January 23, 2012

Happy Trails: Thoughts on Camping, Plus A Re-Giveaway!

 All Photos by the clever Lobster

You know those inspiring photo-bloggers like Hilary at The Smitten Image who go out into the world, capture beautiful moments, and string them together with graceful prose? Not only do you get to enjoy stunning images of nature, but there's usually some sort of subtle but powerful observation about hope, or resilience, or the transience of life or some other deep topic.

Here at Cranky Fitness, we're not so highbrow.

Having just come back from a camping trip, I've been scratching my head trying to come up with some justification to post pictures, and nothing Deep is coming to mind.  Somehow "hey, look at me out in the desert with the Lobster having a great time!" doesn't sound all that health-related, high-minded, or helpful.  Especially given that some of you may be facing sleet, snow, rain, and/or locusts and plague, and may not be in the mood for our antics in the desert.

But, well, theme, schmeme, I've got a few pics to put up! And heck, you may want to stick around anyway for the Healthy Snack Re-Giveaway. Just leave a comment below if you've got a U.S. mailing address and would like to win a cute T-Shirt and Snack Assortment from the Human Vending Machine folks.  Last weeks' winner didn't check back in in time to claim her prize, so I'll redraw from this weeks comments.

OK, so some random thoughts and pictures...

Things You Should Take With You To Go Camping:

Let's see, you definitely need a tent, some sleeping bags, backpacks, camp stove, water purifier, flashlights....

Hell no, you certainly don't! Not if you're spoiled and middle-aged. You just need this:

Fran the Van Returns!

And this:

The Lobster, Most Awesome Human Ever
And Expert at Doing All That Is Useful

As a younger person, I did plenty of the backpacking, hitchhiking, primitive camping thing.  And while I still think it's a great character-building experience, I've got all the character I need now, thank you very much!  Give me a bed, an indoor toilet, a tasty grilled steak (grassfed, organic, humanely raised, and shockingly expensive), a chilled bottle of champagne, and a cup of hot coffee in the morning that I don't have to rub two sticks together to produce.

Roughing It Is Overrated.

Things That Seem Like Bad Things Can Be Good Things:

So the above photo is cheating, because it's from a previous trip in which we encountered the dreaded news that the campground was full. However, like our detour to Bisbee, Arizona, the Full Campground sign that greeted us this time was really a blessing in disguise. We found out from the friendly folks at the visitors center that we could just park off-road until we needed hook-ups, and they sent us to a lovely spot with a nice view that was Free Free Free Free!

Being Out in Nature is Awesome Even if It's Not Your Favorite Kind of Nature.

Confession: neither of us are huge fans of your basic garden-variety desert landscape. We prefer mountains, coasts, forests, streams, or spectacular formations of red rocks like in Bryce, Zion, or Sedona.

But I know many of you totally dig the subtle beauty of a landscape not burdened with the distraction of lush green pretty things, or pretty much any color at all except for two minutes or so in spring when the wildflowers are out.

Well, Gray and Brown are Colors Too.  Sort Of.

Yet... we're here in San Diego, and there's a desert close by, and so we went.  And we had some really enjoyable hikes! We weren't quite quick enough with the camera, but we saw dozens of jack rabbits with big goofy ears, and we almost literally ran into some big horn sheep when we came around a corner and they were standing there staring at us.  Oddly enough, they had really big horns.

And there was flora as well as fauna!  Fortunately cactus are not as speedy as jack rabbits or big horn sheep so the Lobster managed to catch one or two.

Perhaps not the best place to take a seat.

Oh, and check this out: On our last night, The Lobster not only grilled us up our lovely steaks, she also managed to generate some smoke during the process that appears to be taking over the entire universe.  Are your eyes itching right now?  Sorry, but it was worth it for that delicious dinner!

