I realize I've been slacking lately, so let me tell you why. September and October are my vacation months, and my wife and I take 4-day weekends to go backpacking and/or canoing, although lately it's been easier to take the canoe. What this means is that I have three "regular" work days and also only three days to do things like freelance, practice piano, do stuff around the house, you name it. So that's my story. It'll get better - that's a promise. Or a threat. Take it however you want to.
This past weekend, my wife and I took the canoe to a place called Cedar River Flow. It's an easy place to put in, since you can almost back your car down to the water -- there's no canoe carrying involved, like there was last week. That being said, it is designated as "wilderness," so things are pretty rustic. And by "pretty rustic" I mean no bathrooms. Not even an outhouse. Also, it's a good idea to not leave food around your camp because there are various large and small animals in the area that would like nothing better than a free meal on your dime.
What made this trip unique is that we weren't alone. You see, we have this cat, JD. Unfortunately JD needs medication every 6 hours. Because we couldn't board him at the last minute, we decided we had two choices -- either not go on the trip, or....take him with us.
In a spectacular lapse of good judgment, we decided to take him.
Some more details: He is an indoor cat. He has never worn a collar in his life. So, of course, the first thing we did was get him a collar, which made him walk around like he had a cinder block resting on his head for 2 hours. After we got him used to that, we put on the harness. With all the buckles and studs and black leather, all he needed was a little leather cap and a pair of assless pants and he could have walked into any leather boy club in LA without attracting attention. If he hadn't been a cat, I mean.
We bundled the backpacks into the car along with the cat carrier and headed out.
Surprisingly, he was fine during the two hour car trip. He slept, in fact. When we loaded everything into the canoe, including him, he didn't flip out. He was amazingly laid back about the whole thing. We paddled through semi-rough water for a few miles and then unloaded everything at a remote campsite. The cat loved it. He was rolling around on the ground, exploring everything, laying in the sun, having a grand old time.
Everything was fine until approximately 2:30am, which is the exact time I learned why it wasn't a good idea to bring a cat camping with you. Was it the coyote howling approximately 100 feet from the tent? No, it wasn't that, although I am pretty sure he figured cat was on the menu if he persevered. Was it the incessant licking of various body parts? No, I'm used to that -- I'm talking cat stuff here.
2:30am was the exact moment in time that I learned that indoor cats don't realize that all of outside is their litter box. How they cannot get this, I don't know. I base this theory on the fact that our cat made himself comfortable on top of my sleeping bag, nestled himself between my calves, and then took a giant piss.
Luckily, (if you can call anything about this luck) my sleeping bag was slightly water resistant, which also means that it was slightly pee resistant. Incredibly, I didn't panic, even though there was approximately 2 pints of cat piss in a small indentation balanced precariously between my legs. We soaked it up with toilet paper, and when i was able to move, I dragged everything out of the tent.
So the stage was set: It's 2:37 in the morning. It's cold. There's howling in the distance. I can't find my jacket. Everything smells like pee. It was like waking up on the lawn after passing out at a frat party.
I carried the bags down to the lake and dragged them across the top of the water, front and back, about 3 times each. I wanted to wash them, but not soak the feathers inside. Once I did that, I brought them back to the camp and started a fire, then stood there with one and then the other until they were both dried. Finally, we were able to put everything back in the tent and go back to sleep. Everything still stank, but at least we weren't going to freeze.
I dreamt of hobos, and we left early the next morning.
As my wife told me repeatedly, worse things could have happened. She's right. At least I didn't get crapped on, too.
I guess there's always next time.