I can’t tell you what to expect on your first backpacking trip.  I can tell you what to expect if you are camping with or near scouts. This is what happened the first time I went backpacking with my scout troop.

I started my outdoor adventure at a young age.  I had a step-dad who took me fishing.  I wouldn’t call fishing an adventure.  I would compare it to a bad-drug trip where you think you are in hell.  A hell where you do the same thing over and over for minimal reward or result..  Doing the same thing over and over to catch something you really don’t want, or even worse, to throw it back, is like trying to get action in high school.   But it was outdoors so I can classify as my first and worst adventure ever.  Now for the best adventure ever!!!  .My first backpacking trip.

I was 13 or 14 before I actually did backpacking.  This was a curious age for me because I was into comic books and Megadeth.  I may have even had a mullet but that cannot be confirmed or denied without an actual picture.  Needless to say,for my tent mates Jade and Jason.

It was a scout activity.  The scoutmaster knew of an isolated lake less than 1 mile off the road.  It was called Ruth Lake and 30 years ago hardly anyone knew of its existence.  There wasn’t even a parking lot. We just pulled over onto the dirt shoulder.  Today there are a couple pit toilets and enough parking for 20 cars.  Last time I was up there, the world’s largest scout troop of like 30 kids was there and they managed to pack 20 Little Caesars pizza’s in,  because, as you know, who wants to roast hot dogs or  cook tin foil dinners.

Previous to jumping in the car with my scout troop and best friend, at the time, Jade, I had read a comic book that featured John Jameson aka Man-wolf(totally hardcore sounding right?).  I can’t remember what I was listening to, at the time, but I am sure it was Megadeth Peace Sells.  Anyway I left them behind to experience a new adventure. 

Man Wolfy

Man Wolfy

Now anyone that has camped near scouts, would rather slide down a 2×4 studded with broken glass. Yes scouts are that bad; the best part about camping near them is that they are easy to scare and mess with.  The best thing that can happen to anyone, camping near scouts, is a rain and thunderstorm of epic proportions.  This has a tendency to be a boon to all people within a 5 mile radius because the scouts stay in their tent.   For any scouts sharing a tent with me, it becomes a bane.

As lightning and thunder crashed all around Jade, Jason and I huddled in our sleeping bags protected from the elements. As time went on, I started to become bored.  Jade and Jason just decided that they would like to sleep.  I had to find something to entertain me and keep my mind off the storm.  I remembered my temporary , favorite comic- book character and decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to role play.  I pulled my head inside the sleeping bag and started screaming.  “I am man-wolfy, I am changing.” After a few minutes of screaming and growling, I would thrust my hand outside of the sleeping bag and say “I am man-wolfy, I like to pet peoples faces”.  At this point I would reach over and start petting Jades face. Why Jade and not Jason?  Because deep down inside I knew Jade thought it was as awesome as I did it.

Jade would start hitting and yelling at me and I would return to the depths of my Man-Wolf cave.  Silent cheers of victory swept through the tent as Man-Wolf reverted to his human form, the lead singer of Megadeth.  Thats right! . As soon as Man-wolf changed back into man, he would start singing, loudly and off key “What do you mean I don’t believe in God, I talk to him everyday…Peace Sells but who’s buying”.  After I repeated the only three parts I knew over and over for five minutes, Man-Wolf would start changing once the change was complete, Jade got another dose of face petting. 

This continued all night until about 5 in the morning,  Jason and those in the  other three tents decided to get up and start a campfire.  I remember a few snarky comments about “annoying asshole” and “couldn’t sleep”.  I am not sure who they were directed at, but I think it was Jade.  At some point in the night, he crossed the line with a comment about ‘ Smokey the Bear’ and ‘ preventing forest fires’.