“If you have not touched the rocky wall of a canyon. If you have not heard a rushing river pound over cobblestones. If you have not seen a native trout rise in a crystalline pool beneath a shattering riffle, or a golden eagle spread its wings and cover you in shadow. If you have not seen the tree line recede to the top of a bare crested mountain. If you have not looked into a pair of wild eyes and seen your own reflection. Please, for the good of your soul, travel west.”
― Daniel J. Rice
My favorite part of camping is seeing the highway on the way out. Funny, but true. I’ve never considered myself a “camper” by any means. My fight or flight instincts start to stir at the thought of it and all the what-ifs rush in: what if a bear comes into our tent? What if a forest fire rips through? What if our truck doesn’t start and we have no cell service? What if something happens to one of us?
Camping and anxiety are just one of the same to me, and when I think of our friends―those who backpack into the wilderness for days or weeks on end―I think of them in a dreamy light smiling for an REI advertisement, jealous that I can’t wear the same look of ease.
Our kind of “camping trip” is laughable. It’s Chris and I and our horses and dogs, several forgotten things, an air mattress and one night away from home. It’s laughing at our own expense until our bellies ache, and filing into the truck at 2:30 a.m. because a hole in our air bed let all the air escape from beneath our bodies. It’s also realizing that two labradors can’t fit alongside us in our cab and pumping the air bed once more and riding out the rest of the night overtop the inevitable slow leak. It is as if someone has dropped us in my unimaginable nightmare―alone in the woods without a plan.
But these things we shared: an evening on the river, fishing, rock sitting, laughing. Wading in and out with our labradors and throwing the tennis ball to Derby until she and it were a caked muddy mess. Fetching our horses water and making ourselves some “college budget” wraps, a stumbled upon favorite from when Chris and I were in school―peanut butter and chocolate chips. Chris helping me into the truck when all else was packed up and the horses were loaded because I was feeling like a truck had accidentally struck me amid our overnight failing after being thrown from a horse twice the day before. Our fun is sometimes dangerous, sometimes unplanned, sometimes a complete undoing of sorts but nevertheless, we were together, in shambles and tremendously in love.
Happy Monday, readers. Love always, the Montana Domestics.