Boy Crazy

Yes, I am boy crazy. I admit it, I like the guys and – with only a few exceptions in my life – I’ve found them to be overwhelmingly authentic and noble. I’ve had the supreme luck of being surrounded by an entire posse of incredible men (some family, some chosen family, a great ex, loyal cousins, inspirational friends, a wonderful guy, and on and on) but there’s one in particular that has been a cause for celebration since day one. Well, when he’s not a cause for sending me to an island until he’s grown.

Noah baby

This post is to celebrate adventuring with the guys in your life but most especially focuses on camping with a little guy. My “little” guy is now taller than I am and almost fifteen so this week when I casually mentioned camping, I figured he’d politely decline in favor of a 72- hour weekend playing Xbox – he’s falling behind in this and really needs to apply himself. Shockingly, he signed on for the great outdoors.

Noah and Mom

The Xbox fan’s sisters were the trailblazers in camping and backpacking in the family and he only tagged along when I bribed him with candy and they only tolerated their little brother when I bribed them with large amounts of cash.

On a particular trip with one sister and me, the little guy crankily agreed to abandon the campsite and sleep on the beach, under the stars – this was clearly not his idea. When we woke, I cheerfully chirped, “Wow! Sleeping out was great. It was not too cold or too damp or too uncomfortable” at which point the poor guy popped out of his sleeping bag and, in his prepubescent cracking voice, wailed, “It was ALL of those to me” He regretted this outburst about twenty times that day when his sister would hang over the backseat and squeak exaggeratedly, “It was ALL of those to me!”

As the little guy gained a foot in height, he discovered photography and this, coupled with the deepening of his voice, turned him into a stellar camper. We seemed to almost reverse roles when his bass overrode my soprano and he was able to keep me in line.

I am known far and wide for outdoor skills that include unexpectedly wandering off trail, the inability to see “do not enter” signs, and an enviable talent for sinking a car in clearly marked sand. It takes just the precise combo of ignoring warnings and strategic off-road maneuvering and voila! Tenacity At Mono Lake would be the title of that adventure.

Car + Sand = oops
Car + Sand = oops

Post Mono Lake car sinking – as I sprung from the car hysterically yelling “Oh no, oh no, it’s quicksand and the sun is setting” – the little guy never even blinked. He waited a moment and then gave me a withering look I recognized as the one I’d used on him during toddler tantrums.

“Mom, this is not 127 HOURS. We are four miles from town and you have cell service and an ATM card. We’ll have pizza delivered and I’ll take a photo, captioned “Saharan crisis” that you can post immediately because you also have WIFI here”

He then proceeded to dig the car out while I took photos of a glorious sunset that he pointed out to distract me.


With that trauma laid to rest, I noticed the reflective lake at a distance. As the sun sank, I tore out – camera in hand – with the boy calling after me. Darkness came swiftly and, photos taken, I turned back toward the car? Or uh toward the vast, empty, PITCH landscape! Ruh roh! This time around he just sighed, took the lead, and called over his shoulder, “I figured on this so I marked in my head where the car is, follow me”  As the responsible grown-up, I was happy to bring up the rear.

Sunset Mono Lake
Sunset Mono Lake

A few years ago on a camp weekend, I was noting the loss of the little guy’s babyhood and the onset of adulthood when I glanced over and treasured his infant face – sound asleep. In his hand he clutched a souvenir. One vial of instant snow.


So this weekend, as we hit the road for the Mount Whitney area, I am counting on him to make the fires, decipher the maps, and keep me out of trouble and in exchange I plan on gifting him with some instant snow.

Go camping with the kids, the memories are priceless. Below are photos, titled with the locales, of a few of our adventures.


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