June 11, 2015

First Forays Into the Woods… Sans Phone

Whew! The downside of unplugging is that when you do plug back in, things get a little hectic. This week has been rather crazy for me work-wise, and since I didn’t get back to Colorado until 1am Tuesday, I also haven’t had a lot of time to get stuff done at home either.

Confession: that doesn’t mean I skipped going to see Colin Hay and Barenaked Ladies at Red Rocks with my friends last night! Despite a poor forecast, it was a gorgeous night.

My time camping with Adam in Arizona was a lot of fun, though, and I am proud to say that I literally didn’t check email one single time while I was there. I put my phone on airplane mode as soon as we pulled into the campground, and didn’t turn it off airplane mode till we left (only 48 hours later, but still). I ended up leaving it in the car half the time, and then hooked up to a solar power charger the other half the time, since my phone was draining surprisingly fast even though it was on airplane mode and I wasn’t using it. Perhaps Adam was taking advantage of the fact that it wasn’t constantly tethered to my hand in order to go through my call/text history? ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, the real downside of not having my phone was that I didn’t get any pictures of the weekend. Fortunately, Adam is much more capable of using his phone in reasonable amounts than I am, so he was able to not be a phone addict but still take lots of pictures. Thank you for these, Adam!

Friday night, we got in when it was still light out… but the sky was really dark anyway because it was unfortunately pouring rain ๐Ÿ™ However, our camping compadres made the best of it by dragging all the canopies to one area around a fire, where we had a fun night sipping drinks, making s’mores… and eating pizza that our host Kelly’s parents had picked up from Costco so we didn’t have to attempt cooking in the rain. Delicious!

In further not-quite-roughing-it news, Kelly and her husband Ryan generously offered to let Adam, his son, and me sleep in their pop-up camper, rather than trying to pitch our tent in the rain. So sweet of them to offer that up! Although at first I teased Adam about not being authentically outdoorsy, I was really grateful for the warm, dry, and comfortable bed, especially with the crazy thunderstorms that were happening all night long. I was scared enough of the storm while in the camper; I would have been freaking out if we had been in a tent!

We woke up on Saturday morning to a teeny tiny bit of rain, which made me nervous, but it cleared up by 9am and then was gorgeous. Hooray! Adam made an amazing breakfast skillet with eggs, bacon, and hash browns, and I pulled out the Starbucks Via Instant Coffee to add to our pot of boiling water. We know how to eat good camp food!

I was just excited that we had been able to start a fire even though it was raining all night long! It eventually got bigger as the fire ring dried out and the wood started to catch better.

We spent the morning puttering around the campsite relaxing (sans electronics), and I have to admit, it was nice to not be on any kind of schedule! After some time playing Bingo with the kiddos, I headed over to the adult area where people were starting to collectively cook lunch on one of the grills. Benefit of camping with a big group: you don’t always need to be the one to start the fire! After lots of grilled everything to fill our bellies, we then spent the afternoon playing Cards Against Humanity, sipping beer, and generally goofing around.

Group shot as we all busily study our Cards Against Humanity to decide if we should play “Surprise sex” or “Figgy pudding”. It was obviously a stressful time.
This pic, with Ryan photobombing in the background, is pretty much my favorite one of the trip ๐Ÿ™‚

We spent Saturday night in the tent, and despite the fact that Adam wussed out and had us sleeping on an air mattress with real pillows/sheets/blankets (what kind of camping is this?? Glamping, I say!), staying in the tent was pretty much my favorite part of the trip. Cozying up all three of us for warmth, waking up to the sound of birds all around, and being especially warm under the blankets when the woodsy cold air is nipping at your nose… I love that. Ironic, since I hated the outdoors as a kid, but now I can’t wait to go again! (And fine, I will concede that I never would have been so comfy or stayed so long in bed if we had been on the ground instead of on an air mattress. So perhaps that will be coming with us next time too.)

The morning ended with a modern-day camping tradition: attempting to recreate something I saw on a camping Pinterest board. I undertook the task of halving some oranges and scooping out the middles, then filling them with Krusteaz blueberry pancake batter, wrapping them in foil, and tossing them into the fire.

Will it succeed or will it fail epically? Keep reading.

Okay, not into the fire since Adam told me that would be a terrible idea (I still think it would have just cooked them faster!), but onto the grill where we kept opening them every two minutes to see if they were done and stop them from becoming a Pinterest fail. But they didn’t! Mine didn’t come out quite as golden brown as the pictures, probably because we were so impatient, but they were definitely edible… and actually delicious. The orange peel gave them just a tiny bit of extra flavor, but they weren’t overwhelmingly orange-y.

Success! They didn’t explode or burn to a crisp, and we could actually eat them after without fear of death!

However, the effort to carve up the oranges was not really worth the result – so we ended up breaking out the griddle after and Adam cooked the batter as pancakes instead! I think these would be fun for kids in the 6-10 year old range, where they can help you make them, but it’s not really worth all the trouble if you as the parent have to do all the work. Save your energy for chasing the kids away from Cards Against Humanity when you’re about play a particularly raunchy card ๐Ÿ™‚

All in all, this was an amazingly fun weekend – and it made me crave even more camping. I can’t believe that I’ve spent an entire year in Colorado and haven’t gone camping once! (Well, except for that very ill-fated night on Mount Princeton.) But Adam and I are now planning to make up for lost time, and have been seeking out a backcountry site for this weekend. I have already told him that if we have to hike to a site from the car, he can’t carry the air mattress, but since he is the one generously working out all the planning, I think that just means we’ll be glamping close to our car. No matter – I don’t know that I’m quite ready for hauling everything in on my back yet, either! (And that air mattressย was comfy.) But whether we make it to the backcountry or just to a regular dispersed car camping site, I’m just excited that I’m learning to enjoy some outdoor activities and appreciate nature… even without my phone in hand.


4 thoughts on “First Forays Into the Woods… Sans Phone”

  1. what’s the secret to cooking in foil on a campfire?

    A nice solid, thick bed of coals. You know, how a charcoal bbq will look when the briquettes are ready for the meat? That’s when you know you’re ready to cook with foil.

    Get those coals ready. Place a foil wrapped orange in the middle, roll the orange 90 degrees every 2-3 minutes and remove in 10-12 minutes. Perfection (or as close to it as we’ll get!).

  2. Seriously, the fire and food were some of the best parts. Although, hanging in the tent is a very close second, for sure.

    I think you did really well having unplugged for the weekend. Like you said, there is usually stuff that piles up, but it is a good exercise in prioritization. I really struggled with not essentially working through every single weekend / vacation when I first quit my first job for sure.

    Can’t wait to glamp this weekend! I think the spot we found won’t have TOO much vert. But, if it does, at least there won’t be a bunch of scree to slow us down! #Words

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