Sunday, July 08, 2007

How I Knew...'s been quite a hectic 72 hours but things are moving right along. I opted for a dress and it arrived and it fits (aside from a massive hemming still pending) so there's that. We've decided kinda sorta to just do cheap-ass cake ourselves and save the way-too-much-money cost of the catered version. And we've Trooper's attire arranged. So all things wedding related are a Go. Except rings. RINGS! Dang it, I KNEW we forgot to get something. OK...breathe. Just have to pick them up. It's okay....

OK! So anyway, as I was saying, How I Knew - how I knew that Trooper and I were probably going to be fine forever and ever...

In Georgia, people enjoy backpacking because going north of Atlanta is a relief from all manner of oppressive BS. Of course, there is the light frisson of terror in the vein of Deliverance, but one gets away from the small towns eventually and there is a release. I happen to love backpacking - and by this I do not mean camping in which one drives up, drops the tailgate and proceeds to empty out 500 pounds of food, beer, chairs, grills and bedding.

No, I mean "carry it on your back or do without". I can carry my own, too. I once had to carry my own and another beotch's crap to the tune of about 125 lbs. This time, Trooper and I were spreading the load and it was a much more reasonable 45 lbs or so. Easy peasy. And, being the neurotic person I am, I had everything laid out and a checklist to hand so that we didn't forget a thing. And we didn't.

So we park the truck and hit a trail to camp by the Chatooga later. We passed by the closest spots - you could see the evidence of previous parties and by that I mean Partay's and continued along until we were at the river itself. The slight drizzle started just as we got to camp but the canopy kept much of it away. We set up the usual stuff - food in the bear bag hung well up the tree far removed from us, the wood gathered for the evening, the latrine scoped out and shovel made handy, the packs hung from the strung line - all of it.

And then, we took out the tent and poles.

Well, see - my ex had every kind of tent and pole and piece of gear known to man and I had taken what I thought was the matching kit - tent and poles. I had not. No, I didn't unpack the damned things and do a test run before leaving the house. I considered it and then remembered how much of a pain it is to repack and decided once on the trip would be enough. Well, someone's training came in handy that night. And just in time as the rain became considerably more determined to soak us. The canopy was dripping by now so there was no escape.

Within a few minutes our bed for the night was created, the bags laid out over the Thermarest's, and we bedded down as best we could. And here's the evidence.
As you can see, it was a...small camp. Yes...and as the night passed, we'd wake to the tap-tapping of the rain, look at each other and just laugh. Yes, we laughed. And THAT was when I knew that we could get through just about anything.

No blame games, no bitching, no "let's just go sleep in the truck". Just the rain, kisses, and crazy laughter.

In the morning, the rain became a mist and the dawn light showed us how primitive the camp really was - when we took this photo. We'd not been sure in the night just what we'd done, only that it was warm and dry. And then came the real moment of truth - starting the fire in all that damp.

Sorry Trooper...

See, he was all about his magnesium starter stick thing and it did make a glorious little spark. Very pretty. But not doing much against all that damp. So, I headed off to the tree line and took out what vertically hanging deadwood was there, took a bit of dryer lint from my ditty bag and scraped some candle wax all over it and whoosh! Fire! Oh, glorious fire. I fed it sticks and then more wood, split to open its dry interior and we had something worthy of the breakfast to come. He still claims the candle wax was cheating but it mattered not at all in the moment. And it was far from his mind when the bacon, eggs and taters hit his plate.

We left later that morning, laughing much of the way back, pausing to take off layer after layer of clothes as the heat rose with the sun. To this day we just shake our heads over that night in the woods. And even now I remember it as the time I knew - I knew he was the one for me. Romantic, no?

(As an aside - a lesson learned from a prior trip - that sanitizing hand gel? Really not intended for cleaning those tender girly parts...yowza! Live and learn, peeps.)

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