Alright, guys, remember how I said that I may end up coming up with weird reviews out of desperation? Little did I know just how weird things were going to get...
First, I am not sure who I am madder at -- my step-cousin in-law -- and no, I did not make that title up. Big Chris is my Mother's husband's sister's husband's, daughter from his first marriage's husband... Don't you love 21st century family trees? Yes, I know we are not actually related, but I really like him and Sumer (his wife -- technically, my Mother's husband's sister's husband's daughter from his first marriage) and I haven't had the chance to see them in years since they moved from Georgia to Washington... anyway, where was I?
Oh, yeah. Was I madder at Big Chris for deciding to:
A) Have a family reunion (with family members who he is related to, but I am not) out in the campgrounds of Idaho; or
B) Inviting me to said reunion where I am not really related to anyone, and would be a good 100 miles away from the nearest Starbucks.
OR am I madder at my Chris for deciding that this was the perfect opportunity to shed himself of his New York City roots by sleeping on the ground with dirt and bugs and possibly snakes... (I am not bitter!) ...NOOOO! Big Chris just had to fill my Chris's head with how MAGNIFICENT the campground would be, how they could go fishing EVERY DAY, how life just DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS! Yeah, thanks, Big Chris, you are going to have to work hard to make this up to me.
Clearly by now you may have gotten the point that, in my mind, any vacation where I not only don't have access to a Starbucks, but also have to be without the Internet, air conditioning and indoor plumbing, is NOT a vacation to me. You may also be wondering how I got said Internet back to write this review so soon (and it may help if I actually get to the review at some point). The short answer to both is because after one night, me and the rest of the clan beat feet out of there. We beat BIG feet, more accurately. I apologize that this going to be longer than most of my reviews, but it is quite a story.
After flying up to Spokane where Big Chris and family live, we were carpooling with them in their family truckster to the campsite in Idaho. On the way to the campsite, Little Chris (we have a lot of Chris's in this family -- and that would be Big Chris's son, if you care) let it slip that this was the family's first camping trip EVER! -- a fact they all hid from me. Not only was I going into the woods, I was going as part of a group whose only wilderness experience consisted of visiting Camp Snoopy at Knott's Berry Farm and watching "Survivorman." I figured I was probably going to die, possibly by being attacked by squirrels.
Driving into the Buckles Mountain Idaho Campgrounds, we made a stop at the lone General store. When I say General Store, I mean that was actually the name of it. It was like one of those places in horror movies that the stupid teenagers stop at to buy beer and supplies that will prove useless before they are hacked off, one by one, by the insane masked killer that lives in the woods. I might have made the mistake of saying this out loud in the store, and I might have gotten the 900 year old, toothless, one eyed owner pissed at me. Oh yeah, and I might have gotten the kids scared out of their trusting little minds (and yes, they do for some reason regard me as an adult). By the time we made our way to the counter (oddly enough, with supplies that, had a crazy masked killer been in the woods, WOULD in fact be proven useless -- unless the killer had a thing for Korn Nuts). There on the counter was a small, crudely made wooden rack with packets of dried meat labeled "Sasquatch Jerky." Since I already had such a great rapport with the 900 year old, toothless, one-eyed shopkeep, I felt the need to laugh and ask him what it was really made of. Oddly enough, he was NOT a very humorous man, and rather sarcastically asked me if I had ever bothered to learn to read. It's pretty bad when a 900 year old, toothless, one-eyed man living just to the east of the middle of nowhere is calling YOUR mental capacities into question. Again I laughed and said "no, really?" -- at this point, Big Chris was worried we would be kicked out of the store before he got to buy his damn Korn Nuts, and was trying to get me to shut up. The guy just ran off on a rather "colorful" rant about how the something-that-rhymes-with-ducking weekend warriors had no idea what was out in the woods; then something about thinning out the numbers, and that we'd be lucky if we made it out alive. I figured at this point I should probably just buy the jerky -- and hope that it wasn't Soylent Jerky, and get the hell out. Once back in the car, Big Chris practically caressed his bag of Korn Nuts in a way that is not quite natural.
