Blackberry or Bust


We recently went camping – in the civilized way practiced by middle-aged, soft-bellied city dwellers – renting an RV and heading out across Colorado, stopping in the shadow of Pike’s Peak.


This mighty mountain was one of the first landmarks seen by settlers as they made their way across the prairie. Many of them painted “Pike’s Peak or Bust” on their canvas wagons. We were infused with a similar sense of adventure in our modern-day covered wagon.


We were slathered in sunscreen and infested with insect repellent. To ward off boredom, our children were armed with IPODS. And as we stepped out into the great outdoors to hike, my husband was clutching his Blackberry, or as I affectionately call it, his Crackberry.


He’d check his signal strength obsessively, calling out the number of bars on the device in moods that ranged from ecstatic (“I’ve got five beautiful bars!”) to dejected (“How can I only have one stinkin’ bar?”) as we followed the trail around the mountain.


My spouse saw nothing of the glories of nature until nature took a hand and steered him into a tree.


“Put that silly thing away!” I snapped as he rubbed his forehead. “We’re camping!” Reluctantly, he complied, slipping the portable pestilence into its holster.


The terrain grew steeper, dropping off precipitously on one side. The woods seemed to close in on us. Striding along in the lead, I thought of pioneer tales I’d read of attacks by packs of ravenous wolves. Then we came to a clearing, and I squinted into the blinding sun, barely able to see the trail. That’s when I looked into the furry face of death – a menacing form ahead, with pointy ears and, I could have sworn, a pair of fangs.


“Wolf!” I screamed.  “Wolf!”


And my man scrambled up the trail, undoubtedly ready to save me.  But suddenly, he stopped and twirled around, grabbing at his waist. Just as I was about to be ripped to shreds, my hero was frantically searching the ground for his fallen Blackberry.


Abandoned to my fate, I closed my eyes, but the sound of shattering plastic reached my ears. Then I felt a cold nose touch my hand. Nervously, I opened one eye and looked down at a friendly German Shepherd. His owners were just catching up to him. Noticing our ashen faces, they inquired for our welfare, and I assured them we were fine. My spouse said nothing, only stared mournfully down at the broken pieces of his busted PDA on the rocks below. Then he glared at me.


“In the sun, it looked just like a wolf,” I stuttered, pointing at the dog now disappearing with his owners down the trail. He just shook his head, too traumatized to speak.


After an appropriate period of mourning and after allowing our children, who’d collapsed in helpless laughter at their parents’ expense, to regain their composure, we headed back to our motor home in strained silence, having had quite enough nature for one day.