Things Are Not Always As They Appear


A few years back Derek and I decided to go on a beach camping trip. At that time we had been together for 6 years and had never been camping. I’m a camper and typically, a proverbial ‘happy camper’. This trip would ultimately cause me to reevaluate my entire stance on “roughing it”. 

It’s said that rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck. While I’m sure that some well-meaning Maid of Honor devised this tradition on the spot in order to cheer up her soggy bridal best friend, I’m not sure that the rain=good luck notion can be be applied to camping. Above is an image I shot while we were en route to our ‘fantasy island’. The rain was coming down so hard that visibility was at 0%. We pulled over to wait out the storm. The car’s A/C was broken, so our steam mixed with the outside precipitation created this image on my passenger side window.

While in the car and only 20 minutes from our destination, we strongly debated just turning the VW around and heading home. I troop, I’m a trooper, I’m a super trooper, so I convinced good ol’ practical Derek to see our journey through. We were almost there!

So, we waited out the storm,pressed on and we got there! Where we got was the nature center/camping/ferry check in that would usher us to our lush, secluded island. I had researched my little ass off because that’s what I do! I price shop, I read reviews until my vision blurs and I make calculated decisions about the best places to spend our vacation money.

Apparently, my endless searching had blurred my vision a little too much when it came to Bear Island, NC. Our car was loaded down with provisions such as hot dogs, cherry strudel and contraband liquor and beer. We were ready to cruise the little hatchback on to the ferry but our spirits were crushed as a passenger only ferry came in to view. The car would have to stay behind. We had already paid our non-refundable lodging fee and had to determine our necessities on the spot. Derek and I seeing the long night ahead of us quickly loaded the cooler with as many adult beverages as we could and packed the hot dogs and strudel on top. A promised personal grill awaited us on the other side.

On the 30 minute ferry ride we were growing nervous as the beacon of civilization grew miniscule in the backdrop, One amorous 50+couple were making the trip with us and seemed as if they knew what they were getting in to. Only small hiking backpacks adorned each one and I detected an ample amount of granola bars protruding from the man’s backpack. I instantly felt sorry for them and the fact that they would be missing out on the charred, smokey goodness of Hebrew hot dogs. Poor bastards! 

An unsettling but not yet ominous announcement was made by the ferry captain just a few minutes from our arrival point. He warned us that the next ferry would not arrive until 10 a.m. the next day.We departed the ferry and began to make the long walk, thankful that our adult beverages had not been searched or confiscated. Still excited to reach our paradise, we kicked off our flops and began the mile long journey of toting 50+ pounds each through soft sand while barefoot. We barely but finally made it to our campsite with burning calves and so many bug bites. Blue Lagoon this was not. I had expected a desert island but I got the desert. Foliage apparently took one look at this place and decided to hike it’s leaves between it’s tails and get the hell out of there. We were on an island of shrubs. There was no promised grill and the strudel had become water-logged.

In defiance and disbelief, Derek pitched a tent in the sand while the wind was rolling in. I was so impressed and sooo hungry! The stars were obscured by clouds and nothing presented itself as kindling for fire due to the terrain and the wet nights that had preceded our coming. 

We had a tent, we had one creepy bluish lantern and we had tequila! Derek dipped in to the tequila with a heavier hand than usual and I consumed cold, uncooked hot dogs while I watched him ‘fiesta’.
We were up at the crack of dawn the next morning; grumpy, smelly and hungry. The ‘rescue’ ferry couldn’t come fast enough.
After this night of roughing it, we pretty much concluded that we are hotel people. I’m sure that we’ll try our hand at camping again but only after I get the taste of water logged hot dogs out of my mouth.
Two good things came of the experience: I’m happy with the above photo that I snapped and we got a good story out of it.

What is your worst camping/vacation experience? Do tell!


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