Another trip around the sun, another birthday camping trip with my family and friends… AKA, another year I sucker everyone into pitching tents and making me birthday food in the woods! (It’s been working since I was a kid! If it ain’t broke, I ain’t gonna fix it. Moowhwhahahaahahahahahh!) And while one might not equate fine dining with a camp stove and fire pit, my brothers never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to whip up. This year was no different.
The exception, however, to the overall Smith family camping awesomeness, was the addition of my unexpected and unwelcome return to searing back pain. YES!! And lemme tell ya – it’s definitely not what you want when facing your next couple of nights on the forest floor. (Or in the back of a KIA Sportage – I mean, come on – there was a pack of WOLVES in the area! True story.) Yep – rather than hiking around one of my favorite places in the world, the campground of my youth, I spent the entire trip reclined in my little brother’s swanky zero-gravity lounge chair, which I ruthlessly occupied
Long story, short – seems the back surgery I had a few years ago didn’t quite take care of business. I visited the doctor after returning from camping and it appears I have a bone-rubbing-bone situation in the same area as my old surgery – Who needs cartilage?! I’ve always found it overrated… ANYway – I anticipate more surgery in the near future… But who wants to talk about that? NOT ME. I’ll just proactively ignore it while taking pain pills and burning through my DVR queue… And finishing my family camping story.
Since we’ve all been having a fairly busy summer, there wasn’t as much planning and prep that went into the trip. My brothers usually bust out some ridiculously elaborate campsite feasts – ones I wouldn’t attempt even in my own kitchen. As mentioned, this year wasn’t any different, but we did simplify things a tiny bit. For instance, we did make more than a few meals on sticks – Team Food on Sticks ™ for the win!! Nothing like meat cooked on a stick over an open fire… Granted, open fires were banned due to an incredibly dry forest, but my brother’s gas fire pit did just as good a job. (Legally, thank you.) It didn’t put out quite the same heat as a campfire, but it certainly did justice to those wily hotdogs… Mmmmm… Food on sticks!
In addition to meat prepared on sticks, my brothers also produced quite an excellent fish fry-up. My brother Ryan and sister-in-law, Beth hauled up the iron kettle deep-fryer that Beth’s dad handcrafted. (Beth’s mom and dad also made it up camping – first time camping with the Smiths. Heh. I hope we didn’t scare them off!) They hand-cut and breaded fresh cod and fried it up with freshly cut potato chips. (Beth and I lovingly cut EACH chip ourselves. With questionable knives. On a wobbly camp table. #RoughingIt) Beth’s mom also made her delicious coleslaw and my Stepmom, Marilyn brought up some incredibly tasty macaroni salad. There haven’t been many times I’ve had deep-fried cod and potato chips in the mountains – no other times, actually. However, when cooking in the woods with my brothers, you never know what’s gonna happen. I think they should do a cooking show from the campsite, in fact… (Food Network – are you listening??) I think it should be called, “Cooking with The Glampers.” ™
On the topic of glamping, I come from a long line of glampers. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some backpacking and can bathe in the creek with the best of them, (with eco-friendly soap substitutes, of course) but I do love my family’s tradition of bringing ALL the comforts of home into the campsite. Before the days of the more conveniently sized generators and such, my family brought big screen TVs (before they were flat screen), all manner of cooking devices and whatever else which could possibly make sitting around the campfire more ‘comfortable.’ I’m pretty sure someone in my family has attempted to bring a hot tub up to the campsite at some point… Because, what’s better after a long, hot day of motorcycling than a nice soak in the hot tub? While roasting some food on sticks…
And to top off the birthday affair, my awesome family and friends helped further distract me from back pain by showering me with lovely gifts and a GINORMOUS birthday cake! Seriously, we’re all still eating that cake – and there were 15 of us up there to tackle it! It was honestly one of the largest cakes I’ve seen in a while… Thanks, Dad! I think there was pretty much enough room in there for someone to jump out. Seriously – can we get on that for next time? Cute guy jumping out of cake. Check.
Well, I guess that’s all I’ve got for this installment. I shall now retire with my pain pills and ice packs back to the couch. And continue blowing through my DVR queue. And some of that cake…
Thanks to Dad, Marilyn, Ryan, Beth, Eli, Josh, Ann, Belle, Emily, Layla, Beth, CJ, Marvin and Ruth for making my birthday awesome!
Until next time – Cheers!
p.s. The aftermath of Ryan’s campsite delivery service