Meet Bettina – UNO anyone?

I am so excited to introduce all of my faithful readers (…you know who you are you two!) to by best friend and hiking partner extraordinaire – Bettina B.: She’s blonde. She’s a genius. And best of all, she’s a Swede!!!

Below is her account of our first camping trip together…

“The first time the Dream Team headed to the trail, we were accompanied by Caitlin’s dad and sister. We had our packs packed and our stuff sacks stuffed with all of the gear we’d need for our big overnight excursion.

Photo courtesy of Matt Phillips/Flickr

We arrived at the bottom of Blood Mountain in northern Georgia and started hiking up the trail. Obviously I munched on trail mix the whole time (still one of my favorite parts of hiking and trails in general), and we stopped and took some cheesy – but necessary – photos on the way to the top. Conveniently blaming our desire to stop hiking on Caitlin’s little sister, we probably made it a couple of miles and decided it was time to set up camp for the night. We whipped out the camping stove and starting heating up some water. What seemed like several hours later we mixed the boiling water with some dried camping tortellini we’d picked up at REI. Of course, anything on the trail tastes delicious, so we happily munched on the partially rehydrated tortellini and watched the sun go down.

Caitlin and I set up our tent like the champs we are (even though there may have been some help from the ultimate champ, Caitlin’s dad, after having some issues with those abnormally long and unwieldy poles). Since my family doesn’t camp a lot, I had brought along my super cool – yet not entirely camping appropriate – Disney Princess sleeping bag. Needless to say, as Caitlin and company snoozed happily in their sleeping bags, I tried to eavesdrop on the crickets as I slowly lost feeling in my appendages.

In the morning, I woke up after what could not have been more than ten minutes of sleep, looked up at Caitlin from my strawberry hat and Arielle sleeping bag…or at least I tried…most of what I saw was goopy yellow eye gunk and a green-and-blue fleece blur (from that green and blue fleece Caitlin has had since we first met and I am convinced wears around the house when nobody is looking). Love that guy!

Anyway, to say the least, hiking down the mountain was more stumbling and teary-eyed than anything else, and I was happy to return to the car. Once we were on our way home, Caitlin decided it was time to do what we both do when there are no cows to point at or anything to poke fun at Caitlin’s sister for: play Uno!!

Photo courtesy of Alex{G}/Flickr

Little did we know that several years later the Uno dream would live on helping us make friends on the Eurorail when backpacking around Europe after high school graduation… But that’s a different story. Try as I might, I kept falling asleep after a few cards every time she tried to start a new game. A devastated Caitlin would jump up when I seemed to be awakening, quickly dealing out a hand, to which I would look longingly before slipping off again into an eye-gunk-insulated slumber.

Upon arrival back to my house, I slept for another three days and recovered with the help of eye drops from the doctor. That weekend, Caitlin presented me with a travel contacts kit for the next time we went camping. There have been no problems since, but I’ll definitely never forget that first camping trip or ever try to camp in contacts. Or, as it was the greatest tragedy of the trip, let Caitlin down during a game of Uno again.”

I definitely can vouch for most of that story…except one thing: Bettina definitely still sleeps with her contacts in! Kidding. But on a more serious note, we are going to invest in the sleeping bags below to ensure that we are both as warm as possible the entire trip (and that we won’t make any friends for that matter).

Photo courtesy of hahatango/Flickr

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