Posted by Chad Johnson on

It’s funny how some of the most difficult challenges we face can be seen as the most amazing, and often the most rewarding experiences of our lives when we look back on them through the eyes of retrospection. Now don’t get me wrong - I have never taken a math test and later felt somehow enriched by the ordeal, nor have I ever engaged in an argument with a girlfriend and ever felt enlightened... ever. (probably a reason I keep finding myself single) Regardless however, there are times when we feel like life has put us at the lowest level we think we can possibly sink, yet we are able to come out of it all wondering how we could have ever been complete without the experience. Such it is for me when I think fondly back to the two and a half months I was “forced” to spend living in a tent up in the Rocky Mountains of Northern Colorado.

Now before I just dive right in to the wilderness adventures and experiences that constantly had my “weird crap-O-meter” pinging at the red line, I should probably give you a brief background on the circumstances that led me into that situation in the first place. It all started in Charlotte, North Carolina where I was desperately scrambling to make my move to Colorado. An old Air Force buddy and I had concocted this crazy plan to open up our own catering/food cart business (later to be called Blind Peasant Productions, LLC - shameless plug inserted), and by hook or crook I was determined to make it out there. I set up temporary living arrangements with another friend of mine in the area, packed up my beat up Ford Taurus with everything I could, and headed out with barely more than the money it would cost me in gas to get out there. Yeah, I know.. not exactly the smartest move I could have made (I can see both my parents nodding their heads in agreement right now), but patience has never been a virtue of mine. Besides... I already had a job lined up in Colorado to hold me over until we got the business started - what could possibly go wrong? (heh!)

For brevity’s sake, I am not going to go into detail about the whirlwind of answers I got for my above question; instead I will simply give you an overview of the event highlights. My living arrangements fell through (crap), my business partner and his wife took a sabbatical to Costa Rica (double crap), my car’s motor decided to grenade into thousands of tiny little pieces (Oh crap!), and due to lack of money for a rent deposit I ended up living in a cruddy week to week hotel that cost me over a thousand bucks a month (What the crap??). Adding in the payments of the rattle trap old Ford Explorer that I had to buy after the Taurus went bye bye, I found myself in a situation where there was no WAY I would be able to save up enough money for deposit on an apartment on the wages I was currently making. I was in a pickle for sure and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get out of it other than to just ride out the storm.

It was then that my girlfriend at the time (yes, I can get them.. just can’t keep them) came up with an interesting idea. She and I were both avid fans of primitive tent camping, and during the lulls of my previously mentioned whirlwind we had found time to explore and find quite a number of open space camping areas up in the hills. She proposed that since I already had the camping gear, I could take advantage of the free camping, and save myself some money for a couple of weeks by doing something I absolutely loved. Besides, the entrances to several of them were close to a main road that I could take straight down the mountain to my job, and I already belonged to a gym right next to work that I could shower at every morning. It would only take a couple of weeks to save up what I needed if I didn’t have to pay so much for the hotel; it’s the perfect plan...

I admit that at first I was sceptical, but after one more night of laying awake on a ridiculously lumpy motel bed listening to the drug dealer next door argue with his girlfriend until the wee hours of the morning, I decided the heck with it; I was going to do it! (remember the lack of patience bit? Well I’m also prone to rash decisions... especially when sleep deprived) The very next morning I took inventory of my camp gear - an Ozark Trail three man tent, a Coleman sleeping bag, a Coleman queen sized air mattress, some rickety off brand propane stove and mess kit, a lantern, a small cooler, and a hatchet. (oh.. and a two handed sword - can’t forget that, right?) Add in my cold weather clothing, and I was assured that I was ready enough for anything the mountains could throw at me. Besides, it was only going to be for a couple of weeks, and I was only going to be twenty to thirty miles away from civilization- what could possibly go wrong? (heh!)

... to be continued...

1 comment

  • Hi Rob/Chad,

    Just read all 4 articles, in reverse order because that’s how they are presented by the website, enjoyed them very much.

    More please!


    Bob Amoling on

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