To add a little more adventure to our week, we’ve invited Jeff Thrope of Cold Splinters to treat us to a taste of the great outdoors every Wednesday. Check out his new column, and then do yourself and your computer a favor, and go sit under a tree.
My first hike was a catastrophe. I was on a vacation with my family in Arizona, and after a morning of eggs, bacon and swimming, my father, my brother and I all went on what would be the first of many family hikes up Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain. Camelback is a prominent landmark in the area, impossible to miss unless you’re above 60 and have started to lose your sight and/or mind. The hike up the mountain is difficult and steep, enough so that rails have been put in several places along the trail to keep the college visor wearing hikers hydrated by Mountain Dew from falling to their premature deaths.
I was in grade school, fully equipped with a KD Lang haircut, Umbro shorts and the energy of a person in grade school with a KD Lang haircut and Umbro shorts. Free of carbon monoxide in the lungs and immune to the spring heat, the three of us hiked up as fast as we could, breaking only to take photographs and chase lizards. We were strangers in a strange land, calmly observing the red rocks and deformed saguaros. Determined to make it to the top, if only to recount our triumph to the pretty blonde hotel concierge who had recommended the hike, our water disappeared halfway up, and the complaining and name calling began. The three of us joined together to curse the mountain, to blame the camel humps for our sun burned arms and our dehydrated bodies. It was a journey that would end with a needle in my prepubescent ass.
A few hours after making it back to the rented car and returning to the hotel, I started puking incessantly in our bathroom’s large pink toilet. My parents took me to the hospital, and to make a boring story short, I ended up spending the rest of the week being tested (and retested) for viral meningitis. (They ruled out heat stroke early on.) It turns out I didn’t have viral meningitis, but with no other logical explanation for my symptoms, I convinced myself that the desert was responsible. Why else would the doctors have given me a shot in the butt, lost my blood, then lost my blood again? I knew Mother Nature could be a mean place, but I didn’t know she resorted to this when she met someone she didn’t like.
I’ve been trying to convince her I’m not so bad for a while now, but I’m almost certain she still doesn’t think much of me. Cold Splinters certainly can’t help.
A few weeks ago, FADER asked if I would write some sort of outdoors/style/music blog for them. I’m still not sure what that exactly means and how in the hell I’m going to pull it off, but I shall try and do my best. To break the seal, to cure my virginity, I decided to make my Umbros the sole fashion reference into the FADER world that I’ve just entered. Forgive me for not talking up a pair of boots, a quicky dry jacket or a backpack that will change the way you think about carrying your oatmeal. These things may come in the weeks that follow, but for now, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the FADER.