Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Camping with the Guys

This last weekend one of my high school friends was back home in the state for a couple of weeks on leave from serving in Afghanistan. While he was home a group consisting of me, him, and six other guys from high school got together and went camping at the Old Barn in Lanesboro. Traditionally this group of guys, minus me, go there every year. This last weekend was only the second time I’ve ever made it and they’d been going every year since we graduated high school. I would have liked to have gone all of the other times, but usually whoever decided to put it together each year would only tell me about it a couple of days before it happened and I would usually already have plans.

But this year I made it! We were able to schedule it better since there was only a two week window that Adam, my friend serving in Afghanistan, would be home. I got there Friday night about an hour after they said they’d be there, but there was no one at our campsite. I drove around then entire campground wondering if they’d somehow given me the wrong campsite number, but I didn’t see them anywhere. Turns out that the guy driving didn’t leave until after an hour past his scheduled departure time since he had to mow some of the lawn so his wife didn’t have so much to do on her own.

…Wow, that last sentence kind of scares me for two reasons. First, he’s letting lame-ass yard work get in the way of coming out camping with the guys and second, he’s letting his wife regulate his life, even if it is somewhat indirectly.

Anyhow, once everyone got there we started up a fire and cooked ourselves some supper before spending the entire evening just sitting around, burning logs, talking, reacquainting each other with what’s been happening in our varied lives, and trying to light our farts on fire. It was an all guys camping trip after all…

The next morning we all groggily woke up after the sun started baking us in our tents. Camping companies should seriously look into making tents that don’t turn into pressure cookers at the first sign of sunlight. We all grabbed some food in Lanesboro and then headed out kayaking on Root River for about four and a half hours.

Root River is an interesting “river” for kayaking, mostly for the fact that in many places there are lots of very shallow passes where your kayak can get hung up. I’m pretty sure each of us ended up having to maneuver ourselves off of a bed of rocks at least once or twice. What was really fun, though, was watching a couple of the guys totally dump their kayaks when they came to a couple of spots where the river narrowed and pretended that it had rapids.

Besides watching the guys dump their kayaks, we were also treated to some choice heckling from a few old guys that were just hanging out on the banks of the river. For the most part you couldn’t decipher what they were saying, but I did catch one phrase and it had me in stitches for a few minutes. He was yelling at us about some rock in the middle of the river which he said, “Would leave us deader than corned beef if we hit it.” That’s right folks, deader than corned beef.

After our kayaking adventures we spent the rest of the night grocery shopping, burning things, cooking, and trying to light more farts on fire. In between those events we did manage to get some volleyball and pool time in, which was nice, but since we’d all seen plenty of sun out on the river it was nice to sit in the shade by our campsite.

In the morning we all went our separate ways with a few more memories lodged in our brains, a few more things to talk about and reminisce over in a couple of years when we all get together again. I miss those guys and wish that we all weren’t so far apart. At least we have these annual trips, right?

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