I started my outdoor adventure at a young age. I had a step-dad who took me fishing. I wouldn’t call fishing an adventure. I had a bad x trip once and I thought I was in hell. You want to know what I was doing in hell… fishing. Doing the same thing over and over to catch something you really don’t want, or even worse, to throw it back, is like trying to get laid in high school. You work your ass off for something only to have it smell like fish. But it was outdoors so I can classify as my worst adventure ever. Now for the best adventure ever!!! My first backpacking trip.
I was 13 or 14 before I actually did backpacking. This was a curious age for me because I was into comic books and Megadeth. I may have even had a mullet, but that cannot be confirmed or denied without an actual picture. Needless to say this combination proved to be more than interesting on my first backpacking adventure. I had a great time…can’t say the same for my tent mates Jade and Jason.
It was a scout activity. The scoutmaster knew of an isolated lake less than 1 mile off the road. It was called Ruth Lake and 30 years ago hardly anyone knew of its existence. There wasn’t even a parking lot, we just parked on the dirt shoulder. Today there are a couple pit toilets and enough parking for 20 cars. Last time I was up there, the world’s largest scout troop of like 30 kids were there. They managed to pack 20 Little Caesars pizza’s in because you know, who wants to roast hot dogs or cook tin foil dinners.
Previous to jumping in the car with my scout troop and best friend at the time, Jade, I had read a comic book that featured John Jameson aka Man-wolf (totally hardcore sounding right?). I can’t remember what particular group I was listening too at the time but I am sure it was Megadeth. Anyway I left them behind to experience a new adventure.
Now anyone that has camped within 5 miles of scouts can tell you how pleasant of an experience it is. I would put it right up there with sliding down a 2x4 studded with broken glass. Yes, scouts are that bad, the best part about camping near them is that you can pick them up and throw them at hungry bears. The best thing that can happen to anyone camping near scouts is a rain and thunderstorm of epic proportions. Most scouts don’t like rain and thunder therefore, the scouts stay in their tent. For any scouts sharing a tent with me, it becomes supper exciting!!!
As lightning and thunder crashed all around Jade, Jason and I huddled in our sleeping bags protected from the elements. As time went on I started to become bored. Jade and Jason decided to go to sleep. I had to find something to entertain me and keep my mind off the storm. I remembered my temporarily favorite comic book character and decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to role play. I pulled my head inside the sleeping bag and started screaming. “I am man-wolfy, I am changing.” After a few minutes of screaming and growling, I would thrust my hand outside of the sleeping bag and say “I am man-wolfy, I like to pet peoples faces”. At this point I would reach over and start petting Jades face. Why Jade and not Jason? Because deep down inside, I know Jade thought it was as awesome as I did.
Jade would start hitting and yelling at me and I would return to the depths of my Man-wolf cave. Silent cheers of victory swept through his mind as Man-wolf reverted to his human form, the lead singer of Megadeth. Thats right! As soon as Man-wolf changed back into a man, he would start singing loudly and off key “What do you mean I don’t believe in God, I talk to him everyday…Peace Sells but who’s buying”. After I repeated the only three parts I knew over and over for five minutes, Man-wolf would start changing. Once the change was complete, Jade got another dose of face petting.
This continued all night until about 5 in the morning. Jason and the other three tents decided to get up and start a campfire. I remember a few snarky comments about “annoying””asshole” and “couldn’t sleep”. I am not sure who they were directed at, but I think it was Jade. At some point in the night he crossed the line with a comment about Smokey the Bear and preventing forest fires.
Ruth Lake will always have a warm spot in my heart. I have returned many times with friends and visit it yearly. I have even found it as the perfect place to take my daughter backpacking.