That title is a little dramatic for the three days I spent camping on Mount Hood last week. The first time I went camping was five years ago (more on that another day) and with few wilderness survival skills, I stick to day hikes and car camping. That means if it can fit in the trunk, I tend to pack it. For three days and barely an hour’s drive from home, I figured I could rough it more than normal and pack light.
Packing light somehow included a camp chair, four books, a map of the Oregon coast (just in case I decided to head the other direction, I guess), a two-person tent (for just me, I like the room), and so on.
Yet I decided to save space by bringing just one pair of shorts.
I claimed a spot at Trillium Lake, a campground in the Mount Hood National Forest. I almost felt guilty for taking one of the few sites with a view of Mount Hood, the highest peak in Oregon at around 11,240 feet.
(I have a Pavlovian response to camping and can’t resist the salty snack aisle at a camp store.)
The next morning, I headed to a trail head near Government Camp. I was heading up to the Timberline Lodge. You can drive up to the lodge, but I was going to hike the 5 ½ miles with its 2,000 foot elevation gain – penance for last night’s “dinner.”
Turning the corner of a switchback, I felt a tug on my shorts. Then I heard a slow-motion, tearing rip. My one pair of shorts, shredded. At least it was along the side (given my foraging trips down the salty snack aisle, a rip down the back wouldn’t have been shocking).
I believe that’s the closest I’ve come to using a survival skill.
I was pleased with my first camper’s duct tape repair job, but realized as I finished the second book and took out the third from my backpack that next time I might want to go digital and save the room for a second pair of shorts or more duct tape.