Tuesday, May 20

Oh Vicky you're so fine

Another Victoria Day weekend has passed.

This one was spent staying close to home and doing all sorts of that super fun home stuff. Like sorting out the six boxes of paperwork, four zillion piles of clothing of undetermined cleanliness, and countless containers of "stuff".

The sorting is not finished but boy did we make a dent. I think SB got the most exercise running up and down to the recycling room. Anyhow, enough about the manic cleaning events that I inflict upon my family.

When I was in university, this usually was the first full on camping weekend of the summer. I do realize calling it summer was a stretch but youth is so full of folly. Anyhow, most times we hit the weather jackpot and would gather up a huge gaggle of friends to hit the road, with crappy tents, leaky coolers, and beer as far as the eye could see all in tow. Like most events of my youth, alcohol always trumped food.

Hell, you can always gnaw on your arm or eat some toe jam, but neither will ever get you drunk ;) Oh I kid, a party bag of cheetos is all the nutrition a girl like me needed.

Anyhow, most of my girl friends packed like me: a few packs of smokes in a ziploc bag (only takes one soaked cigarette to never forget that packing tip), juice for mix, and vodka or rum depending on preference for poison. Oh and sunscreen. We weren't completely stupid.

When reminiscing - like now - one Victoria Day weekend memory always comes to mind first. It was the late eighties and for some reason not remembered, my roommate started hanging with these two delightful Deadheads and their equally fantastic girlfriends. They were brothers who were dating sisters and just two of the most wonderful couples I had met during those ol' hay days of studying the classics.

Somehow we all decided we were going camping at this cool provincial park about an hour outside the city. Joining us were three other girls we knew.

The camp grounds were not officially open but the gates were unchained for campers to use. The available and open sites were all around a huge quad. Each site was separated only by thin tree lines so we picked the one furthest away from everyone else because we wanted privacy.

We weren't asshat teens, but we were teens so take that for what it's worth. Anyhow, the most noise we made mostly involved butchering Cat Stevens and Midnight Oil lyrics over poorly tuned guitars strummed with two wanna-be James Taylors. The sun was getting lower in the sky and many parties were breaking out all over the quad.

Many trips had been made to the communal house, for water, ice and potty breaks and somewhere along the way, a group of people had followed one of the girls back to our site.

They seemed friendly enough, two couples joined us at our campfire with their own stash of really cheap red wine.

As time passed, I became suspicious of their motives. Mostly because one of the guys had blatantly got up and checked out all our coolers. Oh and after both stranger guys talking together offside post espionage, the other guy punched out John from my camp for absolutely no reason other than John was sitting across from him.

Yes, it sucked to be jumped by a group who turned out to have a truck. A truck to put our stuff in. When the heck did a truck emerge? I have no idea but there it was - maybe it decloaked, and maybe I shouldn't have had that last vodka and cran.

After noticing the truck in the immediate kurfuffle after the punch, a few other guys with some scary looking girls emerged outta now where, and we realized that our two guys with seven - albeit some as tough as nails - ladies were outnumbered. Thankfully, only some pushing and two punches had been thrown. Lots of slurred words were being exchanged and overall it was just a really loud and strangely surreal "land pirate" event.

Someone not from our site had already called the RCMP and just after the truck load of yee-haws had pulled away a la Duke of Hazard, a solo local park ranger pulled up.

Unfortunately he recognized exactly what had happened since he saw the peeling rubber locals pass on his way in. Apparently the locals did this at least once a year, usually on the first long weekend. What a tradition eh?

Anyhow, Ranger Bob said he'd be back in the morning and not to worry we were safe for the night.

Somehow we made the best of the evening, and after a quick inventory realized the yee-haws hadn't gotten away with much. And John kinda looked good with that black eye. Seriously the guy was like a really well built flower child and the black eye kinda made him look like a tough puppy.

In the morning, it turns out that the entire camp ground had heard the fighting which was unfortunate because it really sucks to hear people getting their asses whooped during a commune with nature.

When the Ranger Bob returned, he escorted us to these really cool back country sites that were just off the road from his cabin, so any yocal local yee-haws had to pass his camp to get in. We spent the last night in peace, under the stars, nursing a few wounds, and retelling the prior nights events.

So despite the memory of the local Summer hazing ritual, and what I remember to be a bad sunburn on my chest (the one spot I forgot), oh and also the soon-to-follow break-ups of the Deadheads and their rockin' girlfriends, that Victoria Day was one of my favourite group camping experiences.

I dunno, after that trip, all non-combative camping trips just seemed so anti-climatic.

************

And have you seen the baby yet? He's here and ready for world domination on his own terms.

12 comments:

Assertagirl said...

I think I've just been inspired to write my own provincial park long-weekend teen camping story...(and what a nice park ranger!)

SciFi Dad said...

Land pirating is always better than the other kind of pirating. Just ask Ned Beatty in Deliverance.

Heather said...

Nice. What a way to get your kicks. Don't understand that myself. I guess that's boredom at it's highest when you want to beat people up for fun eh?

I had many a drunken singing night too.

Amanda said...

Wow, I feel lucky never to have had my good old fashioned, harmless campfire debauchery invaded by truck driving thieves and hooligans!

kittenpie said...

Yoiks. This is why you should never go into the woods. I was thinking this weekend that it was pretty ironic that this weekend is generally considered the start of summer, but was in fact the crummiest weather of late. Bah.

Mayberry said...

Aw, Ranger Bob! What a hero!

Mac and Cheese said...

Well, whatever floats your boat. I gave up camping on Victoria Day week-end as I always got the cold, rainy weather. Now I just use that week-end to attend cold, rainy weddings.

Backpacking Dad said...

How in the hell did I never go camping on Victoria Day?

The closest I got was a trip out to Picton to go the dunes; we never made it, stopping instead in Napanee to jump off a bridge into the river.

From then on I could always say that yes, if all of my friends jumped off a bridge, I would too.

Chag said...

Man, this sucks.

Maybe this is why I don't go camping?

Lindsay said...

I love Victoria Day weekend. I recently had to explain to someone at work about it (they are fairly new to Canada). It was tricky.
"Why is it called 'May 2-4'?"
"Well, it's for queen Victoria's birthday, May 24th, and a 2-4 means a 24 case of beer"
"But what's the purpose?"
"Ummm, summer? Drinking? Camping? Traditionally it's the first weekend people go to their cottage. Fireworks?"
"What does that have to do with Queen Victoria? I thought the queen was Elizabeth."

See - tricky, but fun!

Kyla said...

I've never been camping, nor do I want to, much to my boys dismay. LOL. But your story sounds VERY exciting.

for a different kind of girl said...

This totally trumps the time I went camping with a bunch of my high school friends and, one hour in and stone faced sober, I fell down a trail of wooden steps and had to be transported to the podunk hospital and hour away.

Your experience dances on the fringe of just one of those dudes having whipping out a machete and going Friday the 13th on all of you, and I like it!