Thursday, July 7, 2011

Outdoor Plumbing

We just returned from our annual 4th of July camping trip to Independence, CA. This was the 9th consecutive year our family, as well as some other friends, ventured up Route 395 to the Owens Valley.

We enjoyed our normal activities. we spent a day at Keogh Hot Springs, a relic of the 1920's. We hiked the Onion Valley Trailhead, making it to Gilbert Lake. (A few of our campers including my oldest daughter almost made it to Kearsage Pass.) And of course, we took in the very ambitious fireworks show put on by the Independence Fire Department.

I hate to sound like an  East Coast elitist but I swear there is nothing that amuses drunk white trash more than the properly supervised ignition of gunpowder.

But this year's trip did feature an activity other years did not. About 4 days into our stay, the Upper Grey's Meadow Campground suffered a broken mainline pipe. That rendered the very rudimentary bathroom stalls  useless. Which meant any serious business would require a 12 minute ride down the hill to the nearest gas station.

And as my buddy Paul will tell you, sometimes you don't have the luxury of those twelve minutes. Fortunately my wife had purchased the Colghan's Folding Camping Shovel.

Afterwards, Paul spoke so highly of the au naturale experience that I found myself securing a rattlesnake-free spot amongst the high chaparral. This was, up until a few centuries ago, how mankind went about its business for the past 2 million or 6,000 years -- depending on whether you're a Darwinist or a follower of Intelligent Design (worst. theory name. ever.).

The joy was contagious. And I'm proud to say that on the last day of our trip, even my wife found herself with the origami-like shovel in her hand. 

The sleeping bags have been put away and the tents tucked neatly in their sacks. But next year, our tenth year, it is hoped that everyone in attendance will proudly cross that excretory threshold and initiate themselves into Club Meadow. 

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