A camper’s tale of there and back again

A camper’s tale of there and back again

After 40 years of tent and tailgate camping we decided adding more creature comforts would make the time spent in the backcountry even more enjoyable. Therefore after much research we decided to buy a used Alaskan Camper mounted on a 4×4 truck.

Why an Alaskan?
We like the telescoping feature to raise and lower the top as well as the hard sides which provide better insulation, protection and the ability to mount an A/C unit on the roof. Our favorite creature comfort is the cassette toilet. No more forays in the dead of night to answer the call of nature! The workmanship in an Alaskan is prime with curved wood paneling and attention to detail.

Out of luck?
An Alaskan was on our wish list for 3 years as we checked out different camper options and searched for a used Alaskan. Alas, each time we found a camper of interest, someone else beat us to the purchase. I would get excited to find an ad, make the call and the reply would be, “sorry, I just sold it” or “I will put you on the list if the other 4 buyers in line fall out”. Read more

Squatting hazards in the back country

Squatting hazards in the back country

Answering the call of nature is an integral part of wilderness camping and requires some heightened awareness of your surroundings.

We dig a hole designated for this purpose when we camp and choose an area free of cactus, bristle poppy, rattlesnake hideouts, and water courses.   As we have gotten older we have purchased a “throne” that fits nicely above the hole to support the buttocks and save the knees.

While hiking a lovely trail with wildflowers and pines in the Sierras, the call of nature urged me to pull of the trail to take care of business (no hole digging for #1). I found a suitable spot and dropped my drawers while taking in the scenery and listening to the lazy drone of insects. Upon completion of my task I pulled up my pants and zipped only to discover that I had “captured” a wasp in between my underwear and jeans. The wasp protested by stinging me at least 6 times before I could quickly get my britches off to see what had set them on fire.

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A desperate adventure in the Kern River

A desperate adventure in the Kern River

Although this is not a camping story, it is an outdoor experience we shall never forget and perhaps a lesson that will save someone’s life. I have posted our lessons learned at the end of this story:

A desperate adventure:
The deafening roar of the water added to its shocking power to hold me underwater. I could see the turbulent water bubbling just above my head and raise my hand out into the life giving air, yet no matter how hard I fought to swim, I could not push my face past the raging surface to gasp for breath.

As I was inner tubing with my husband Pres, he had been waiting for me below a section of small waterfalls. When I did not float down behind him, he worked to find a way back up the rushing cascade. He ditched his inner tube to swim and crawl up the rocky waterfalls where he had seen me disappear. When Pres saw only my hand above water waving desperately, my alarmed husband quickened his pace.

Knowing seconds counted in saving me, Pres jumped into the dark swirling water behind me. My hopes for rescue were quickly dashed when Pres disappeared underwater, swallowed by the force of the *water hydraulic we were now both trapped within. Read more