When I was approached by Man Camping last month to write about being a man camper I said it would be an honor to be included among those with such a mischievous reputation! Plus who doesn’t like hearing about tales of misadventure. The best part is, some of the greatest stories come from people who lack the ability to grow a beard!
First a little about me. Hi! Im Adventuresome! I call myself this because I’m adventuresome and I adventure, some. But my real name is Ashley. I like to joke that I grew up in a tent. As a kid my parents were always taking our family camping.
Me and my parents at Lake Harris, 1990.
Family camping trip to the Adirondacks, 1992
But shockingly my Mom said that around the age of 10 I became uninterested in camping. I didn’t go camping again until I met my then boyfriend (now husband) when I was 18. It was he who brought me on my first backcountry trip 4 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.
No matter what style of adventure I’m having, I’m bound to do stupid things. Like the time I accidently brought a solo tent on a 2 person camping trip. I got the pleasure of setting it up for the first time in the pouring rain! In the dark! Needless to say we swam in our sleep.
What a cozy wet sleep that was!
Or the time my husband and I went to Georgian Bay May 24 weekend. Last minute packing resulted in forgotten pillows, no warm clothes and only had one sleeping bag. It was freezing cold and rained all weekend. It was miserable.
I’m also an epic camp cook! I’ve forgotten utensils and carved them out of a plastic bottle. Only for our sporks to turn up at the bottom of our pack on day two.
Ah! Mr. Noodles ah fine backcountry culinary delicacy.
This also includes the time I thought the camp stove was broken and we had to use fire to cook our meals. Turns out I just need to be shown how to use things before I take off into the woods. Or the time I lost half a dozen sausages in the fire when the grill malfunctioned. I fished them out with sticks, rinsed off the dirt and ash with water, and grilled them again before eating them. This was also the same camping trip where we showed up at camp a lot earlier than expected and we didn’t have food for lunch so we had a pizza delivered to our campsite!
This was a first for us and our delivery driver!
Most recently I went on a winter camping trip and forgot to bring boots. That was a fun realization 3 hours into a 5 hour drive. To answer the question you’re all thinking…I had runners on for the car ride. That’s how I managed to forget! (Story coming soon!)
Sometimes it’s not me.
Sometimes my misadventures have come at the hands of others. Like the time a friends Dad swamped the canoe while trying to get in, sending me up to my neck in cold water.
Post dip in the chilly Temagami waters.
Or the time we were camping at Balsam Lake and were awoken by the sounds of grunting and snarling. We made a run for the car thinking it was a bear. We drove around the campground looking for the source. It was somebody snoring. Presumably someone with sleep apnea who wasn’t wearing a CPAP machine.
Other times it’s mother nature. I can’t count the numbers of times I have been almost carried off by mosquitoes and rained out of a tent. But the most insane was the time I was 5 months pregnant and was 15km into the backcountry with my sister when we were forced to huddle in the tent and ride out an “imminent tornado warning.”
After the storm on Burnt Island Lake, Algonquin Park
Man…I sound like one unorganized bad ass. Yup. I’m a man camper! And if you’re reading this and it reminds you of situations you’ve found yourself in…then you’re a man camper too! With or without the beard!
Going on my first ever camping trip. Near Cornwall, 1989.
If you like my tales of misadvenure then come, join me, as I Adventuresome!