Posted By Kristabella on October 27, 2014
I went camping recently.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “wait, I know you haven’t posted regularly in years, but I seriously doubt you’ve changed THAT much that camping is now your thing.”
You would be right. I am not a camper. Nor will I ever be a camper. Nor could you really call what we did camping. But my friend Alli wanted to go camping for her birthday, so camping we did!
We stayed in cabins. And these cabins had heat. So the fact that it got below 32 on Saturday night and we woke up to frost didn’t really affect our sleeping. So as far as camping goes, that’s probably not considered camping.
But there was no running water in the cabins. It was just some beds and a heater and a door. And a lot of bugs. We had to use the bathrooms on-site at the campground. We cooked all our food over an open flame. I didn’t shower the whole time. So to me? That’s camping. People who choose to camp in tents and sleep on the ground are just dumb. Also, just because it was a “bed” should not imply that it was comfortable. In fact, the ground might have been comfier. So says my left hip that is still sore days later.
It was actually a lot of fun. The showering thing doesn’t really bother me, because if I’m being honest, I can easily go a whole weekend without showering. But usually in those situations, I’m not around anyone besides my cats and possibly a food delivery/drive-thru person.
We stayed out in lovely Utica, IL, which is close to Starved Rock State Park. We would have stayed at the park, but you can’t drink there and well, what is the point of camping with no booze, am I right?
Friday night was interesting, as we tried to start a fire in the pitch dark and 40 mph winds. We gave it several valiant efforts before I went into the little store to buy lighter fluid. After that, the fires were easy to start! (I also love my use of “we” here, which could not be further from the truth. Besides bringing the lighter, buying the lighter fluid, and providing some really awful back seat driver fire-starting advice, I just sat and watched.)
On Saturday after I tried to sleep off my hangover, we went over to Starved Rock and took in the very pretty views. I have lived in Illinois almost my whole life and have never been to Starved Rock. It’s a shame, since it really is quite pretty. We caught it at almost a perfect time, with it being late fall and the leaves having changed almost completely.
We hiked for a bit, exploring a few of the canyons. I’m still amazed at how big the park is, and how beautiful it is.
After hiking, we grabbed lunch and headed over to do some horseback riding.
I haven’t been horseback riding in probably 25 years (man I’m old). We used to go regularly after my parents were first divorced, with my dad, who was a stereotypical divorced dad and just kind of threw money at us to make us happy.
This was fun, but the guy who owns the ranch is kind of a dick. We weren’t allowed to trot or canter or anything, just walk. And he would throw out these vague instructions, like I’ve been tending horses my entire life. Look, dude, I’m no Pioneer Woman!
I got called out A LOT. One, because my butt was too far to the right? He kept saying I was off-center and to move my butt to the left, and then it felt like I was falling off. Before we started, the really nice horse lady told me two things: one, don’t ever bump Lacey (my horse), and two, she will try to eat any chance she gets.
She was not lying about the eating. This poor horse was a pig! She ate anything she could get her mouth around. And then it made the mean horse man keep yelling at me to pull her head up. You know what? A horse’s head is really heavy! THEY NEVER MENTIONED THAT IN THE GODFATHER.
So then I got some extra-special attention from Haughty Horse Man because my stirrups were too low. The stirrups I was not allowed to touch or fix. The stirrups they fixed for me and my insanely long legs. Apparently this was why my butt was leaning to the left. Except this did nothing but make my knees bent and do exactly the opposite of what he told us in the beginning about the stirrups, which means, it was a damn good thing I didn’t fall off and get dragged by good ol’ Lacey.
I actually really liked Lacey. She didn’t care which way my butt was leaning. She was also too smart for her own good. She knew that she had a new rider every hour, and that her head was heavy as shit, and she used this to her advantage to eat all the things. I can’t deny a living creature food! She must have known this too.
This was fine until she saw something she HAD to eat, right near this creek we had to cross. So she got off the path, made a beeline for this weed, and we were precariously close to a small cliff that went into the water. I tried to turn her back, but again, she’s determined to eat and her head was heavy and we were kind of in a bit of a corner. So the Uptight Horse Man yelled at me to get her back and to “bump” her. And then I just did everything else BUT bump her. Because rule number one was “DO NOT BUMP HER”! So then he yelled that those instructions meant only unless HE told me to bump her. Which was contradicting as hell, and I’m just glad I stayed on the horse and we made it through the whole thing unscathed.
Shouldn’t horseback riding be peaceful? I was hoping for that. I mean, it was fun, but I definitely don’t think I’d go back to this guy. I understand horses are powerful and I respect that, but I also don’t think yelling and stressing us out does any good for the horses.
Overall, it was a really great weekend. And I really enjoyed it. But I think I’m good on camping for a while. At least until next year when Alli’s birthday rolls around again.