Camping trip was a success. Such a success, in fact, that we brought back the lovely aroma of campfire to our house. Why is it that every time we go camping, I forget that we will have that scent in our lives for the week following the trip? I have washed my hair 3 times, and sent all our clothes through the washing machine to no avail. I hope our house doesn't catch on fire - I'm not sure I would notice.
I really enjoyed our time in the great outdoors, with the exception of the following: the bears and the bees... (RunnerGirl would argue that I should add birds to that list - from her personal aversion, and also to create a more ironic title).
Scout and I were the first to arrive at the campsite on Saturday. We stepped out of the car with our yummy sandwiches from the Yellow Submarine (our favorite sandwich place in Tahoe - we might be partial based on the name alone). Plopped ourselves down on the picnic table, enjoying the great outdoors... and were immediately joined by 20 bees. They were clearly more interested in our processed meat sandwiches than any food they might scrounge up in their natural habitat. To avoid accidentally swallowing a bee trying to nibble off our lunch, we headed for the safety of our car. Yes, we ate our lunch - in a campground - inside our car - with the air conditioning blasting. Very outdoorsy and environmental of us.
As always, the campground has a form you must sign upon entering the park acknowledging the danger of bears and vowing to place all food items (including toothpaste) into the bear lockers provided at each site. Should you fail to comply, a $1,000 fine will be assessed... if you manage to survive the night without getting eaten by a bear. I have signed (or seen) this form many times, and always have the tiny nagging fear in the back of my mind that a bear could come into my tent and devour me while I slumber. Scout assures me that I will not get eaten by a bear, but I have seen Grizzly Man, and - spoiler alert - he most definitely was eaten by a bear. Could happen.
Due to the fires in Tahoe, and the destruction of their natural habitat, bear sightings have been more prevalent recently, and unfortunately, someone in our campground saw a bear on the first night. This news travelled faster than the high school rumor mill, and was all the buzz in our campground.
At the restrooms, random dad was waiting for a group of kids to make their last pit stop before tucking them into their sleeping bags for the night. The kids were riled up about the bear sighting, and to assuage their fears, he told them, "The bears are always there - the only difference between last night and tonight is that someone actually SAW them." Um, is that supposed to be comforting? Now you are telling me they are always there? I like to think that if I can't see them, they AREN'T there (mild panic ensues). He continued, "The bears are not interested in us - they are only interested in our food, so you shouldn't worry about them." One of the boys bravely proposed, "And they are more afraid of us than we are of them, right?" Random dad chuckled and replied, "No - in this case, you are definitely more afraid of them." I second that motion. And thanks Random dad, for not making me feel any better about this bear situation.
My first night was spent listening for giant footsteps, and jumping at every light I saw through the trees (in case the bear coming to sneak attack me was carrying a flashlight?) We heard gunshots at 1:30am - what? Were we camping in the hood? A bear drive-by shooting? Bear gangs? Scout suspects it was merely a noise scaring tactic. Which clearly means the bears were too close to people. Not helping...
The second night, I developed a highly complicated plan... drink enough beer to bring my judgment down just enough notches to quell my fears, but not so many notches that I would have to get up during the night to make the lonely trip to the restroom. You never know, that bear could have been waiting for me, if he knew I had to pee in the middle of the night. Those bears are smarter than you think.
Scout said he was proud of me for making it through the night without freaking out. Yes, I am a master of overcoming fears... with 5% lager assistance. I think this method will work great for the future... can't you just see us, heading out for a family camping trip, Scout advising the kids, "Remember to brush your teeth and put on your PJs early, cause mommy is going to have to drink herself silly so she isn't afraid of the bears." What a shining example I will be.
Or, maybe I could submit a comment to the campgrounds of the world to please not allow bears or bees at their facilities. They ruin the great outdoors.