Ship of Fools

July 28, 2010 at 11:40 pm 4 comments

“We don’t camp,” my mother intoned. “Since when did I raise you to go camping?”

Good question, I thought. No matter, though, because I was headed off on a camping trip that weekend, whether I was someone who camped or not.

compassI’d done my research. According to the guys I worked with, when a group of twentysomething young professionals goes camping – a group whose regular outdoor activities primarily consisted of hungover co-ed touch football games followed by bloody marys – there isn’t typically a whole lot of roughing it and hunting for our supper and building shelter from twigs and leaves. No, they assured me, more likely, this camping trip would entail drinking games and pairing up.

That sounded like something I could handle.

The first day of our trip to someone’s uncle’s cabin alongside a river in the north Georgia mountains pretty much lived up to that description. Oh, we had some minor discomforts. All 15 of us slept in the cabin’s living room, sprawled out across the dusty chairs, sofa and floor, because the fireplace vented smoke and char directly into the upstairs loft space, making it a little less than pleasant to sleep up there without a gas mask.

And sure, it wasn’t so great that we couldn’t seem to understand (or be bothered to understand) the finer points of proper outhouse maintenance.

But overall, it was actually quite nice. We had a kitchen. We had an outdoor firepit. We had beer. We had beautiful scenery. We had the river.

I guess it was only a matter of time before someone would come up with the brilliant idea to connect up the rafts we’d found behind the cabin and spend a lazy day floating down the river.

Combine the mountain air with fireplace fumes and large amounts of cheap beer, and suddenly a bunch of city-slicker twentysomething idiots think they are perfectly equipped to go “tubing” in tiny old rafts down a fast-moving river in an isolated area with no life jackets.

Well of COURSE one of the rafts ended up flipping over and disconnecting from the others. And of COURSE it was the raft I was on.

lifesaverI remember our little rubber boat flipping out from under us and trapping some of us (including me) beneath it. The next thing I remember was some distant survival instinct kicking in as I grabbed onto whatever sturdy thing I could find. That sturdy thing turned out to be my friend Neal’s leg; he pulled his leg up from the water with me attached to it like a barnacle.

We weren’t quite ready to laugh about it, but we gave each other looks that said, “Assuming we survive this unbelievable stupidity, we will laugh about this later.”

We were back above board, but we were struggling to maneuver the raft toward the riverbank so we could keep from hurtling down the river at topspeed.

The other rafts, still connected to each other and managing just fine, had floated to a stopping point further downstream. Our friends were now heading back on foot to try to help. I saw a few of them talking to some strangers across the bank who had happened upon our pathetic little scene.

Eventually, we managed to get ourselves hauled in to the shore, a little shaken, a little scratched up, but happy to be on dry land. As we sat around the campfire that night, with my mother’s words echoing in my head — “We don’t camp” — I asked my friends what the strangers had said to them on the bank of the river that afternoon. The answer:

“Your friends aren’t real smart, are they?”

This post was prompted by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: “Describe a memorable camping trip.”


Entry filed under: Best Friends, Don't Try This At Home, Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Heaven and the Flipside The Road to the Middle of Nowhere

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Robin  |  July 29, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Nice! Glad to see this.

  • 2. Holly  |  July 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

    What memories thou, right? lol
    Visiting from Mama Kats writers workshop.

  • 3. Melva  |  July 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Oh gosh…well glad it turned out of…I’m not twenty-something any more but I do remember a few memorable experiences involving camping and beer. lol

    (From Mama Kats)

    • 4. marlainkontheside  |  July 29, 2010 at 6:57 pm

      Memories like these make me somewhat relieved not to be twentysomething any more…I don’t know that I could survive it again!

      Thanks for stopping by!


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