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Chix in the Stix
by Beth Boswell Jacks

"I hate the outdoors. To me the outdoors
is where the car is." ~ Will Durst

So, all right. I'm no moose hunter. For that matter, I'm no hunter of anything, unless you count my glasses and car keys. The outdoors just doesn't . . . umm . . . embrace me.

I've tried to be an outdoorsy girl. Hubby G-Man begged me to accompany him on a trail ride once. He made the deal sound as if I'd be a quasi Thoreau in a gorgeous woodland setting, dog at my side, book in hand, peace and quiet, birds singing and all that. I wouldn't be obligated to fool around with a horse. So I went.

We arrived, parked the horse trailer (our sleeping accommodations) and enjoyed a nice campfire supper. That was fine. But as Dave Barry once commented, "Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel industry." Unfortunately, upon retiring, cramped in the horse trailer bunk, I greeted every hour on the hour till dawn. At sunrise I arose because doggy Pharaoh was having as big a fit as I to escape.

I put Pharaoh on a leash and proceeded to tromp through the dew laden grass (weeds?), maneuvering around the piles of you-know-what deposited by the horses that were all tied to a clothesline-looking contraption. Ahh, the fragrances of the new day wafted on the breeze.

Okay, the birds WERE singing. That was pleasant, although their calls sounded like "Stu-PID! Stu-PID! Stu-PID!"

After a big breakfast, the horsemen and horsewomen took off to ride the trails. They looked every bit the part in their big cowboy hats and leather chaps. Quite impressive. The horses seemed excited too. They were stomping around, pulling on the reins, just like in the movies.

After the riders left I settled into my lawn chair with a book as Pharaoh lounged a short distance away, snapping at flies. I sighed. This was just the way G-Man had described the peaceful woods. I had a Diet Rite and a can of peanuts. I was ready to enjoy several hours of tranquility.

Five minutes later, however, I began to feel something pricking the flesh on my feet and ankles, spreading to my calves, stinging and biting like crazy. I'd positioned my lawn chair right in the midst of a dozen ant hills, and the buggers were enjoying their breakfast.

I sprang from my chair and disrobed, flying through the door of the horse trailer. Jumping into the shower,I scrubbed the bites and rid myself of residual ants, cursing my camping fate. Then, stuffing ant infested clothes into a garbage bag, I told Pharaoh, "Boy, we are going HOME." And we did. As a drenching rain began to fall, I left G-Man a note that said, "Due to circumstances beyond my control I am going to the house."

I relate that anecdote to explain why I do not understand G-Man's infatuation with the outdoors and its accompanying ants, flies, mosquitoes and horse dung. Yes, I do like to LOOK at the outdoors through car windows. I'll ooh and ahh over the gorgeous autumn leaves, just don't make me hike through 'em.

In case, however, there are women who adore hiking and camping and getting bit, I have come upon the perfect wilderness experience. It's called "Wild Women in the Wild Woods." Sign-ups must fly to the Canadian Rockies, an hour west of Calgary, but once there they're guaranteed adventure, learning survival skills such as starting campfires, navigating by the sun and stars, braiding natural-fiber rope, splitting small logs and other happy pastimes. The instructors promise to give participants mountaineering skills in an all-woman setting with handy advice on various feminine topics, including the best trees for potty break privacy. Readers may write me if they want the phone number.

Listen, if you're game, there's a wilderness adventure for you. There are lots, and the names are cute, like "Holiday on Horseback" and "Wild West Women's Adventure Tour." Their publicity is appealing, with slogans that emphasize "No cell phones. No kids. No hungry husbands."

Uh huh. That's good, but what about "No lumpy horse trailer mattresses and no ants"?

I might be persuaded. Ha.


For more SNIPPETS stories, read these:
Land of Nod Notes
Rabbit, Rabbit...
Spring Cleaning ~ Here We Go 'Round In Circles
Conquering the Wild Blue Yonder
Trail rides, cantles and beans...Hellooo, Mama!
A Towel Piece ~ A Tribute
Ben Skelton: Peace Corps Volunteer
Smiles, Not Fists...
Dance ~ the Soul's Hidden Language
Class Reunion Advice
Searching for the Inner Animal
It Was a Dark and Stormy... you know
Granny Does the Shoshone
Forget Your Troubles ~ C'mon, Get Older!
How to Eat Crawdads

For stories at USADS by columnist Beth Boswell Jacks, click here: SNIPPETS
And find even more here: MORE SNIPPETS

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