Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Slummin' It... Camping at Detroit Lake

In the second installment of the newest internet sensation, the Slummin' It series, our heroine discusses more aspects of a life without sophistication. This week, I elucidate on the experiences at Detroit Lake, from the second half of my week long camping trip. The first part of the week is here: Slummin' It... Camping at Silver Falls State Park.

clear blue day view of detroit lake swimming area
There aren't very many pictures from my time at Detroit Lake, as except for the couple of occasions I went floating in the actual reservoir or took quick sprints to the restroom*, I spent most of my time hiding in the tent. This was not due to to the fact it was breezy, or the squirrels too friendly, or the gravel making it hard to walk in heels. It was because I was certain at least one of the campers around me was a serial killer. Maybe all of them. I'm not sure. But this tranquil location is certainly an accomplice to disaster as it lulls you into a calm, false sense of security and then, BAM! Your throat is flapping open in the wrong place and you're gurgling like a bathtub drain. I thought camping was supposed to be a relaxing experience. I was supposed to be out connecting to nature to decrease my anxiety, not increase it in the fear of waking up without a face.

Here's the site where we set up our temporary home at detroit lake
My refuge. If I had been staying in a cabin by the lake, I'd be dead already.
I couldn't take any chances with my safety. All of the signs of impending doom were there: a campsite in H Loop had a full size refrigerator plugged in on the driveway, there were a lot of massive red trucks covered in Romney stickers, and a bird shat all over my publicist's chair. Even the campsite of frat dude bros was not likely to be a safe haven, for although they were fortifying themselves with plenty of Vitamin R, I knew that the killers in our midst would likely search out the bros first as they were listening to Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber for some reason full blast on a boombox. The inside of my tent with its half-deflated mattress and sandy sheets was far more of a safe and secure location. I even had chemical warfare devices at my disposal: the new issues of Elle and Marie Claire were loaded with perfume ads.
The suspects:

Screaming Grandma, Screaming Mom, Barking Dog, Sad Children: This site housed a woman that looked like Large Marge, her even larger and louder daughter, all five of the daughter's kids, a trailer, and about 70 tents. The children ranged in age from an approximately 14-year-old boy, who was expected to act like the man of the house, all the way down to a three-year-old girl. The eight-year-old girl was screamed at constantly by her mother, for various reasons such as not keeping the three-year-old's dress from getting dirty, not rinsing the dishes fast enough, and for not sweeping out the trailer. The large dog was apparently named Shut Up, as all day long that's the only phrase anyone ever said toward it. Screaming Mom really likes her coffee and snack cakes and if you get in her way you might not live to see the sunrise. Perhaps Shut Up could escape and gnaw through your stomach to fill his emotional hunger inside that can't be sated by food. Or maybe little 8-year-old Cinderella would beat you with a broom as she screamed, "Why does her dress need to be clean? We're camping at a lake, stupid!" So many possibilities here.

Rastafarian Knicks Fan and Little Dude: The stoner group arrived after dark, turned on their headlights to set up the campsite, and cranked up the Bob Marley. The laughing never stopped, except to shout at Little Dude, "Hey, Little Dude, don't walk on the tent poles." "Little Dude, don't get in the fire pit." "Little Dude, don't release the emergency brake and run us all over in retribution for when we used to blow smoke in your face when you were in your crib." At some point around two a.m., the gentleman in the Knicks jersey with the Jamaican flag colors on it stumbled over to the frat dude bro site and crawled into one of their tents. One of them wholeheartedly protested, and Knicks Fan merely replied, "Whoa, I've never slept on an air mattress before!" Will Little Dude stab you with a broken bong? Perhaps the Knicks Fan smothers you in your sleep and then eats all of Screaming Mom's snack cakes? Will the ghost of Peter Tosh wail at you endlessly because you only listen to Bob Marley?

The Quietest Family I've Ever Seen: Dad about 55, pregnant mom about 38, one boy ten, other boy nine. They were SILENT. The campsite was immaculately kept, the folding chairs were never moved, everything that was dirtied was immediately wiped or washed, but all was done so SILENTLY. I was self-conscious every time I opened or closed the car doors because it seemed so extremely loud in comparison. Every once in awhile the family would head out with the parents walking and boys on bikes, but there was no sound. They would come out of their tent and I would have no idea that they had even come back. This proves that they could have gotten behind me with a piano wire at any moment, just to feel the intoxicating power over my insignificant existence, and then slip away again to chuckle at how close I was to death, any time they wanted. Oh, there was the one time the dad spoke to the ten-year-old, hissing, "YOU SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU," but I'm sure that has nothing to do with anything at all.

Glow Stick Juggalos: Um, they were Juggalos with glow sticks. Isn't that enough?

Although I managed to survive, situations like this could happen again anytime, anywhere. Discussion is always welcome on the Do-Nothing Blog (anyone can comment without registering), but it is even more appropriate today. Please tell me which of these people you think would be more likely to drag you out of your cabin and into the woods, and hang you in a tree by your entrails. Perhaps there are some scary folks you remember from a camping trip of your own. Education and vigilance just might save someone's life. Maybe mine, which is the most important.

