picture of me doing the -12 but sunny topless pose by the lochside (blue nipples).
I had my first ever cannabis(pipe)-induced out-of-body experience from a snow cave we dug on a hillside at the northernmost tip of Skye, when I found myself floating between the inner and outer Hebrides, watching a pod of probably fictitious orcas swimming leisurely like oversized dolphins in the winter anticyclone-flattened sea, from a few hundred feet up.
Don't expect a punchline :@ )
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 0:32, 2 replies)
First time camping as a Cub Scout
Got forced to go camping on a weekend as a 6-7 year old, holed up in a large tent with about 10 other kids. Middle of the night I needed to pee so bad so I crept out of the tent as to not wake anyone and headed down to the festival style porta-loo...only to find another of my fellow campers cowering in the confines of the loo holding his undies in one hand and completely covered in shit. And i really mean COVERED in shit.It was even on the walls. And the smell. Oh the smell just almost made me puke. We looked at each other and he said in a quiet voice, 'Help'.
Without a word 7 year old me slowly closed the door and crept back to the tent and waited until morning, holding my almost bursting bladder.
Never saw that shit covered kid again.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 23:39, 1 reply)
I took it outside and painted it today
Not that great though...
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 23:35, Reply)

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