All Things are Relative in Camp Land

Our humble cabin

Our long weekend trip to the East Coast from the West took an unexpected turn: camping.

I had booked an AirBnB that would be a close drive to our family–son and daughter-in-law–and one that welcomed–even encouraged–dogs.

Photos online showed a hand-made wood cabin with a quilt-covered bed next to a wood-burning stove, surrounded by trees, creeks and wildlife.

It looked inviting.

I read that we would wash dishes with bottles of water they trekked in, and that the shower was outside.

I reasoned we could always complete our ablutions at son & daughter’s.

My decision was based on my uncertainty about the pooch: would he behave in a modern hotel with linens and bedspreads and carpeting–even in a pet-friendly place?

This was our maiden voyage with the pup, who had never before travelled far, much less stayed in a hotel.

So we settled for a semi-outdoor adventure during a warm Spring weekend in what the owners call the Magic Forest.

Pooch growled at the goats, frolicked in the grass, chewed on dandelions and obeyed the potty rules like a trooper hound.

Me? Not so much.

Turns out people’s potty was a short trek from the cabin to a wooden outhouse.

Last outhouse I remember using was at the Rez during Sundance before the Pandemic.

And at Pine Ridge we weren’t staying overnight, so the outdoor privy was fine in a pinch.

But facing a four-day weekend in the forest surrounded by mosquitos and ticks and beetles and deer and porcupines and geese and lions and tigers and bears gave me pause.

The outhouse was clean and relatively bug-free, not too smelly, and offered plentiful paper and bottled water for cleaning.

I imagine myself a brave soul, not just for taking the toilet in stride, but for finding a tick behind the pup’s left ear: a hitchhiker from our potty trek.

Husband-doctor brought tweezers in his carry-on, so the pooch was soon saved.

We decided to take the pup into town for a bath and made our bed while Husband scoured the pillows for bugs.

He smashed a spider, and I cried: Hey, that could be a relative!

Not everyone is cut out for camping.


Photo of the Magic Forest cabin and outhouse by the author






About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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