Davis Crockett

Somewhere along the way I developed the reputation among my family for not being the manliest of men. This reputation is not entirely ill-deserved. Every time I take my Vespa – manly! – in to be repaired my mechanic calls his daughter and tells her to study hard because Harvard is suddenly within his financial grasp. “Mr. Bell, I have bad news. Your scooter needs a new kidney.” “A new kidney? How much will that cost?” “70,000 dollars.” “Wow, do you think the scooter is in pain? I hope not. Let’s do it!”

But as is often the case with reputations, mine for being an effete urbanite is not entire accurate. Because guess what? I actually really love to camp. So there, everyone! (Wrist slaps at everyone.)

This weekend Melissa and I grabbed Lyla and a few friends and headed to the Catskills for some backpacking and camping, and while camping I had a few thoughts about camping that I’d like to share:

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Everybody’s happy!  At the beginning of the hike!

1.  I have no idea why, but every time I encounter a sign of civilization when camping – a power line, a rock wall – I get a little depressed.  It’s sort of like being at a movie you’re really enjoying and have managed to completely lose yourself in and then having the teenagers behind you start making out.  I know that’s a silly and absolutist mentality, and that to get to a place where there are no signs of the modern world I’d have to go further than I’m currently able and willing to go .  But that’s how I feel.

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2.  Did you know they have special new marshmallows designed specifically for S’mores?  They are the size of a baby’s head.   A large baby’s head.  A large, delicious baby’s head.  Everybody knows that it’s a scientific fact that food cooked over a fire after a long hike is the best and most delicious kind of food.  In addition to S’mores I ate two hot dogs, which I ended up burning pretty badly.  It didn’t matter.  They were cooked over a fire after a long hike, so they were delicious.  And just to verify this fact by taking it to its logical extreme, I cooked and ate a flashlight.  It was delicious.

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3.  Just because I like camping doesn’t mean I’ve very good at it.  Not two seconds after this picture was taken I tripped on some underbrush, falling flat on my face and losing the hatchet seen in my hand in the process.  It took 4 of us about 5 minutes to find it 10 feet from where I fell, causing me to realize I had very nearly scalped myself.  Anyway, the point is that I cut a huge log with a hatchet and I really enjoyed it.

4.  On a note somewhat related to my second point, I like to feel like I’ve done something really difficult when I go camping and hiking.  I like to feel like the hike I’m on is punishing and something that only the foolhardiest of souls would attempt.  I sometimes get convinced that this is true because my legs and back and shoulders are telling me that the hike I am on is punishingly difficult, and because I am outfitted with equipment for the harshest conditions.  And then we come across a family of 5 with 3 little girls, all carrying their little water bottles, or a retired couple wearing all-white Nike mall walking shoes, and it kind of ruins it for me a little bit.

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5.  There have been some jokes made on this blog about Lyla being a purse/Paris Hilton dog, mostly by Kook.  I’m pretty objective about Lyla, and am fully capable of recognizing her faults.  But I’d be lying if I told you I’m not impressed with how she performs when we hike and run with her.  We’ve been an all-day hikes and 7-8 miles runs and still haven’t pushed her to the point where she isn’t straining against her leash, dying to keep going.  For a 7 lb. dog with 3-inch legs, I find that pretty impressive.  Kook, how does your dog perform in these situations?  Oh wait, I forgot, Mr. Dog Lover Himself doesn’t even have one.  My bad.

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15 Responses to Davis Crockett

  1. Christian says:

    I have one, I just keep it at the inlaws house. In Georgia. He is a tough, bigger dog and his name is Ranger.

  2. Layne says:

    Good stuff Davis. I’ve been to New Paltz in NY and it was beautiful. Living in a desert, I feel like I’m always going to a place where there are a lot of trees and how beautiful the forests are.

    One question, so did the dog come with the marriage or did you already have a mini-dog named Lyla? The former is understandable, but the latter is, I gotta be honest here, a little wierd.

  3. Macy Bell says:

    I have seen those marshmallows. So crazy! My kids love them.

  4. Andrea W. says:

    I am super intrigued by these marshmellows, I don’t know that I’ve seen them. Your hatchet story made me really nervous, I was laughing so hard but was having to really fight thinking about what could have been. Scary! Also, your #4 killed me, little girls – lol. Sounds fun, I’m glad you enjoy camping, we need to do more of that.

