Around this time last year I was completing my Second Ever camping trip. It was car camping, and there was a lake and a party boat rental and it was just one night, but I still had to pee outside -- and unzip a door to do so -- so I maintain that it TOTALLY COUNTS. My husband grew up going on backpacking trips with his stepdad, and it's something that he's been meaning to resurrect in his adult life for a while now. He worked really hard to make that trip one I would enjoy. And enjoy it I did.
Here is my husband, pitching our tent while I drink a beer and photograph him and then later he agrees to let me put the picture on my blog. A man among men!
A month or so later we went Real Camping where we had to hike in to the site. We stayed in a cabin with about 15 other people, and we hiked the mile-plus trail in lugging a cast iron skillet, a cooler full of bacon and beer, and a lot of other things but again: Totally counts. After all, we were on the Appalachian Trail and there was bear mace and everything in the cabin. Also, this view:
Our THIRD camping adventure last summer involved the same dear friends (Randy and Lisa, Hi guys!) whom we'd first camped with. This time the trip involved car camping and a river tubing trip: you rent tubes from the campground and they drive you a few miles up-river and drop you off. You spend the afternoon drifting downstream through the hills and fields with a cold, floating cooler and some good friends. If you know of a better way to spend a summer afternoon I wish you'd tell me about it. It was such a blast that we decided to do it again this year, and we've learned some things along the way. Here are my recommendations for a summer tubing/rafting/float trip.
1. Canned beer.
Bottles on the river are not a good idea. Even if you're not a jerkwad who'd litter intentionally, it's easy for a piece of trash to slip out of your wet fingers or fall out of the bag, no matter how careful everyone is. (Oh, which reminds me! Make sure you bring a few bags to use for trash.) Bottles that end up in the river will break, broken glass is bad, etc. Cans used to have a reputation for representing crappy beer, but that's changing. There are some shockingly good ones out there nowadays (anything by Oskar Blues, for starters), but Yeungling and Copper Bell are delicious, drinkable, and good if you're having several. I've only ever seen Copper Bell at Whole Foods (I think I read it's their house brand?), but it is shockingly cheap at something like $5.99 for a 12 pack.
This is apparently a concoction introduced by our friend Rob (Hi Rob!). It's basically a variation of this recipe: Tequila, beer, and frozen limeade concentrate. And it is DELICIOUS. The problem with Robaritas is that they go down far, FAR too easily. And it is hot on that river! And the Robarita in your hand, it's so refreshing! We were wise enough to bring some water, including some lime seltzer, and it turns out that Robaritas are still delicious and so refreshing when cut with lime seltzer. Drunk out of a re-purposed Deer Park water bottle, they are proud to be the trashy cousin of a wine spritzer!
This year Lisa also brought some of those new Bud Light Lime-a-ritas. Listen, I'm no fan of Bud Light, but these were DELICIOUS. They were also quite strong, and went down a little too easily.
3. You're going to need something to soak up all that alcohol, even though you grilled some hot dogs right before you got on the river. So bring some sealable snacks.
Here's what I intended to bring when we were menu planning for the trip: dried fruit, cut-up vegetables and hummus, ziploc bags of pita chips, maybe ziploc bags with cheese and crackers.
Here is what we brought: A few handfuls of pretzels, shoved quickly into a ziploc bag. They were delicious. Also delicious were Lisa's cheetos, which were also shoved unceremoniously into a Ziploc bag, then crammed by the slightly-damp fistful into our gaping maws. YAYYYY BEER!
Listen. It's hot in that Virginia sun. There is little to no shade on the river. The drinks are cold, SO COLD, and you are thirsty. SO THIRSTY. The good news is that we go to this particular place because the campground is right on the river, and you can roll off your tube and stumble up the hill to your campsite when your ride has come to an end. No one has to drive. Everyone can rinse off in the showers, pass out in their tents for a few hours, and then get up around dinner time to start grilling. And crack a few more cold ones.
Do you have any camping or tubing traditions? Have you gone on a rafting/tubing/float trip?
All photos are by me, except where otherwise noted.