Miller Time

Camping trip to remember: heat, humidity, hill and pregnant wife

By Zack Miller | Jul 11, 2018
Zack Miller

Ahhh, summertime.

The period when people are most active — mainly because, as Maine residents, we are freezing our butts off and hibernating most of the year.

This time of the year is great, warm weather — or in the case of July 4th: face-of-the-sun warm — long days and cool nights.

Those things also present the best weather for spending a bunch of money to leave your house, sleep outdoors, covered only by a piece of fabric, surrounded by bugs. Yes, I’m talking about camping. The only activity where you spend money to live like a homeless person.

Now, there are two different types of camping. First, you have first-world camping: RVs, electricity, running water, bath houses with showers and fully-functioning toilets, swimming pools, stores to buy supplies and other miscellaneous “necessities.” Sounds fun and relaxing to any person.

Then, you have "real" camping. Going out to the middle of nowhere, with no electricity, no running water or any of the amenities I mentioned above. It’s the kind of camping where there is a hole in the ground with a toilet over it which is considered your “fully-functioning bathroom,” but is really just a community outhouse, filled with bugs. Fun stuff. By the way, there are no showers, so your whole body smells like your armpits after you forgot to put deodorant on that morning.

Luckily, over the Fourth of July and the days leading up to America’s birthday, I went “first-world camping,” but this time with added challenges: a six-and-a-half month pregnant wife, heat and humidity.

Any woman who has been this far along in pregnancy can tell you that it’s hard enough to move around, let alone sleep on an air mattress on a hard, rocky ground. Meagan, my wife of a year, is a trooper though. She loves camping that much. It’s a tradition in her family, and our unborn son is not going to slow her down.

We went to Lake Pemaquid Campground in Damariscotta for three days, but the campsites we — our group of 10 — rented were at the top of a 200-foot hill, with an incline that gradually increased from level ground to about 35 degrees at its steepest point towards the top. We didn’t know this going into our trip, but you can imagine the look on my wife’s face when we found this out.

Anytime you wanted, or had, to use the bathroom, shower, swim in the lake, or do any other activity, “brakes” had to be applied down the hill, and every ounce of energy you had to figuratively crawl back up it. This is where I felt for my wife, and also all of us, because it was hotter than 10 suns.

Pregnant women naturally have to use the bathroom more, which meant hiking up and down the hill was a common occurrence. And no, we could not have driven down and back up because there was no parking at the bathrooms with a road that was one-lane wide. Nonetheless, we made do, even if it meant losing half our body weight in sweat.

Upon walking back up said hill-of-despair, my wife got a little support on her back from me as she walked, actually more like pushed up the hill, because her legs felt like jello. I turned into a walking sweat spigot.

The worst was showering. As soon as you finished cleaning the sweat off of yourself from the day, you wanted to turn right around and bathe again because of that darn hill. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a piece of elevation so much in my life.

I do have to say, I was thankful for “first-world camping” because if we were out in the boonies and all this occurred, I’m not sure we would have made it back alive.

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