The Bane of Camping

You have seen the movie and sequel Dumb and Dumber. Maybe you have seen My Idiot Brother. They all apply to my sibling when it comes to camping. I let him pick the spot, set the date, and make the plans. I dropped a lot of hints and even set out some clothing items for packing. I mentioned weather issues, tents, entertainment platforms, and hiking boots. I talked food and more food. When we camp, we like to eat well.

So what could go wrong? Everything! First of all it was nice, warm weather, but actually too warm for the locale he had read about. He forgot to see the fine print where it said to go only in the spring. There we were sweltering in an airless space with no air conditioning in sight. We didn’t really need the tents except for sun protection maybe, and our hats would do that just fine.

There was a pond nearby and he thought it would be oh so picturesque. He brought his sketch pad and some charcoal pencils. We sat by the water, drinking beer, and I watched him perform his pictorial magic. We got pretty relaxed in the heat and spent more than a few hours, devouring a nice lunch before returning to base camp. All seemed to be going well until after dark. First one, then the other of us started to itch and scratch. It was an interminable kind of sensation. Mosquito bites are unpleasant and annoying. You can’t sleep unless you pour on the calamine lotion. And we didn’t have any!

My brother hadn’t factored in the wet swampy area attracting the summer crop of mosquitos. Since few humans were around, they were hungry and ready to pounce. We were easy marks sitting there out in the open with bare arms and legs. They feasted well that day and we had a little less blood for our part. Mosquitos require some effort to repel and we did not come equipped with the requisite spray. It would have made a huge difference to conduct some pest control during this outing.

The next day was even more unnerving. Flies started to swarm our food as we were running low on ice. I threw up my hands in despair and said we should head home early while we had some blood, and our sanity, left. My brother did not find this amusing and it was not intended to be. I convinced him that we weren’t wimping out and that itching to death in the sun was a bad way to go. He quite agreed.

We packed our gear, threw out the remaining fly-bitten food, folded the tent, and almost ran to the van. You couldn’t find two happier guys when we arrived at home. The welts had subsided a bit but were visible evidence of our camping suffering. While I won’t go so far as to say I won’t let my brother come on the next trip, but I will mention that he is not to be the planner then, or ever.