Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Canoe Trip Cometh

So we leave for our 104 mile canoe trip in 5 days.  Let me remind the reader that I have canoed exactly 0 miles in the last 5 years.  I am going with the theory, once you ride a bike you can always ride a bike, only in canoe terms.

And for those of you who think I shouldn't tell people when we are leaving the home, don't worry, the 5 totally crazy, spastic, extremely loud and often annoying Nelson children will be here.  With their grandparents.  Who could probably kick most people's butts.

We're kind of a motley crew of people going.  Me, hubby, my dad, his sister and brother, and my mom's sister.  I know, it sounds a little weird to type it.  And I am afraid that my mom's sister may have misunderstood the type of camping we are doing.  I know this because I got an email last night from her wondering if the bathrooms would have a plug in to charge her cell phone, or perhaps at the campground.

Bwah, ha, ha.  (That's laughing with lots of snorting)  Um, I am not sure how to put it lightly, but there are no bathrooms.  The Montana DNR has very graciously installed a few out-houses along the way, but if you can't make it to those, then you will have to use the handy-dandy bucket toilet that each canoe is required to carry.  And actually the bucket toilet is a better alternative to what the DNR suggested making which involves PVC pipe and coffee filters.  I am totally dead serious.  We decided to spring for the bucket toilets instead of going #2 on a coffee filter and shoving it into a pipe.  Can you blame us?  Still, the whole idea of telling three canoes full of people to look the other way while you do your business is a little disconcerting.  It's a river, we can't exactly escape.  And hauling a bucket toilet onto shore and trying to hide doesn't sound like a thrilling alternative.

Ah, camping.  This trip is seriously not for whiners, or the average camper.  Most of my friends think roughing it involves a pop-up trailer hauled behind their car.  And seeing as we have to set up and take down camp every night, which includes hauling everything into our tens from our canoe so nothing gets wet/blown away, etc., it may perhaps be a little bit more work then what I was at first thinking.  Not to mention being stuck in a canoe for 8 days with hubby.  Whom I love dearly, but still, even I realize that 24 hours a day, eating tuna from a pouch and spending large amounts of time just doing things to survive may take its toll on our relationship.

Thus the canoe switch.  There is sort of an informal policy that we will all be spending time in each other's canoes.  For sanity purposes.  While we are all adults, has anyone spent 8 days straight, every waking moment and every sleeping moment with your significant other, or in the case of the others on the trip, with the same person?  Me neither.

Here is what I am bringing for clothes:

one pair of long pants
2 t-shirts
pair of shorts
swimsuit cover up
clean underwear for every day

That's it.  For 8 days.  One thing I have learned from past more extreme excursions, is that people always bring way too many clothes. (I'm talking to you dear hubby)  And it's pretty useless.  You are gross and sweaty and never change as much as you think you are going to, so why have a giant load of laundry to do when 2 shirts will work?  Plus the Upper Missouri is a very silty river, and we wouldn't be washing clothes in it anyway.  Hence the need for clean underwear every day.  I am not even bringing shampoo because what is the point of cleaning your hair in a mud river?  (I don't know why this sentence is highlighted.  I have no recollection of doing that.)

I am more focused on collecting the things we need to stay alive- ways to start a fire, first aid kit stuff, things like that.  It is supposed to be an adventure after all.  Of course, if we were really serious about it we wouldn't even take food and just plan on "living of the land and river".  But if we did that, I am not sure we would all make it back out.  Plus, fish isn't exactly my favorite meal, and I am not sure how I would handle a week of it.


  1. Staying in Kinshasa was as close to camping as I want to do! My idea of camping is a cabin.

  2. Jess you and Chris are so adventurous!!! If you can use the bathrooms in Uganda, the great outdoors will be no problem...:) Have Fun and I'm praying for you!!!
    I agree with Katie, I camp at Holiday Inn!!