Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Make a Survival Roll - Nerdy Camping with Jarys


  The day before your leave for your multi-day hiking trip. You have to consider the weight and utility of everything you bring. Will you take matches, or a tiny stove? Will you sleep in a tent, or just use a compact tarp? Zombie Dice or Fluxx? How will you eat, where will you sleep, what will you do? For some, like my father, hiking is a plethora of outdoor activities such as fishing or or stargazing. Activities that cannot be as easily done in or around our homes. But for the more Geekily-inclined, all kinds of activities can be pursued which are neither indoor nor outdoor activities, existing mostly in our mind. Like a dream eating Psychophage or a Farie-

     I digress.

     Besides certain pastimes, mood plays a large part in how geeky a camping trip can be. If you or your Significant Other are the only nerds in the herd, your camping trip is not likely to have a nerdy timbre. For best results, invite a majority of nerds, which isn't hard, as I find camping is best when a majority of people are your friends. Camping is a trying ordeal, you'll get to know people, and if you wouldn't like them in normal circumstances, they will get under your nails in a hurry on the trail. Camping with a group is essentially becoming roommates without a room, going on a road trip without much of a road (and you are the car). So bring people with whom you mesh well.

Ok, you get the trail mix, Mila will grab the headlamps, and Dvorden, if you put another rack of ribs in the cart, it's going in your pack!

     I have not gone backpacking (hiking with camping equipment for multi-day adventures) very often, just five times. I became more engrossed in it after listening to my dad's accounts of his trips. in fact, I finally was able to go with him on a trip two years ago, which I cherish like a dwarf cherishes an ancestor's ax. It's fitting, then, that my Lord of the Ring loving dad got me in to the hobby, because my last trip was rife with Middle-Earth references.

     I went out to Sunol last weekend with mostly geeky friends (mostly to both, I did meet cool people). I brought a number of new toys my dad gave me for the holidays (wooo a backpack actually made for backpacking!) and a lot of humor. We broke ourselves into a D&D party almost as soon as we hit dirt, which was auspicious, as our first day was in fact a night hike. Sticking close to the others, always single file, not knowing anything more than a thirty feet away from you had a very dungeoneering feel. The professional trail guide was our ranger, the long blond haired couple were our elves, and I became a wizard Dwarf (I often end up being the dwarf, as I am on the smaller side of a medium sized creature). We sang baudy sailing songs (I need to learn the good ship Venus), compared and analyzed our various equipment (I brought 50 ft of rope), and began referring to unnecessary speed as "Chasing Uru-kai". Most conversation was about various fiction and gaming situations we had experienced. Fun was had, and then split evenly to each party member.

He did not look like this....well, not exactly. He didn't have a bow, ok!

     As it turned out, I was the only person who did not bring a game. Some brought Zombie Dice, Avalon, a Fate Deck, and others. What all these games had in common was that they used relatively small or light equipment for the expansive amounts of emergent fun they could produce. I wanted to bring Baron Von Munchausen, but the eBook on which I had brought my copy ran out of power and no one seemed interested.'re a captive audience, have you heard of this game? Baron Von Munchausen was an 18th century nobleman who was a famous teller of tall tails. The game involves players creating fictitious titles for themselves and taking turns telling outrageous stories of their accomplishments, prompted by the last person. The game aspect comes in when people challenge or add details, pushing the storyteller to think quickly. I very much adore the improvisational game, and it's good for passing time quickly. I recommend you go out and buy the book here.

     However you spend your time, have fun, include people, and see to your basic needs. Backpacking is a rough hobby, but it can bring people together incredibly, as you have to rely on one another. Getting mad and giving someone the silent treatment may cause for a key detail to remain uncommunicated. I have found that backpacking puts people in such mutual hardship that sympathizing becomes easier. Your feet hurt, their feet hurt. It may sound sucky, but I highly recommend backpacking. Adventures don't go There and Back again because it's cushy.There is much Glory to be gotten, in the form of stories. Loot, in the form of picture opportunities, is abundant. Each hardship and instance of adversity is an antagonist to be defeated or reconciled.

     Just don't forget your fifty feet of rope.

Ridiculous tent not required.

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