Quick Quiz! Can you guess what this next series of 4 photos illustrates?

a.  Trailaerobic Functional Conditioning!  It's the next fitness craze I was going to announce that's going to make me a ton of money once I put out a DVD series.  It requires no equipment at all, just access to a handy desert rock-strewn trail.  And heck, so what if you live in, say, Anchorage or Saskatoon or Pittsburgh? What's a little airfare and RV rental when your fitness is at stake?! Operators are standing by.

b.  A Cautionary Tale: What happens when you wake up feeling insanely energetic, proceed to drink way too much coffee anyway, hit the trail, get amped up listening to your favorite dj's awesome mp3 podcast...yet need to stick close to a more sensible hiking partner due to mountain lion warnings?  You end up acting like a complete asshole on the trail and dancing around, skipping, improvising various workout moves, and hoping the mountain lions are too freaked out by your craziness to come snooping around.

c.  Crabby Has Been Trying Hard To Get Back In Shape And Is Vain And Superficial Enough to Want to Show Off a Little.  The supposed need for some trail-side workout pictures for a blog post... was it just a subconscious excuse to lift something on camera before my newly acquired muscle definition is gone again?  Following surgery and various injuries, I couldn't hit the gym for quite a long time. Then I started dealing with some post-menopausal weight gain. So I started working out harder and even began counting calories.  Lately it seems my efforts have finally started to pay off, and I'm feeling strangely fit, healthy, and energetic.  Life being what it is, it probably won't be long before something else derails me or I get lazy, so I wanted to get something on camera ASAP!

The answer?  All of the Above!

And now on to the Re-Giveaway:

If you've got a U.S. mailing address, just leave a comment on this post and I'll re-draw end of day Wednesday, January 25th.  And be sure to check back before the end of the day Sunday the 29th to claim your prize!

Anyone else got any thoughts on mini-vacations, hiking, camping, being superficial, healthy vending machine snacks, feeling energetic, or life in general?  It's all good!


  1. I love how no matter where you are, you figure out how to get in a workout. You inspire me.

  2. My idea of roughing it is closer to yours (in a camper or camper van) than either the tent variety, or my mom's (she thinks roughing it is a hotel without room service).

    And you make deserts look inviting when it's exercise time. How did you do that?

  3. Looks like a great time. We are all about the creature comforts for middle aged campers, we have a 5th wheel, that we will be living in soon. I would the healthy treats. And hey, nice show off of the new muscles.

  4. I am am still old school camper, tent and sleeping bags. Not totally by choice, lack of money has something to do with it. lol But we still love camping no matter how we do it!! lilsis_75@hotmail.com

  5. I love camping old school in a tent. It's just nice to hear the sounds of nature if you can get a secluded enough spot :)

  6. Okay, your arms are awesome. Unfortunately, I have no rocks on which to work out, so mine aren't.

  7. It's great to hear from you "old school" campers! I totally admire you guys and feel like you're more my "tribe" than most RV'ers. But I love the creature comforts and am too lazy/cranky to put up with the added hassle of tent camping any more. But it definitely seems like the high road!

  8. Hey Hope, I'll send you some rocks to work out with if you just pay for shipping!

    Er... what could possibly go wrong with that plan?

  9. Looking strong, Crabby!

    On one trip to northern New Mexico, we got snowed out so we headed to southern New Mexico and found the Silver City area. That's the way we roll :-)

  10. Ha! My idea of roughing it is a 3-star hotel. I got all my camping desires out as a Girl Scout, lo these many years ago. Fortunately, my husband is also not the outdoorsy type. But I'm glad you and the Lobster are compatible camping-trip-wise! :)

  11. I've done my share of roughing it type camping throughout my earlier years. Now I just want a cottage on a lake. Speaking of which, I love the smokey photo. I first thought it was Northern lights. :)

    Thanks so kindly for the shoutout.. but "deep.. graceful.. highbrow?" Boy have you got a wrong number. ;)

  12. I miss desert camping a lot. In the 6 years that I lived in SoCal, the desert was always a cheap getaway with few people to bother me. Good times.

  13. How fun!!!! Were you guys in Anza- Borrego? Hubby and I used to camp there (and Joshua Tree) when we lived in San Diego.
    We (Hubby, Kids and I) went to Yosemite over MLK weekend, and stayed in a hotel. We usually camp, but seeing as it was 17 degrees when we woke up the first morning, I was awfully glad of the hotel!

  14. I think I've hiked/camped there - that looks like Palm Canyon, if that's the right name.

    I'm not much for roughing it anymore. We camped for all of our vacations when I was a kid - we had a camper for awhile, and did a lot of tent camping, too. Now I like a roof over my head and a mattress under my butt.

  15. Had to click over to tell you your arms look totally rad. Totally, totally rad. Those pullups are paying off. GO YOU!

