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The Thunker

by Sarah Holdt

Ask me to go camping and what do I think? I picture a tent and sleeping bags and sitting around a campfire drinking hot chocolate with a drizzle of peppermint schnapps, gazing at the brilliant stars shimmering against a black night sky. I imagine hanging my food from a tree and spitting toothpaste foam into a cup of water and dumping that onto the fire so the minty scent doesn't attract bears. I set up my dehydrator so I can dry spaghetti sauce and mushrooms for a camp stove dinner and some apple slices for snacks, and then I get the headlamp, the Thermarest, the candle lantern and the long johns ready to go. So when we were invited to go camping last weekend I immediately planned for the thrill and challenge and fulfillment of a onewith-nature, roughing-it experience. The other 11 couples had something entirely different in mind. We arrived at our reserved group campsite at Cherry Creek State Park, found almost a dozen RVs pulled up in a circle like a pioneer wagon train, and pitched our tent in the middle. The only other tent was already up-twice the size of our two-person unit. Fellow "campers" came over to help us put up our humble abode, which took all of five minutes, and then it was cocktail hour. We made our way to the group pavilion. Our kitchen had enough outlets for all the crockpots, toasters and coffee makers to be plugged in at the same time, the granite countertops were laden with pot luck fare, and the faucet provided hot water for washing up. The bathrooms on the back side had lights, flush toilets, and hand dryers. Our organizer, we call her "Glady," had spread tablecloths on each sturdy picnic table and decorated them with pumpkins and floral arrangements. We drank sophisticated blended adult beverages (cucumber serrano chili martinis) and ate gourmet appetizers while we renewed friendships with the others in the group. And they called this camping? At least we all shivered as evening descended into night, not just us slummers. Around the campfire, the equal-opportunity wood smoke didn't chase just the tentcampers, so we all laughed at the obligatory jokes about which way that smoke was blowing. And then we retired to our softsided accommodations while everyone else (except the other tent couple) retreated to the quiet warmth of their hard-shell motor homes. I should insert here that Mark and I backpacked to Timber Lake on the other side of the Park for our honeymoon 15 years ago. Backpacking and camping were a way of life for me in my single days. It's what I did for entertainment. I love it now as much as I loved it then. Mark, on the other hand, didn't tell me at the time that sleeping upon minimal cushion with his socks on and a stocking cap on his head, his mummy bag pulled tight around his face, makes him achy and less than chipper. I have accused him of tricking me into marrying him by leading me to believe he loved this rugged lifestyle. Now I know the truth: Mark likes his creature comforts. A lot. (In case I've misled, I'm still glad I married him. A lot.) He was up with the sun and as a result, was treated to a glorious sunrise. After witnessing the watercolor sky and reveling under the warming spray of his coin-operated shower, his spirits had lifted. By then the coffee was ready and the morning fire had been stoked. It was going to be a perfect day. Until the rain came down. It rained and poured and showered and drenched and once it started it never ceased. We abandoned our tent and retreated to civilization, hoping the forecast was accurate and the precipitation would let up. Several hours later we agreed it was time to wave the white flag. We went back to the castles-on-wheels campsite and dashed into the center of the cul-de-sac to collect our lawn chairs, cooler, toaster and other miscellany and to take down the wet tent (everything inside it was dry; it's a good tent!). Embarrassed that my youthful granola conviction had turned soggy, I tried to work quickly and get out of there before detected. As I bobbed my head to shake the rain off my hood, my cell phone rang. Busted! Karla was calling to offer her help and to let us know everyone understood why we were conceding defeat. The phone rang again. Would we like to watch football with Bob and Joyce in their rig, where it was warm and dry? The scene reminded me of a very small town, with everyone peeking out their windows, watching us pack up and reporting to their campermates what they were seeing. "Looks like Mark and Sarah have given up." "Really? It's supposed to stop raining any time now." "Too bad they're leaving. They were going to provide all the s'mores stuff for the campfire tonight." "Gosh, we'll miss the s'mores--uh--I mean we'll miss them." Wouldn'tcha know, up came the sun and dried up all the rain half-an-hour after we headed home. We heard that the rest of the weekend at Cherry Creek State Park was beautiful. We had a terrific time camping with the other half, half the weekend. As much as our pals worked at convincing us to upsize for future camping adventures, I hope we'll continue to bunk in our little tent pitched in the shadow of their moveable mansions. All we need is a thick slab of foam for Mark and a weekend without rain. You may let The Thunker know what you think at her e-mail address, donoholdt@gmail.com.

EPES Fundraiser At MacDonalds Restaurant

The Estes Park Elementary School PTO, in partnership with McDonald's restaurant, is hosting a Jr. Bobcat Night on Tuesday, October 23, from 4to 8 p.m. McDonald's will donate 20% on all sales generated from the drive thru or inside dinning. Proceeds from this event will be used to purchase iPads for elementary school students. The community is invited to participate in this fundraiser. Thank you for supporting the Estes Park Elementary PTO.

Friday, October 19, 2012

LONIGANS

Special

WEEKEND

Page 9

DJ-DANCE Night

KARAOKE Night

with

Bard Griffin

Special Guest DJ & KJ Host

CASH PRIZES for best costumes BOTH NIGHTS

and a Special

SCARYOKE Night on

with Special KJ Host Justin D

Witches Brew Shots for a $1.00

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