Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camp Life

"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."
- Steve McQueen

If you're thinking of going to one of the wild places for any period of time, there are certain comforts of home that you should be prepared to do without. Like bathrooms. If you'll be spending any of that time in salt water on or a beach, you can expect to be rather uncomfortable for most of your stay.

Without a reliable freshwater source to rinse off with, our rods, reels and skin were left to the mercy of the salt for our 8 day adventure. There was chaffing. Thats all I am going to say about that.

Open blisters are painful, but sand in those areas, inside your wet shoes, makes for an excruciating, shuffling walk. There was no escape.

Our limited supply of clothing was rotated in a three day cycle. I saved 1 of my 3 shirts until the last day, as a kind of reward to myself for making it.


Replenishing lost salts and carbs with canned meat and liquid bread.


A tree and a roof rack supported the hammock each night.


Twice, the wind blew our tent a few hundred yards down the beach. Having your headlights illuminate an empty space where you know your stuff is supposed to be is a pretty bad feeling. We hitched the tent to an 80lb log one morning, only to find 100 yard drag marks and the tent hung up in the bushes upon our return. After that, we took it down each morning.


The baking morning sun woke us each day and alerted us to the few hundred bloodthirsty insects that had alit on the bugshield of our hammocks, unable to reach us until we exited the cocoon.


Five-Star accommodations.


Adam forgot a toothbrush. The general store was closed for the first 5 days of our stay. You do the math.


We chanced upon a closed-down and boarded-up beach bar with some makeshift hammocks. We took advantaged and napped away the hottest hours of the day in relative comfort. We also found a slightly ajar door with 'ladies' scrawled in what looked like blood. Inside was a horrifying scene, but better than the mangroves.


Every step around the campsite was fraught with danger. Jumping cactus, insidious little sharp seed delivery mechanisms, punctured toes and then the fingers that tried to remove them.



Before embarking, we knew how manky we would feel during our journey. That was all part of the charm. We knew that this was an experience that we were very fortunate to have the chance to take part in and that it would stay with us for the rest of our lives. There are very few places left where you can just camp in the sand under a canopy of a million stars bisected by the Milky Way, have a few beers and then wake up and sight fish to giant bonefish. We didn't see another fisherman during our stay and we could have done what we were doing until we spent our life savings on SPAM and beer. No one was going to bother us.


Each day, we scavenged some bits of plastic to bring back to our campsite to make it a bit more comfortable. A broken 10 gallon bucket to use as a cooler\seat, what appeared to be a cattle feed trough found buried in the sand was used as a bench. By week's end, we had built a homey little encampment with a coral fire ring, three seats and a beer pit in the sand that could hold a 12-pack and a bag of ice for a few hours.


Sweaty, sandy, salty, smelly, itchy, bug-bitten and buzzed, but content.


SPAM-sicle. Delicious, but I wouldn't recommend it for more than a few days in a row.

-Matt

5 comments:

Kev2380 said...

That's an experience of a lifetime for sure.

John said...

Awesome. Very fun to see the camp life. What kind of hammock is that and would you recommend it?

Mark said...

@John

They are ENO hammocks and they are awesome. I'd recommend getting the double for extra room and the slap strap pro lines.

Bug net is optional but a necessity if your in a buggy area.

troutrageous1 said...

Didn't think I'd ever be envious of another man's chafing, but hits all the right nooks & crannies. Thanks.

Sean Fenner said...

LOng Life the SPAM!