We got to the campground around three, and thanks to Teddy Bear Grylls and company, it only took until seven to set up the "easy to assemble" tents. We had a MAGNIFICENT dinner of canned tuna (so much for that fishing EVERY DAY bit) but we did get to roast marshmallows, so that shut me up for a good five minutes. I never knew how dark it could really get, and by the time I finally climbed into my hopefully snake-free Hannah Montana slumber bag (did I mention that Big Chris said he would also provide all the equipment?) you could barely see two feet in front of your face. I also never noticed how loud the middle of nowhere can be. I don't care what anyone says -- the sounds of nature are NOT relaxing. With every snap, chirp and snore from Chris, I was sure the bears were coming to get me. I couldn't sleep and I was scared, and being scared makes me hungry -- even after about 100 burnt marshmallows. Anything good was across the little tent "city" we put up, and I sure as hell was NOT going out there alone. I DID have the "Sasquatch" jerky, though. So, FINALLY, the review!! ( I told you there would be a review in here somewhere)
The meat was your average jerky-sized strips -- but they seemed a little thicker then normal beef jerky. They smelled peppery, but not exactly like any meat I had ever eaten. It wasn't a bad smell, just different.
It was surprisingly tender, kind of like if you made jerky from filet mignon. There was almost a butteriness to it. If I had to compare it to another type of meat, it was like mixing buffalo with bacon. Smokey but not salty. Beef-like, but not quite. Whatever it was made out of, it was pretty good -- again, here's to hoping it was not made out of the last sarcastic chick who stopped at that store. I ate the whole bag. I was going to stop at the store on the way out and get more! This is where the review should have ended, but what happens next is more unbelievable than me actually sleeping outside.
There is no nice way to say this, but a couple hours later the bag of jerky and the 100 marshmallows caught up with me. Like it or not, I had to make my way out to nature's litter box. I will skip the details of that, but I got the job done and was walking back to the tent. As I saw the tent only steps in front of me, I was mentally patting myself on the back for not getting abducted by aliens, eaten by bears, bitten by snakes or chopped up by scary masked killers living in the woods. Right before I was about to open the tent, all the chirping, hooting and other woods sounds just stopped. Pun intended -- there was dead silence, minus some rapid snapping like something was heading right for the camp from the direction I had just come from. All of a sudden, the night was filled with the loudest sound I have ever heard. It wasn't exactly an animal growl, but it wasn't a human voice either. It was deep, and vibrated through my bones. I jumped in the tent, secure in the knowledge that I was probably going to be eaten by god knows what. I couldn't help it -- I screamed my head off in fear -- but at least I wasn't alone. By this time, all the extended family members were in their tents screaming in fear, too. The growls got louder and closer, and it became clear that whatever it was, it was running through our camp! I decided I wanted to see whatever it was that was going to attack me (WHY I did that I am still not sure -- probably the same reason why I have to watch when I get a shot). I opened the tent flap just wide enough to see out of. Then, without warning, there was the blast of a very near shotgun! All I saw next was a very large, very hairy set of legs that were attached to the now-angrier (if that was even possible) growling thing -- picture a larger, inbred cousin of a Wookie -- and it was being chased by none other than the 900 year old, toothless, one eyed shopkeeper! For an old guy, he sure could run! (He didn't seem too concerned about firing that shotgun around so many people,either.) I would like to tell you that as a group we all decided to join the guy in his chase; but instead, as soon as they were out of our circle and back into the woods, the heart-stopping growl and the shotgun blasts getting further from us by the second, we grabbed as much as we could from the tents and got the hell out of there.
Not until we were all safely back on the highway, still shaking from what we saw, did any of us start to breath again. In the hurry to get out of there, we left more behind then we should have -- sadly, my empty Sasquatch Jerky package included. I may have been being a "jerk" about what that jerky was really made of when I first bought it, but after that night I am convinced it was the real thing.
Even now, safely sitting in Big Chris's living room in Spokane, I am shaking with fear and exhilaration all over again, having relived that night to tell all of you about it. If you don't mind excusing me, I will be off now to change my pants and to write this all out in an email to Ian Punnett.
Sasquatch Jerky brought to you by the very non-jerky guys at Jerky.Com