I took my kids out on a hike last summer, and as we were truckin’ down the trail, enjoying the scenery, my youngest said, “whoa, that’s a funny cat.” I didn’t think much of it, because Logan wasn’t real good with critter ID yet. But I did take a look where he was pointing. About 10 feet away on the side of the trail was a little black creature with a white stripe down its back, and it was waddling around to point its slowly lifting tail in our direction. I grabbed the boys by their coats and hoofed it out of the area carefully but very quickly.
I’m afraid I dropped one of those dreaded phrases on my own dad when I was a kid. We were hiking in to Waterdog Lake, which is about a 9-mile walk up a long, steady incline. Being the only large adult on the trip, Dad was packing most of the gear. We were about a half-mile from camp, and Dad was saying he was really looking forward to kicking back with a stream-cooled adult beverage as soon as we got the camp set up. I felt it was my duty at that moment to tell him I had to take his beer out of his pack so my portable radio would fit. I tried to make him feel better by explaining that we could pick up the Broncos game a lot better on a radio than we could on a Coors can, but I don’t think it helped much.
These days, there’s there are a bunch of new phrases that’ll send chills down a camper’s spine. We’ve gotten a bit soft with all this technology, I think. Anymore, the scariest things you might hear are, “I thought you brought the ThermaRest,” or, “oh, crud, the last of the batteries just died in the GPS.” Or maybe the most frightening might be, “uh, Bob, where’d the water purifier go?” Oh, no, the worst would have to be AFTER you lose the water purifier, and Bob says, “Man, I hate to tell you this, but I just used the last of the Quilted Northern.” If you hear that, you better hope you left the radio at the truck and packed the canned drinks instead.