You wanted some good stories about my camping trip, but I'm afraid I don't have any. We didn't even make it through the first night before we had a very serious accident.
Under the circumstances, it's a bit difficult to pick and choose which details to share and which to omit in order to give you a clear understanding, but without embarrassing those involved. I have a lot to say about the bigger picture surrounding this incident, but I may need to wait a while before I write about it, if I ever decide to share it in this venue.
Here's the short version:
Heavy drinking + falling asleep next to a campfire = trip to the emergency room.
Let me pause here to explain that I am not a teetotaler. I enjoy whooping it up as much as the next guy. But I know my limits. This day, I had a glass at a nearby winery at 2:00 in the afternoon, then a nap and nothing else for the rest of the day. I had plans to get up and run in the morning, so I cut myself off. Though I seldom get drunk anymore since I've started triathlon, I am better than no one in this story.
After dinner, we got a campfire going and my camping companions were coming into the complete idiot stage of drunkenness. Stone sober and irritated, I went to bed. Around midnight, one of them woke me up and said, "I burned myself. I burned my hands." This person is a musician. His reason for getting up in the morning is in his hands. He gave up rock climbing two years ago -- an activity he loves -- because he didn't want to risk injuring his hands. Anyway, he either rolled into the fire, or else stumbled in an attempt to go to his tent. The only detail that is clear to him is that he found himself in the fire.
In the dark, I found some ice and put it in his hands...and felt his skin. The flashlight revealed what was already obvious: he needed to get to the hospital immediately. Thank God I wasn't drinking with them.
The nearest hospital was 45 minutes away, the paramedics met us halfway.
This was Monday night/Tuesday morning. After three hours of sleep, I drove him 3 1/2 hours to Albuquerque to the state's only burn center, where he is currently recovering from second degree burns to his entire left palm, the thumb pad on his right palm, and the outer portion of his left leg. He has lost all the skin on these areas (twice on the left palm), but he is fortunate in that there is no nerve or muscle damage, which means he should be able to play music again in about a month or so. He also has less serious burns on his back and foot.
And as if all this weren't enough...
After postponing my return for a day so I could be supportive, I had plans to start my trip home at 3:00 yesterday afternoon only to be greeted by not one, but TWO FLAT TIRES! Once I finally got on the road, I had to contend with thunderstorms the entire way (I've mentioned my slobbery Basset Hound's issues with thunderstorms before). Luckily, the Benadryl did its duty. Though she drooled and panted for the whole three-hour drive, she did not whine and she didn't get any slobber on me. (BTW: all three dogs accompanied me to the ER in Farmington, to Albuquerque, the tires, the whole shebang. )
At midnight last night, the dogs and I finally arrived home and slept like, well, dogs.