I’m going camping for the first time in years later this summer, and admittedly I’m a little rusty. Camping is one of those activities I do with a certain consistency, yet continued lack of mastery. And I can tell you stories. And if I don’t, my friends will. They love mocking my many messy forays into the great outdoors.
Among their favorites is the time I lost it in Yosemite. This was the mid-90s and four men hungry for bonding were excited about a long-planned trek. Our embarkation was delayed by yet another talking to from my then-girlfriend—the guys were shocked I even made out of her place alive, much less was still allowed to go. Eventually we got in our cars and drove four hours to the trailhead. Now we were caught in the heat of the day. I was equipped with a way-too- heavy, way-too-cheap, ergonomically awful backpack, and announced within about 30 minutes into it that I didn’t feel so good. I proceeded to lean myself against the mountain’s side, at which point I fell asleep standing up, pack still strapped to my back, which had gone out–which at least helped me forget about the sunstroke I was experiencing. That was day one of a three-day trip—and easily my third best camping disaster story. The best one ends with my best friend Lenny and I (pictured above, in better camping times) being gay bashed in a trailer park in Oregon while, um, ’shrooming, and for what it’s worth, not actually being gay. But let’s save that true tale for other time. It’s best told over beers.
Calling all city gals (and guys) who like to follow the call of the wild! To celebrate the publication of Let’s Get Primitive: The Urban Girl’s Guide to Camping, we’re giving away a snazzy red & white, 2-person Coleman tent along with a lightweight, unbreakable polycarbonate and acrylic COCKTAIL SET (glasses and cocktail shaker) and a copy of the book. Email your very best camping disaster story of 500 words or less to email@example.com between July 1 and August 31, 2007. Author Heather Menicucci, who has overpacked, started late, gotten lost, and battled armies of insects in her transformation from urban girl to outdoor aficionado, will select the best story to win.
Enter the contest and post your stories here as well. We’ll give our favorite camping disaster story a limited edition SMITH T-shirt, which looks as smart and stylish with a pair of hiking boots as it does under a suit jacket.