The Way Things Are






2004-04-26, 11:12 a.m.

The Boy Scout camping was like an 18-hour episode of Surivor.

We drove out to BFT (BF, Texas) and then even further out into the country, to the ranch where the camping was to take place. The road going into the ranch was very muddy, deeply rutted, axle-deep with mud and muck. Some of the dads who had driven in in mini-vans were bottoming out and getting stuck. I thought I was going to get stuck or slide into the fence several times. So we got to the camping area, and as soon as got out of our cars, a thick swarming blanket of mosquitoes descended upon us. We had to spray our heads, our faces, our ears, jeans, shirts, everything with Deep Woods 0ff, and they still swarmed right around us, although they wouldn't land and bite. One bit me on the ass through my jeans, where I had apparently missed a spot.

Then the waves of Mexican mountain thunderstorms started rolling through. Yes, a weekend-long wave of storms, forming in the mountains of Mexico (why this is relevent, I don't know, but they must brew some strong storms out there), rolled through Texas all weekend long. They hit us first, so we got the brunt. The storms said "Eh, pinche gringos sleeping outside! Remember the effing Alamo, my ass!"

Everyone set up their tents during a lull in the storm action, and as soon as I went to bed, it started up again. Come to find out, there were tornadoes in the area, too. I lay in my tent that night, thankful that it was standing up to the wind, semi-waterproof, and thinking that a tornado throwing you out of your tent and into the brushy cactus ranchland would totally suck. First you'd land in a bed of cactus, then the mosquitoes would descend upon you, and then you'd just be wishing you were dead.

In the morning, the stock tank that I had pitched my tent maybe 50 feet away from was lapping gently at the side of my tent. The rutted muddy road out of the place had become nearly impassable, and the weather radio was predicting more of the same weather. So we called it a day, pulled camp down (after a delicious breakfast of sausage and egg tacos, and coffee - we have our priorities straight), and started strategizing how to get the hell out of there.

The owner of the ranch had driven down to our area in his big-ass 4-wheel drive truck, and arranged to have another local rancher with a tractor on hand to pull us out. So I got in my lil Rav4, put it in LOW, and started driving out. I knew I was going to get stuck eventually, and would have to be pulled out to the county road by a tractor. I was not looking forward to this, but Lil Guy and his buddy who were riding with us were all fired up about it.

Lo and behold, my sweet wonderful tough little tiny SUV didn't get stuck. We slid all over the place, nearly hit a fence post, spun out a bit, and made it through. Ha! I was the only woman there, and I (1) didn't have to sleep in my car when my piss-poor tent collapsed in the rain and wind and (2) didn't have to get pulled out of the mud.

It was not fun. It was very exciting, very eventful, and very challenging. There is a great sense of morale about this group. The best part of it was feeling completely supported and accepted, and like an integral part of this group. The fun part is thinking about it this morning and feeling so strong and powerful for having made the trip and survived, semi-dry, very muddy, and none the worse for wear. The scariest part was driving that road - I knew for sure I was going to get stuck, and I did not like driving toward that.

And when I asked Lil Guy and Friend (who were sleeping in their own tent - parents and kids camp in separate areas and never in the same tents) what they thought of all the thunder and lightning, they said "what thunder and lightning? You mean while we ate dinner?" Yep, these two SLEPT THROUGH the overnight storm. Lil Guy's little $30 tent kept them completely dry, and they slept like little coma patients. Incredible.

The next camp-out is in July at Bear Crick Camp in Hunt. They say the mosquitoes there are just normal, not freaky, and well, it almost never rains around here in July. I can't wait.

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