Share This

Fierce in Seattle: Not So Roughing It


a blogumn by Kelli Bielema

If you were to ask me a few years ago if I would ever go camping, I likely would have answered with the question “I’m sorry, were you talking to me?”

I’m not a glamourpuss, a neatnik, or a priss, but I am also not the country girl of my youth. Having grown up in the sticks of Prophetstown, Illinois, I was often one with the dirt, snow, other assorted elements. I was also highly adept at distinguishing bovine and swine manure. These talents notwithstanding, I always yearned for the city. Now the town of Prophets was hardly a metropolitan mecca, but when you are 10 years old, you want cable TV and a quick trip to the dime store for Gobstoppers.

Ahhh, wilderness!

Ahhh, wilderness!

When I finally left my hometown for college I truly never looked back. I went from one bigger Illinois cornfield to another starting with DeKalb then Chicago. Really going for the gusto, I wound up in Los Angeles for nearly a decade where I think the farm girl began shedding her ways. I wouldn’t say I have ever become cosmopolitan — clearly I’m too much of a quirkball to be defined in that way. But I’d definitely classify myself as urban, and I suppose what’s now known as a yipster (a yuppie/hipster hybrid).

So, the camping. My man-panion and I were invited to a night at Deception Pass State Park, near Anacortes for his friend’s birthday. It’s April and that doesn’t stop people in Seattle from sleeping outdoors. I called my friend Jaime who basically has an REI store in her condo (sans rock wall). I borrowed her tent, sleeping bag and most important of all – thermal underthings. I felt as prepared as I could be and most important of all – I packed a cooler of Blue Moon (and don’t think I forget the orange slices).

The best part of this whole camping business is that it was what people refer to as “car camping” – you don’t do any hiking, but simply park your car in a campsite. I felt confident that this meant fewer bears, snakes, and assorted varmints. We arrived to the campsite, ate dinner from the fire (and propane Coleman stove) and sweet sassy molassey, we drank. Finally bed time came and to the tent we go. It didn’t seem too terribly uncomfortable until 3:00 a.m.

Suddenly, I feel the urge to urinate. I’m sure I can sleep through it, however, I just can’t. I make my way through 2 zipper closures to the bathroom facility (we’re hardly roughing it – running water for crying out loud). I’m glad I can go, but then I realize upon my return — and the dissipation of my beer buzz — that even with a little foam padding, sleeping on the ground is considerably uncomfortable.

Falling back to asleep eventually happens and I wake at 7:30 a.m. having survived the entire ordeal. Conclusion—it’s really not all that bad. It’s like going to a party and you’re too drunk to go home, so hey, let’s just sleep outside! Weeeee!