it takes a village…

I came up with the bright idea that we should all go camping at Montana de Oro after I camped there on Labor Day and just fell in love with it. I mean, how could you not?

So I suggested that we do a camping trip there, with a side trip to Hearst Castle, San Simeon and Cambria. Because that would be a fun way to spend a weekend. Oh, and there would be hiking to be done as well, of course.

I figured we’d take ten or twelve people. My girl roomate and I; D and her roomate K, and two more of our girlfriends – the six of us who are the core group of everything we do. Then there’s a few boyfriends/guy friends of the girls – four more. Then there’s other miscellaneous people. Like my friend Kat, who we knew through Matt (“and sooner or later, there’ll be a hat!”), or my guy roomate, or any of the random people we talk to and invite to go.

D forwarded out the camping invitation today to forty people. Even at the 25% acceptance rate we expect, that’s still a whole freaking VILLAGE of people. There’s her roomate K’s whole band, for example. There’s the girls we were hanging out with tonight, one of whom has a boyfriend who plays guitar. Now it’s a village with its own band of musicians. This could get absolutely ridiculous and hilarious.

Of course, when I camped with my friends in BC, we had a surplus of tents and equipment. Everyone had tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, everything. Here, people barely have sleeping bags and they’re uncertain about what, exactly, is involved in camping for the weekend. There’s a lot of campers in California, just not among my friends. So this isn’t like Camp Whisky, where we handed out the directions (“go past the jail, and the second jail, and turn left off the road”) and assumed people would know what gear and food and liquor to bring. I’m fielding questions from “do I need my own tent” to “what do you eat at camp?” to “do I need to buy a sleeping bag?” I might have to hold a village meeting and hand out kitlists. Someone has got to teach this city how to camp like Canadians.


1. Pick a site you don’t necessarily have to pay for, like one right off the Trans Canada Trail (but not ON the trail, or you’ll get fined)
2. Load in all gear to chosen site two hundred feet from the cars and dig own toilets without thinking twice about it, because you are Canadian and know how to do these things
3. Make comments the WHOLE TIME about how this isn’t REAL camping because you’re not packing your gear and water in over a twenty mile hike.
4. Load in the alcohol and place in river to cool BEFORE setting up camp, because that’s more important
5. Cook “meatmallows” for dinner. Serve with “hobe juice”
6. Pull beer out of river BEFORE COFFEE at 8am. Announce that Guinness is “what’s for breakfast”
7. Spend an hour hiking and hucking rocks into the river before getting bored and going to the local waterslide park Screw the wild.

The best part? I was an amateur camper, at best, in BC. I knew people who were far more hardcore than I would ever be. Here, I’m considered an expert. My roomate and I are already plotting a slightly more hardcore weekend which will involve white water rafting out east of Bakersfield for later this month as well. Living in a state where it doesn’t get rainy and cold makes camping way more fun!

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