Or Another Side Trip In Russia and the Only Way I’d Ever Go “Camping”…
I am an appreciator of the great outdoors…from the safety of my house. I love nature and all of its awe inspiring majesty, it’s just that I’m not so graceful in it. I’m also quite allergic to a lot of it. And I really hate bugs. So, yeah, I like nature, just from a safe distance, where I can contemplate it allergy-free and bug bite-free with a cup of tea or something. I’ve never kidded myself about my lack of outdoorsy-ness. I know my limits.
So when my father said we were taking a trip to the mountains where we would camp overnight, I laughed. After I finally stopped laughing I said no. I have no urge to spend a sleepless night in a tent, feeling like the princess and the pea with a bunch of dirt and rocks under me. D, ever trying to prove his manliness was eager to go. He would have loved it if we had to hunt and forage for our own food or some nonsense like that. But then my father said we were staying in cabins with electricity so I changed my mind.
The trip up the mountain was terrifying. The road was barely wide enough for the jeep. On my side was sheer rock wall and on D’s side a massive drop. No railing or anything to protect us. I kept asking what would happen if a car came from the other direction but the driver wouldn’t answer me. We bounced over streams that I expected would sweep us down the mountain. We finally arrived at this small valley where they had some tables set up with sweaters and other woolen items that were handmade by the people who lived there. I bought a sweater because, while it was quite warm when we had left, I was very cold this high up the mountain.
We took the time to stretch our legs, take pictures, grab coats…that sort of thing. After I had bundled up, I grabbed my father’s Nikon and started snapping some pictures. I saw a small spot which looked like it min be a mountain goat so I zoomed in on it to get a good look. I started laughing when I saw that it was a plastic goat bolted to the side of the mountain. The paint was peeling off of it. I snapped a few pictures of it because it amused me.
Then we were back in the car for only a little longer before we made it to our “camping grounds”. I was pretty well frozen by this point. I had thrown on every long sleeved shirt I had, every sweater, my coat, and now I was starting to take everyone elses’ coats as well. And I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I could breathe and I kept sneezing. To top it all off, the weather was confusing. It constantly changed from rainy to sunny to cloudy. I was miserable.
To distract me, someone recommended a hike. I agreed and removed a few layers. We all set off through the woods towards the stream. Now this wasn’t a sweet babbling brook… This was like river rapids. It was a site to behold. And we had to cross it on a tiny little rope bridge. I looked at our guide in disbelief and he pointed out that I could hold onto the ropes if I got nervous. “You mean the ropes down by my knees? Is this a rope bridge for little people?,” I asked. He just laughed and crossed nonchalantly.
I stuck a finger in the water to test the temperature and instantly regretted my decision. It was ice cold. I contemplated crawling across the bridge but decided to just shuffle over in a hunched over position, holding onto the ropes for dear life. When I got about half way across, D thought shaking the bridge would be a funny thing to do until I delivered a particularly violent and graphic threat that made him stop. We crossed and continued.
Eventually, we made it near the peak and it was gorgeous. So gorgeous that I did not notice the stinging nettle until I planted my hands right into it. Of course, this was bound to happen. I was given some rusty water and told that it was mineral water and to drink it. I took the tiniest sip to be polite and tried not to make a face. Then we turned around and made our way back to camp.
The rest of the night was uneventful. The only thing I was annoyed by was the lack of plumbing. It was all outhouses and stream and I wasn’t going to wander around the woods at night. So I had to hold it in until the morning. The electricity in our cabin didn’t work and we had a broken window in our bedroom so we were frozen all night. I was seriously crabby the next morning and more than ready to leave. I do not “rough” it out well at all.
I was even too irritable to be afraid on the way down the mountain. I felt sick, tired, I wanted coffee and a proper meal. There was no way anyone would ever talk me into camping ever again. The further down the mountain we got, the warmer it got. I was able to peel layers off. My nose began to unstuff. I was feeling better. Now all I needed was a nap.