Hiking can mean a lot of different things to people. For some, it’s a way to stay in shape. Others, it’s a lifestyle. Hiker trash is a name for a reason. Others still just do it to have some fun and get away for a weekend.
My cousin Scott and I had a lot of good hikes. We tried hiking in all seasons. It wasn’t always great. Then there was Michigan. We didn’t get much hiking done because I had a knee issue that was flared up pretty good at the time. We still had fun.
The drive was only about 3 hours to the trail head so it wasn’t too bad. However, the car we were driving in had dropped the exhaust and was so loud we decided to wear earplugs since we had a longer drive to make. We loaded the gear up in the car and took off.
We had rented a little cabin for the first night since we got up there late. So we checked in and Scott broke out the vodka. I was not a drinker. But, what the heck. We drank the bottle down, and I spent the night making trips to the bathroom.
Around 12:30 a.m. we had a knock on the door. It was the manager, who was also drunk, bringing us some cookies. Score for us: we had vodka and cookies. We were two happy, drunken idiots.
The next morning, we got up and hit the trail head. After spending about a half hour packing the bags up and sorting out what we decided we would for sure need and what we didn’t, we headed into the woods. My knee swelled up almost immediately, so we stopped about a mile and a half in. Not too far.
We had come across a little pond and decided that would be a good place to set up camp. We threw up a tent, grabbed a fishing pole, and rummaged through to find our food packs. They were nowhere to be seen.
We hiked back to the car to see if we could find them. Nothing. The trunk was empty and we were without food. Scott suggested we head in to town again and get something to eat. So off we went to town.
When we got there, we looked around for a store that was open, only to find one place. A small bag of freeze dried beef stroganoff was about $10 and I was not going to spend that to buy noodles. I hate noodles. I bought the beer.
We got back to the campsite a little before dark and I went fishing. I caught a few small bluegill and cut them up for dinner. We made a little camp fire and cooked our gourmet dinner. Pond water stroganoff and a sliver of fish.
When we went to eat, we realized we had no sort of silverware. We looked on the ground to find some suitable sticks to eat with. Then we opened a beer and made an attempt at eating.
Scott had the stroganoff. Eating that out of the bag turned in to one of the most hilarious sights of my life. He had one stick to work with and pasta does not always like to cooperate. Finally, after some laughter and frustration he decided he would just pour it in his mouth.
I took a bite of my fish and heard Scott start laughing. He had started dumping the stroganoff in his mouth and began laughing, causing him to choke. I looked up just in time to see a very large noodle shoot about halfway out of Scott’s nose. That was a sight to see.
After he pulled that the rest of the way out of his nose, we finished eating. It was an interesting meal. The rest of the night was spent talking around the fire and drinking the rest of the 6 pack.
Now keep in mind, I don’t drink. It was a 6 pack and we split it. I had 3 bottles of beer and was unable to stand up straight. I tried to go to the bathroom and tipped over backward. Luckily there was a very heroic 3-foot tall pine sapling there to save me. I am 6 feet tall and was about 185 pounds at the time.
After nearly falling into the campfire, I made it back to my stump and sat down. We talked and laughed a little longer and decided it was time to go to bed. We made our way to the tent and passed out pretty quick.
Sunrise came early the next morning. But, there are few places better than the woods for sleep. We woke up ready to hit the trail. Unfortunately, it was to head home. We packed up and made our way back to the car.
We stuffed in our ear plugs, cranked the radio and headed home. Getting into town, we stopped for breakfast at this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It had a nice little breakfast buffet and plenty of options.
We made our plates and sat down to eat. Between the two of us, we had touched every single serving spoon on the buffet. After a second helping, I went to the restroom. That was when I realized what we had done. We had not taken the time to wash our hands or anything before we sat down to eat.
We had fish guts, ash, stroganoff and dirt on our hands when we got our food. I went back to the table laughing and told Scott what I had realized. He looked down at his hands, laughed and said, “Well, we just got this place shut down.”
Thankfully, they did not get shut down, but we felt terrible. Before we left, we used the restrooms to brush our teeth and get cleaned up a little, which is a step that we now put first. Then we headed on home.
It was a fun trip. We learned a few things, did some stupid things, and had a lot of laughs. A few days after we got home I got a call from Scott. He had found the food packs we had taken with us. 6 packs of food were all in the car with the pack of plastic forks and spoons. It had fallen under the spare tire cover and been hidden.
I don’t get to hike like I did with Scott. We had a lot of good times. Sometimes the best thing someone can do is just go out and get away. Things may not go according to plan, but that is sometimes where the fun begins. Go have it.