June 2, 2005

Traveling through western landscapes.

Tonya has pictures from her rafting trip on the San Juan River in Utah -- including petroglyphs and Anasazi ruins. And I quote this though it threatens to set up a theme of the day on this blog:
One unusual thing about camping in remote areas is that there is an excessive amount of discussion about bodily functions -- when to go, where to go, how long you can avoid going, etc.

Much as I'd like to take in these sights and even knowing how much fun Tonya had, I can't see going camping. And camping with boating seems even worse, because you've got all that sun exposure. But that's just me. I love the Western landscapes. Taking them in, however, I have some strong preferences. Transportation: car. Where to sleep: hotel. Place to tend to physical needs: women-only bathroom.

UPDATE: I will note that I would be willing to go on the kind of rafting trip Tonya describes if I were paid enough. Putting a price on things like this is an Althouse tradition. I'm assuming a week-long raft trip, well-run, well-supplied, with people I enjoyed and through a landscape I wanted to see. I would do it for $1,000 -- the equivalent of "Star Wars" and an egg salad sandwich in Althouse valuation.

13 comments:

Nick said...

Then you would have absolutely hated the vacation I just took which involved both camping and boating in California.

I posted pictures as well... because the landscape was absolutely gorgeous. Hit my blog and scroll down.

leeontheroad said...

Serious canoe or kayak campers wear hats and protective clothing to reduce the dangers of overexposuire to UV rays. Even my dog gets under the canoe seat-- unless there's strong oncoming winds. In that case, he grins to the wind in his face, while the paddlers struggle.

Ann Althouse said...

It's easier to avoid the sun than to expose yourself and protect yourself. The balance is different for everyone, and I'm speaking from the point of view of a very fair-skinned person, who has never had a tan or could have a tan, and who has suffered truly painful sunburns (of the sort you'd want to criminally prosecuted parents for letting a kid get today, but was just the usual first day at the beach back in the late 1950s).

leeontheroad said...

no argument: someone has to photoblog the hotel trips!

Dave said...

I spent three months camping in the desert in Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, and southwestern Texas after college.

While I will never forget the experience, and am glad that I did, it was also, after three months, a relief to sleep in a bed in a hotel in Tucson. Oddly, I flew back to New York City the next day. A strange juxtaposition, that.

I've haven't been camping since, but I can't say there aren't times I don't miss it.

Nick said...

I'm pretty fair skinned too... as is the great majority of my family. I was on the water for 4 days and came away with only one burn on my ankle (where I missed lotion). It's not as hard to do as you think.

I highly recommend Bull Frog spay on sun screen. It's incredibly good.

SteveR said...

Growing up in New Mexico and being a geologist by education, I spent a great deal of time, in my younger days, outside, camping hiking. etc. But it's a season of my life that's passed. I prefer experiencing the world in a more comfortable manner these days. I'm glad I hiked above the timberline and rafted the white waters, but now I like a shower and an air conditioned room with a king size bed.

vnjagvet said...

As my mother told my wife when I suggested a camping trip years ago, "my idea of 'roughing it' is a Holiday Inn". That has since always been my wife's standard response when someone outside the family suggests a camping trip for a vacation.

Ann Althouse said...

Jim: That's the way I feel. The last time I checked into a Holiday Inn, there was no high-speed internet!

henny said...

OMG, that quote is so funny and so true! I went on one of those Outward Bound type courses as a teenager (six weeks in the Alaska wilderness) and base bodily functions were the main talking point. I know these wilderness courses profess raising self esteem for teenagers, but really I felt like shit at the end of the six weeks. My self esteem was way worse being that I couldn't relate with all this discussion of bowel movements and "conquering mountains and rivers".

Years later I'm wise enough to know that I'd much rather sit by a river with a bottle of wine and go on pleasant little hikes in sandels.

Ann Althouse said...

Henny: For some reason, reading your comment made me decide to up my price to $10,000.

lindsey said...

This seems like the kind of adventure that I'd do at least once. I'm not a camping person, to put it mildly, but I could see wanting to do this, if only for the experience and the adventure.

mw said...

Ah, the trick is to go out into the wilderness in a boat big enough that no special discussions of bodily functions are required and shade is always available (not to mention cold beer). Something like this:

At Anchor

That said, I do enjoy backpacking and always thought the 'digging a cat hole' thing was OK because I thought of it as a small price to pay for solitude (since it kept away the masses who insist on plumbing).