*I didn't have to worry about counter space here to put in my contacts as unlike at Silver Falls, no one at Detroit Lake washed their hands after going to the bathroom.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Slummin' It... Camping at Silver Falls State Park

Welcome to the first installment of my wildly popular new series, Slummin' It. This series will detail my attempts to ironically enjoy activities I used to do as a youth, before I became the gorgeous, sophisticated socialite I am today.

Me looking like a doofus in front of a waterfall
Yes, that's vodka in my bottle.
The first location I thought of while trying to come up with a regression to simpler times was that of Silver Falls State Park, right here in Oregon. Although this site is cursed with many exhausting and sweat-inducing trails, freezing cold waterfalls, and thousands of varieties of stinging and biting wildlife, I remember this place mainly because this is where my mom found a poop in the shower and where I lost a quarter inch off my little toe when a boulder trapped my foot.

My handler and I imagined that a return to this nightmarish vacation spot would provide a slight bit of needed aversion therapy. If I faced my fears here, I might be able to face other fears later, such as talking to dirty-looking people or having to drink house label champagne. We packed up everything in the house, Tetrised it all into the car, and then unpacked it into a much less sturdy version of the house, where I slept on the floor in a mix of blankets and dirt. To blend in with the local population I wore some clothes I found on the MAX and rubbed soot in my hair.

Yes, majorly disconcerting about this trip was the fact I wouldn't be able to wear my typical dress or cake my face in its customary beautifying sludge. I didn't even pack any exfoliant. Imagine my surprise, then, the first morning I entered the ladies' loo to find three fabulous women taking up the entire sink counter with their own cosmetics and various hair burning devices. My jealousy overwhelmed me when I realized they were expertly applying enough mascara, eyeliner and shadow to successfully avoid a raccoon attack (if you do up your face to look like them, they invite you into their family). I knew that my needing to put contacts in my eyes was not as important as their blowouts, so I gratefully waited for 30 minutes to have counter space. I was additionally happy at realizing how kind these ladies were to prevent me from putting in my contacts for that much longer, as any amount of time I could spend not being able to see my imperfect reflection was truly a gift. The bitches that kept trying to cut in to wash their hands had better check themselves next time, too.

I'm burning things to eat
I can still hear the chattering.
The smell of propane hurts my delicate senses so I sipped at a fine vintage bottle of MD 20/20 to gather up enough courage to conduct all cooking over the wood fire pit. This can often be time consuming, so after trapping the young squirrels I would just place the traps directly on the grate. Fortunately, the smell of their roasting brethren kept the rest of the furred menaces away from our site, leaving my just-woven basket of fresh croissants and beignets untouched.

The main objective of this trip was to find the exact waterfall--there are ten in this park-- where I lost part of my toe as a child. In my more studious and responsible youth, I broke away from my character for a moment and decided to climb under one of the waterfalls. It was a inviting scene: a waterfall of reasonable volume, a smallish pool, and direct access that allowed me to wade into the water and directly under the falls. The pool came up to my chest and the refreshing and exciting falls cascaded over me. I was greatly enjoying myself until the boulder I was on shifted slightly, and caught my foot in between itself and the adjacent rocks. I attempted to dislodge my foot, but it was tightly wedged, and I couldn't simply pull it out of my shoe, because I had already removed my shoes on the shore.

It took approximately ten minutes of focusing away my panic and shifting all of the boulders with a rocking motion until I was able to yank my foot out of the water. I made my way back to shore, thoroughly frozen by now and shaken from the experience. I jammed my feet back into my shoes and started back down the trail with my family. Approximately fifteen minutes later I was feeling a strange dull pain in my right foot. I looked down and saw my white canvas shoe was now bright red, and leaving even more liquid redness on the trail. Upon removing the shoe I discovered that my little toe on my right foot was shorter than it had been before and had no nail; I hadn't felt the injury due to the cold water. My nail actually grew back six years later, strangely, but the toe is still slightly stubbier.

Anyway, my publicist and I traveled the entire system of trails until we found the devil falls. I was disappointed to not find my toe piece, as I know a really good plastic surgeon that could have certainly reattached it the next time I went in for a forehead sandblasting. Returning unsuccessful to the campsite, I desired some level of productivity so I again visited the restroom. This time, I found the sinks available, yet the outlet still was not. A teenage girl stood next to the wall with her iPhone plugged in, despite the fact there was no signal remotely near the park. I admired her devotion to her cause as she stood in that bathroom and watched her phone charge for the next four hours. Oh, the sights, sounds and smells she must have witnessed, that brave girl. Perhaps in 20 years she will return to the park and reenact her trauma, as well.

This installment is merely the first half of the camping trip. The second installment will outline the second half of the week, which was endured at Detroit Lake. I'll upload that adventure for my fans soon enough.

I'm pointing at the waterfall where I lost my toe
The scene of the tragedy.