Adventure Diary: Health Camp

posted on July 21, 2015

Life as a traveling gun writer isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be. Need proof? Here's a misadventure that Field Editor Bryce Towsley once had in antelope camp. Want more anecdotes? Check out the full story in our August issue, which should be hitting mailboxes this week.

We came in late to the Wyoming antelope camp. I have a reputation for snoring, so they sent me off by myself to an old trailer on the edge of the property.

I had to force the door open by pushing the packrat nest out of the way before I waded through the trash to the back bedroom where I looked for the “cleanest” bunk.

No doubt the Holy Grail was a quest with a brighter future, because they all looked like something the EPA had banned years ago. One of the mattresses wasn’t moving quite as much as the others, so I found an old broom, evicted the mouse living in it and swept years of old, used tissues and most of the mouse droppings off the bed. Then I wrapped up in the crusty blanket they had given me, tried hard not to think about the stains, and attempted to sleep.

Just as I nodded off there was a commotion outside. I pulled on my boots and hurried to the main bunkhouse. We had a couple of female hunters with us and they were outside the door of their room and pointing inside while saying things like “yuck” and “eeewww.”

To say their toilet had overflowed would be like saying Bill Clinton cheats on Hillary. It captures the point, but not the magnitude. Erupted would be more descriptive than overflowed. There had to be some serious backpressure at work there. That room was so flooded that I think you could have paddled a canoe from end to end. There were even a few Class II rapids where it was running out the door. It was not just water either, but lots of what a shooting buddy in the waste disposal business calls “solids.”

The ladies had moved all their gear out ahead of the flash flood, so the outfitter (being the kind and generous guy that he was) agreed to relocate them to another room. Except, he explained, he didn’t have one. He suggested they take my trailer and I swap for their room. I must admit I appreciated the upgrade, but the ladies called us both nasty names and went to sleep in one of the rental cars. I trudged back to the landfill they kept calling a trailer, swept the new set of nested critters off my bunk and attempted to sleep.

I didn’t do it very well and was pretty bleary-eyed when I headed for the kitchen. As I approached the door I could hear somebody in distress. The cough was loud, deep, phlegmy, wet and tenacious. As I came into the light of the kitchen I could see an older lady seated on a stool and having a coughing spell so bad I was afraid she might turn inside out. Finally, after several minutes, she hacked up something wet and nasty that looked like a piece of lung and spit it in the trash bucket beside her. Then, with the same hand that had been covering her mouth, she picked up a couple of pancakes, dumped them on a plate and handed it to me.

“Here’s your breakfast, honey,” she gurgled with a wet, toothless smile.


The glamorous life of a rock star?

Yeah, right. I am sure Mick and the boys stay in places like this all the time.

Can’t you just see Joe Walsh tossing a television into the ladies’ bedroom, after mistaking it for a swimming pool?


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