  5. Macy says:

    On another note, I didn’t know you loved to camp?? Is this Melissa’s influence?

    I am not much of a camper, but Lucy and I did spend an hour or so at the REI sale on Saturday and I was a bit tempted by some of the gear. You can so go all out on that stuff and spend so much $$$. It is unbelievable. And then there are the campers we saw on the way to Morgan on Monday with their campers or tents just sitting in some ugly sage brush…DEPRESSING.

  6. Davis says:

    Kook, it’s fine. It really is. Not everyone loves dog enough to have one.

    Layne, I love New Paltz. We ate dinner there during Ragnar, and then had breakfast there this weekend. Beautiful, charming little town. We got Lyla when we were engaged. It’s not something I would have done on my own, but now that it’s done, I’m pretty attached to her.

    Andrea, I’m not kidding about the little girls. We ran into a cute little family with kids aged 6 – 10 on the trail, and it really took the wind out of my sails.

    Macy, I’ve always loved it, but never really done it since I left Scouts, until now. That I do it now is definitely Melissa’s doing, for which I’m very grateful. I totally feel you on the gear. I could spend thousands in those stores. I love them.

  7. Ryan says:

    I love camping. The only reason I don’t do it is because I don’t have anyone that initiates the camping, and I feel inadequate to initiate it myself. In other words, you are really lucky that Melissa does that for you. Move to Utah and let her do it for everyone here too.

    And I totally agree about vestiges of humanity intruding on a camping scene. Really, really lame to see stuff like that. Except for the junk that was always laying around in Farmington canyon. All the super-rusted, dliapidated car junk that was always there just made everything seem even more wild and remote, for some reason.

  8. Rachel says:

    I guess right now would be the best time to tell you that a THIRTEEN-year -old boy just hiked Mt. Everest.

    So…put your lollipop down and let that sink in. 🙂

  9. Ben Pratt says:

    I love being outside, but especially outside of urban areas. It turns out that across the street and two doors down from my house there is access to a huge Natural Area, and it really is mostly natural. I love to wander around down there. The first time I tried it, I learned that you should never follow game trails if you want to come back the same way. It took me a while to get out of there. At least I came across some really pretty foxgloves. There are deer and bald eagles down there, and also lots of Ukrainians for some reason. True story.

    Oh, and some of the best things down there are the rusty, abandoned cars in the woods. What? There are at least six of them. Rather than take away from the scene, they add to the wonder and mystery.

    I’m totally with you on camping, but I just haven’t gone very often, possibly because camping with children is approximately a bajillion times more work than camping with your buddies.

  10. Jenny says:

    Mmmm…. Campfire food. I must hunt down the s’more marshmallow you speak of. I love the crunchy charred outside shell when you overcook campfire marshmallows or hot dogs. It’s the best part!

  11. Braden says:

    I hate camping. It is hell. But I am totally with you on being depressed by signs of civilization when I am forced to go camp. Way to go Lila!

  12. bbells says:

    can we talk about how annoying it is when people make s’mores everyone thinks that their own technique of roasting the marshmallows is the best technique. Not only do they think this they also want you to use it and implent it, i love smores but i am just so sick of people giving me unsolicited advice on how i should roast my marshmallow. also, its totally annoying that people constantly refer to them as “mallows”….just a thought

  13. ron says:

    would you think less of me if i told you that my idea of camping is staying at the motel six instead of the marriott?

  14. Mike says:

    Never-fail antidote for the letdown of seeing little girls and mall-walkers also on a treacherous hike to the ends of the earth? Find a long-dead tree and push it over. You won’t see any white shoes engaging in that kind of activity, and the feeling of manliness will quickly be replenished. Works every time.

  15. Man, I’m with Ron – just not a camping type person. I’m much more of a beach person than a hiking/mountain person. Maybe it’s because me and Zack practically grew up in the OC (remember?). Zack likes it okay, especially the campfire part. That’s the worst part to me. I hate smelling like smoke – clothes, hair. Yuck. Eating s’mores definitely makes it almost worth it though. I haven’t been since we had kids. The little girls part had me laughing.

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