Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alaska Experiment, or why there is no camping in my life.

I got my husband hooked on The Discovery Channel's Alaska Experiment. If you're unfamiliar with this show, it's basically a bunch of people living in the rugged Alaska wilderness for 6o days while trying not to starve, die of thirst, go crazy (the "cabin fever" episode is really freaky) or get eaten by any one of the various animals that could easily take them down in two seconds.

While watching the "cabin fever" episode, three things were highlighted: one being cabin fever, two being peeing and pooping in a bucket in the kitchen in a cabin, and three being hallucinating while trying to hike 40 miles to visit another group of Alaska Experiment revellers. The hike, by the way, took 7 days. The hiking group thought it would take maybe 1 or 2 days and planned for that and only that (meaning they ran out of water, hence the hallucinations).

If this show doesn't sound even slightly interesting to you, at least watch the "cabin fever" episode. There is nothing like watching people lose their marbles, I tell you, nothing. It's really freaky. The couple in the cabin thought they heard noises and apparitions of people in their cabin (which, by the way, is only 200 square feet). My husband felt the man looked crazy, and kept telling me, "that's the face of a crazy person!!" I didn't quite see it that way. He just looked haggard and tired to me.

The people hiking affected me way more than the couple in the cabin. I watched a show about people hiking up Mount Everest, and it was explained how people hallucinate and lose it because of altitude sickness among other factors. The Alaska Experiment showed it. All three of them lost it, but were close enough to reality that they knew they were hallucinating at the same time. They thought they heard singing coming from the people they were going to visit (they were 2 miles away), and there was lots of maniacal laughter and just nonsense talk. And tons of ice eating, which is bad because it lowers your inner core temperature and you really aren't getting a lot of water to begin with.

And then there was the pee and poop bucket. One couple made an outside outhouse because they didn't want their waste inside their tiny 200 square foot tent cabin. In this episode, they decided to head on over to the ocean to try to get some more protein (clams) before the bad weather really set in. The ocean location they were heading to is where another group lived, a father and his two daughters (don't even get me started on the two daughters, boy howdy, if anyone deserves a few punches, it's those two girls), so when they arrived, the father invited them to spend the night with them.

The father gave them a tour of the cabin, including his own poop bucket setup, which he proudly showed, like he invented indoor plumbing or something. The production people grabbed the visiting man to get his feelings on the inside poop bucket, and he basically said if they want to have human waste right next to where they store their food and cook their food, then more power to them, but you can tell he was completely disturbed by the whole thing (remember, he's the one with the outdoor poop bucket). The kicker to the whole scene was that the visiting man was eating something when the father proudly showed off the poop bucket (which had a big jar of what looked like pee right next to it, so maybe the poop bucket is just for poop).

So because of 1. cabin fever, 2. poop buckets, and 3. hallucinations, my husband thinks he has even more fuel to his "people shouldn't camp" fire. He is not one for camping for many reasons, mainly because he doesn't have his own private bathroom and shower, not to mention butler and chef, and during this episode he kept telling me these were even more reasons not to camp.

I told him that 1. unless he decides to isolate himself in a small space, he's not going to get cabin fever while camping, 2. he would never be pooping in any bucket because I would never poop in a bucket while camping, however, I have used an outhouse, and while it's not pretty and you pretty much have to vie for space with all the flies, you do get used to it (and used to not breathing through your nose), and 3. unless he's taking drugs while camping, or eats some berries he's not supposed to, there will be no hallucinations on my watch.

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