Once upon a dandelion, there was a young married woman. She was expecting their first child in a couple of months. A neighbor (and co-worker), had just purchased a camp trailer, and was selling his pup tent. "Well", the young woman thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to surprise my husband with a weekend getaway?" "We could hike away from the bright lights of the city, and go camping at that cool park we've passed a number of times out on the highway!" The young woman had waffle stomper hiking boots that were a couple of years old and quite comfy. She compiled a list: they would need a good pair of waffle stompers for Hubby, a orange external frame back pack for each of them, and the Pup Tent of course. One Friday after work, the secret purchases had all been made; the young woman enthusiastically sprung the surprise on her unsuspecting husband. She packed their backpacks, and they set out. The couple navigated their way down neighborhood streets, out through the sub-divisions, and past the little ranchettes. It had been a full work week, and they started this little adventure, already tired. The orange packs began to feel heavier and heavier. It began to get darker and darker and they had not reached the park. Hubby's boots began to feel uncomfortable, and the little mini-breaks became more frequent. By the time the couple reached the park, it was midnight.
There were tall iron gates to the entrance, and they were closed tight. The flashlight illuminated the mean little sign "DAY USE ONLY". The temptation to just collapse right there on the spot, was great. But the young couple trudged back, from whence they had come. They had passed a little abandoned gas station, with a pay phone on their way. It was 2 a.m. They called their VERY good friend to come pick them up. He even drove them through an all night drive through in town, as they hadn't eaten, and then drove them home.
We I mean, they backpacked for hours and miles, only to spend the night in our their own bed.
l. Know where you're going! Make a reservation.
2. Don't pack baking potatoes and everything you own in a back-pack, Grapes of Wrath style (even if you are in Steinbeck country!)
3. Don't wear brand new boots, or else be prepared to nurse blisters the size of quarters.
4. Start out in the morning, refreshed.
5. Always carry phone money
6. Always, Always, Always, be thankful for good friends.