By KJ Adler
I’ve heard the story at least a dozen times from various narrators.
Armed with backpacks and hiking boots, the courageous couple will set off on a trail that will lead them through a tangle of trees. With the patched sunlight shining through the brush, the companions won’t bother to dwell on idle chitchat, not when the woods are filled with the sounds of crunching leaves and singing birds.
As night falls upon them, the couple finds a nice spot that has a fire pit and a place to set up a tent. They walk together and look for dry branches and leaves to start a fire. One will prepare the food while the other tends to a fledgling fire. Stars begin to appear in the dark sky.
The night is perfect. And as the fire dies down and bellies are full from a simple yet tasty meal, the couple will go into their tent, their bodies full of tranquility along with a vast wilderness of hormones.
This is the point in the story where the trouble starts.
Curious raccoons, ruined sleeping bags, strange infections, poison ivy in places I don’t even want to think about, and large bruises from the rocky ground. While the romantic idea of consummating a relationship in the vast reaches of the wilderness may sound like a wonderful idea, just like any moment of passion outside of the bedroom, natural lovin’ does have its potential consequences.
For instance, after my friend Danny and his girlfriend had just finished embracing their animalistic urges, some other creatures of the woods decided to pay them a visit by loudly coming up to the tent, scratching and snarling at it until Danny’s terrified girlfriend started to scream. Prompted by his fair maiden’s terror, Danny burst out of the tent and ran at what he later recalled to be foxes, screaming at them in the process.
The animals took a hint and hightailed it out of there, but the couple slept poorly for the rest of the night. He later found out from some fellow hikers that used contraceptives are an animal magnet. Go figure.
While this doesn’t happen to everyone, there are some helpful tips that can keep a romantic evening in the woods from turning into a horror film.
Just like toilet paper and other man-made disposables, contraceptives need to be stored in a way that they don’t generate a smell for animals to follow. The best way is in a zip lock bag for later disposal.
Also it’s important to clear the area where you set up tent. In doing so, you prevent any unexpected rocks or branches when bodies start to hit the ground. Additionally, sleeping bags are not the best spread for a cozy tent dojo. Sweat and body oils work on breaking down the materials of your sleeping bag. If you have plans to answer the call of the wild while on your camping trip, consider bringing a blanket to absorb the brunt of your activity.
And if you happen to find a nice stream to wash off, for the love of Zeus, maintain those sexual urges! As clean as a body of water in the middle of nowhere may seem, a healthy stream is supposed to have bacteria, and consummating your love in it is just asking for water born diseases.
Finally, know where your bed lies. As beautiful as having a passionate rendez-vous en plein aire may seem, poison ivy will not hold back its terrible wrath just for you.
I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t answer the call of the wild during a camping trip. I mean if bears can do it, why not us? But when the trip is over and the deeds have been done, it would be better to come out of the woods with a satisfied appetite rather than a couple bite marks (animal, that is) and a poison oak rash the size of a canteen.