Bear Chum. It's Better than Ex Lax.

You know what happens when you go on a canoe trip with friends and one of them is a photographer? No? Let me tell you. First, you let him prepare dinner, which he has affectionately (and appropriately) named "Bear Chum." It's basically hunks of chicken and pork sausage in some kind of spicy, garlic pepper sauce. After dinner, you sit by the fire and drink lots of Drambuie. When the Drambuie is gone, you drink lots of Yukon Jack -- and before you know it, it's 1 am and you have laughed your ass off for about 5 solid hours.

After the fire and the conversation die down, you stumble to your sleeping bag and close your eyes and your tent spins at exactly 45 rpm, which is fortuitous because you've got Van Morrison's Brown-eyed Girl stuck in your head, and somehow that always sounds more authentic with all the scratches and pops included. You don't actually remember falling asleep, but you close your eyes for a second to see how it tastes and the next thing you know, you're waking up because your buddy the photographer is clomping around outside your tent in the dark. Why? He's getting ready to take pictures of the friggin' sunrise, of course.

You sit up and the first thing you realize is that you still have your boots on. Then you realize that you are pretty sure you're still a little drunk and that you'd give your left nut to have slept through the headache that is now trying to escape from your skull via the back of your eyes. Your stomach revolts at the thought of breakfast, so you lie back down. 30 minutes later, you realize you have to piss like a racehorse and decide that the best course of action would probably be to get up and do so because you only brought one change of clothes.

You stumble out of your tent with your wife's point and shoot camera (just in case) and take pictures like this one over your shoulder while you look for a convenient tree:

Somehow, it almost (but not quite) seems worth it.

Here's one from someone who actually knows what they're doing.


  1. Wow. A picture really IS worth a thousand words. Gorgeous.

  2. Anonymous10:33 PM

    Your friend is an amazing photographer-but in this case-I like your picture better!

    I hate the morning piss urge too-it ruins such great sleep, or non-sleep in your case.

  3. Awesome pics. It's still much too hot for that foolishness down here. Glad you got the new boots, if you're going to be sleeping in them.

  4. Ahhhh. The joys of camping. There's nothing quite like sleepng outside especially after a night of drinking and laughing with good friends around a campfire. I'm not sure I've ever actually seen the sunrise on a camping trip, so your picture is much appreciated.

  5. the distance between the campfire circle and the cabin always seems far greater when i'm drunk and have to weave around rocks and trees.

    awesome pics. and if that's what kind of photo you snap hungover, i'd love to see what you do when you're sober, man.

  6. Having had the hangover to end all hangovers this past weekend - I hear you, buddy.

  7. kristina1:38 PM

    JV, your picture is truly fantastic. While your friend's picture is an aweome sight as well, I like that the canoe is in yours.

  8. CharmingDinnerGuest4:18 PM

    I like your picture better.

  9. donna9:16 PM

    My idea of roughing it is slow room service.

  10. OMG Johnny.. both of those photos are breathtaking!

    I don't camp. At all. If I can't plug my curling iron in, I ain't going.

  11. Anonymous12:08 PM

    Nice pics. Yours gives me the urge to go camping more, though. However, I think my tent camping days are over. I tried sleeping on an air mattress on the floor recently. My lower back was stiff and sore for 2 days.

  12. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Both of those shots are pretty damn spiffy, hangovers notwithstanding.

  13. Thanks, KC! The place is really pretty. You could point a camera just about anywhere there and get something decent.

    Anon, it makes it impossible to get back to sleep.

    Chris, yeah, they keep my feet warm AND dry.

    Jen, you are right. It's pretty cheap to make memories sometimes. In all my years backpacking and camping, I think this is like #3 in the sunrise department. Sunsets is where it's at. They happen at a decent hour.

    Marianne, thanks. I'm going to take some lessons on moving water shots from vidna and see what happens.

    Nessa, I have nothing to say other than my word verification is nessamer. I'm not sure what that means.

    kristina, that was his canoe. An aluminum beast from the 60's that was build by an aircraft manufacturer. He could sink battleships with that thing.

    Charming, thanks. I'm like the Kinkade of photos. It's all about the cheesy props.

    Donna, kentucky, you should try it. they have rechargeable curling irons. That's what I use.

    Anon2, yeah I feel your pain. Mostly in between my shoulderblades and in my neck.

    Gardenqueen, you really don't have to try too much to get some nice shots there, which is a good thing.

  14. Pink morning. Sometimes the morning sky looks bright orange here and sometimes has purple in there too but this pink is really pretty. Well, I call it pink. Pink is my favorite color. The story is so funny. Friends camping, laughing and letting go of the rigid regular life. So good.

  15. love the honesty here, and it's pretty hilarious too!

    i gave you one of my weekly Goddess Awards which you can collect anytime, if you like.

    happy blogging trails!

  16. Clicked through from Everyday Goddess...congrats on post of the week!

    I enjoyed your story and the telling of it, you have a great "voice". And your photo? Stunning. :)

  17. Wow. Stunning photo. Totally worth it.