Sunday, August 07, 2011

Dez Vs. Nature

I've always had a complicated relationship with the outdoors--the complication being that I like nature, but I suck at it.  It all started when I was 12 years old and I went to a week-long summer camp in West Virginia with my best friend, Kristen.  Despite a variety of mishaps that indicated otherwise (including having a boy cast his fishing hook into my chest), I actually thought I was cut-out for camp life.  It wasn't until we embarked on our 3-day backpacking journey into the woods that I realized there was a problem.

We had partners for the hike that we shared a backpack with.  I'm not talking the latest neon-green JanSport that I had bought for my inauguration into middle school.  I'm talking one of those heavy-duty cross-country beasts.  A backpack of myths...something I had only heard about but certainly had never seen before.  Kristen, who has always been far more nature-inclined, offered to carry the backpack first so that I would take over at the half-way point.  After 4.5 miles, the time had come.

I've decided that it's best to convey what happened next in cartoon-format.
(Forewarning: I also have a complicated relationship with "Paintbrush for Macs")

I tried not to be intimidated:
But it was easily 3 times my size.  The camp counselor slung the beast onto my back and my body immediately started shaking.  The top of the backpack caved beneath the weight and formed a hat on the top of my head, covering my eyes.  It took all my strength to lift my right leg.  As I tried to find my footing for that first step, I kicked a tree root and it was game over.

I fell face-first into the dirt and couldn't get up.  I was being smothered by the backpack.  This is it, I thought.  This is how I'm going to die.  

Instead, the counselor made Kristen carry the backpack the rest of the way, allowing my traumatized self to enjoy a breezy 9-mile hike.

Fast forward to the present.  Now, I only camp during music festivals.  And even then, I cheat.  Refer to these loving portraits of me and my fan from our recent trip to Floydfest as proof:
How I do camping

It's the only way to go

While I've admitted to myself that camping isn't for me, I refuse to give up on hiking...but perhaps I should.  A couple of weeks ago, I went hiking in Shenandoah National Park with my friends Patrick and Chad.  The only thing funnier than going hiking when you suck at it is going hiking with people who are worse at it than you are.  This is what Patrick looked like the entire time:

Pretty much sums up Patrick's feelings about the hike

When Chad asked one of us to carry the backpack, I promptly fled and hid behind a rock.  I wasn't going there again.  On the way back, we were all pouring sweat and fed up.  The "gorgeous waterfall view" we were hiking to ended up being a tiny rock peeing way in the distance.  Chad had a grand idea of taking a short-cut that he knew oh so well...even though he had never been on this hike in his life.  Patrick and I were in the middle of smacking him (there was no way this was actually a short-cut) when we heard it.

A loud rustling in the trees.  What could it be?!!  It was getting closer.  Was it a bear?!  A wolf?!  A crazed lumberjack?!

We grabbed onto each other for dear life.   

Huddled on an edge of this dirt path looking like a downtrodden version of Dorothy, The Lion, and The Tin Man, we waited anxiously.

A deer came into view.  It stopped to graze just before hopping onto the path about 10 feet from where we were standing.
Do deer hurt you?? 
They can!! If she has a baby around, she will attack us!!
We're dead.
I started pinching Chad on the arm.  This is all your fault!

We shared some panicked glances with the deer before she sprinted off.

What actually happened?

Peaceful deer stopping to graze right next to us, creating a gorgeous scene to end our hike.
What we saw?

Blood-thirsty savage
(My laziness outweighs my capacity for embarrassment, so instead of actually putting forth any effort on revising these cartoons, I posted them in their original glory.)

In light of this recent adventure, I think it's time to give up on my battle with nature.  I never stood a chance.


Ixy said...

Love it! This post reminded me of Hyperbole and a Half, my favourite blog ever. It took a very unpleasant rain-filled weekend for me to realize once and for all that I hate camping, and should probably stick to hotels with a minimum 3 star rating.

TriGirl said...

Stopping by from Comment Love day. I LOVE this! My first (and only) trip abroad was when i was 17. While shopping for my adventure I tried on an empty duffel bag in the store and promptly fell backwards. You are so funny and your drawings are kind of awesome :D

Sylvanfire said...

I love the cartoons!! You're whole post made me laugh! Stopping by for comment day!! BUT I'm glad I did!! You rock!

Nick said...

Dez, this was hysterical. I feel like, even to this day, Bacon has never let go of having to carry the backpack that extra 4.5 miles. But what do you do?! Haha, if you give up on hiking, I am going to give up pretending to want to sit outside and eat when it is still a little too cold.. that is ever so slightly more specific than yours but I feel like it is warranted. I have had to do that so many times and maybe its time for a change.

chocoholic said...

haha! found you on 20sb! love the cartoons

Remy said...

I will never be cut out for camping. NEVER. NEVER. YOU CAN'T MAKE NE!

Anonymous said...

hahaha! this reminds me of my first moutain climbing experience, i pissed off my entire group. :P don't give up, lots of surprises in the outdoors await! :)

Desire' said...

Ixy- thanks!! hyperbole is my favorite blog too, so i'm very flattered :) and hahah yeah i completely agree with the hotel thing! i've decided i AT LEAST need an RV next time haha

TriGirl- i've been following your blog for a while now and your drawings rock! you crack me up! i'm glad you understand my back-pack woes! :)

Sylvanfire- thanks for stopping by :)

Neech- bahaha you know i've never lived that down. kristen brings it up everyday...will neva fo'give me!

chocoholic- glad you stopped by!

Remy- hahah we try so hard

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Absolutely 100% in agreement on the camping thing. My sister & friends go to this lake in the middle of nowhere to go camping in the summer. In effing ARIZONA. Went in July. Almost cooked. No I'm not kidding, I think my internal temp went up to like 100,000 or something. I will stay at the hotel up the street from now on & just do the occassional swim in the lake/drink beer with the gang thank you very much.

Liz Taylor Training said...

A fishhook in your chest?!?! OMG