Last night I managed to peel Kirk away from the TV screen (the Redwings’ playoff game was a nail-bitter) to run an errand in the name of survival.

Next week, we’re going camping. And I don’t have a sleeping bag.

How strange. We humans can’t venture into the outdoors for even one night without dragging along a truckload of man-made contraptions.

Without sleeping bags, we’d be cold.
Without tents, we’d be bug-bitten.
Without groceries, we’d be hungry.
Without camping chairs, we’d be uncomfortable.
Without sleeping pads, we’d be sore.
Without lighter fluid, we’d be frustrated.
Without ice, we’d have warm beer (heaven forbid)!
Without… you get it.

We bring everything we can into the wilderness to replicate the standard of living we enjoy in our “normal” paved, painted, smoothed and sanitized world.

Now, what if we were snatched from our running water, our temperature-controlled environments and – gasp! – our refrigerators, and dropped in the middle of nowhere? Let’s say, the middle of the jungle. Could any of us survive?

These were my ponderings as I bounced around in the back of Rocky over the severely uneven Costa Rican dirt roads, trying to keep a hold of the lunch in my stomach.

It took us four hours of driving deep into the middle of the jungle to get to our destination. And even then, we didn’t quite make it.

We crossed a one-way bridge with a maximum capacity of one vehicle. The guy behind us was pushing his (and our) luck:

After driving a few hours, we stopped on the side of the road to eat the sandwiches and watermelon we had bought that morning from the grocery store. Sofía was happy to get out of the car.

She helped David and Kirk clean up the impromptu picnic.

After some more bouncing around, we made it to a cool, clear river, just asking us to stick our feet in.

Naturally, Kirk needed to go conquer the boulders.

And by the way, see that waterfall in the background in Kirk’s photo? It was actually our original destination. Since it was already late in the afternoon by the time we arrived at the river, we decided to turn back before it got too late.

We had no plans to camp or stay out in the jungle through the night, but as I watched it grow dark on the car ride back home, I wondered what I would have done if I was somehow left out there. I think stranded situations like that occur more on TV (Lost) than in real life, unless of course you go out asking for it. But there’s always “what if…”

I mean, I don’t even think I can start a fire without a match. If I had to forage for berries, I’m sure I’d pick the poisonous ones. And hunt? HA! Yeah right. Even a sloth could evade me.

I’m putting “learn survival skills” on my To Do list.

In the mean time, thank you Rocky, and thank you groceries, you made exploring the Costa Rican jungle just lovely.

And thank you REI, because you make the outdoors fun for those of us who weren’t raised by wolves. (And my new sleeping bag is gloriously warm, and even a pretty color too.) ☼