  16. It looks so nice there. We are are looking at going thru the desert states on a camping hiking trip this fall...the photos have me all hyped now :)

  17. I'd say your definitely seeing the fruits of your efforts. Really, with the size of your arms, I'm not sure you get to say "just starting to pay off." If my efforts weren't going so well right now, I'd be bitchier, but I'll let it slide this time. :)

  18. I love the pictures! I hope to get out camping this summer

  19. I am so jealous of photos in sun and hiking!

    I will enter in the re-giveaway. :) You actually made to check to see if I had won before and missed it.

  20. PS. Show those arms off...they are hot.

    PSS. This is not a double post attempt to stuff the ballot box - I just couldn't figure out how to edit my other comment and as someone who loves muscles and working hard for them there is no way I wasn't going to comment.

  21. That sounds like a great mini-vacation. I'd like to go camping sometime.

  22. Hey thanks you guys for making it through this rambling post!

    And Quilting Doberman, no worries on multiple comments! I just go with the first one in assigning a number.

  23. I loved the pictures & awesome way to work n a work out! My favorite is outside workouts anyday of the week!

  24. I loved your pictures - very nice. I wish I had something to share about mini-vacations or vacations, my sons are so young still the most we do are day outings for a max of three hours...

  25. YOU LOOK AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love the pics & your hard work is paying off! Don't slack cause this hormone crap comes at ya on & off forever it seems - or at least for me. A constant battle BUT staying fit life long at all ages has been hard work for me always. Age hormones are just making it harder & challenging & "stretching" me more! ;-)

    No camping love here. I need a hotel! :-) Snacks would be good too! ;-)

  26. Looks like you had a fabulous time! I love camping, too, but not the tent variety.... too many predators out there for my taste! Gotta have the illusion that I'm safe inside my RV!
    You look amazing - love the "Rocky" workout. (now I have that stupid theme song running through my head.)

  27. Hahaha, I always told my kids the "roughing it" tent camping we did built character, while the rest of their friends watched tv in the family fifth wheel.Nowadays I'm with you on more of the comfort camping. Still love the trail work outs though. Looks like a great mini vaca - glad you enjoyed yourself. That is what fitness is really about anyway right?
    ps. you look fabulous

  28. Camping as a kid was tents, but I love the camper now. Grilled steak and chilled wine. I do still make a campfire though. How else am I going to make smores?

  29. You can camp in tents? Actually I have exactly twice. I do love to camp though, just get me off the ground and give me an illusion of safety :)

  30. I am jealous of your sunshine, camping in the PNW means rain and cold

  31. I liked your pictures =] Camping is soooo much fun!

  32. Looks like a super fun trip. Wow, hurling rocks - you sure do look fit, healthy and energetic!

  33. i want to discuss fitness matters specially about herbal medicines.,herbal medicines are very useful to cure from chronic diseases. In this regard Baba Ramdev or more commonly known as Swami Ramdev is a world renowned herbal medicine researcher.Yoga guru, who has revolutionized the world with his tremendous approach towards herbal home remedies and yoga exercises to cure from diseases.I am really impressed from your blog. I also wish to make a blog like yours.

  34. I would love to sample these snacks...and I take great inspiration for your committment to a healthy lifestyle, no matter where you are!

    you.r.it at gmail dot com (without the spaces of course)

  35. Camping?? That's impressive.
    My idea of camping is checking into the Marriott!
    Your trip sounded like some fun- at least the hiking.

  36. Great info here on how to get being even on a trail. Lifting those big stone is like lifting several pounds of dumbbells. Going on a hike is an aerobic exercise and lifting the stones are like strength training. Complete workout indeed!

  37. You are inspiring. I have only been camping once, but could camp in an RV. Maybe. :)

  38. Love it! We are big on the camping. Although I'm still firmly in tent land while hubby is dreaming of a pop-up. We finally took both kids while visiting Glacier last year. So much fun! We really ought to get out more in our own neck of the woods (or at least farther than our backyard). It's on the summer to-do list...
    Have you guys ever hauled down to Death Valley? Also very awesome.

    A regift?!? Count me in!

  39. I'm with you Crabby. I need some of those modern conveniences for sure! . . . and that warm desert looks fab as I shiver here in the northeast.

  40. "Expert at all that is useful" tends to go with "awesome human," so it does not surprise me to hear this about the Lobster.

    Camping? Three words: Hot Running Water.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  41. Starting my journey through Peri-Menopause, it's inspiring to read how you're battling the extra weight gain, etc.

    Keep inspiring me! I've got a ways to go to get through this wunnerful women's walk. Argh........... <3


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)