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I love going camping with my son Jarret. Ever since the divorce, it's been an opportunity for him and I to bond over frugal gourmet like hotdogs stuffed with string cheese and wrapped in bacon or ice cream cones stuffed with mini marshmallows, Nutella, and crushed cookies. Both cooked in a tin foil wrapping! We also cook a lot of other tin foil campfire recipes. I would love to take our camping adventures to the next level, but he has too many fears. We don't have to start with the most extreme places to camp in the world, but I'd love to work our way up to one of these destinations so that even after I'm gone he still remember how his father pushed him to be his best self and to step out of his comfort zone, both figuratively and literally.
Death Valley, California
Death Valley National Park might be one of the most extreme places to camp in the world because during the summer temperatures top 120 degrees. I know Jarret prefers his AC, so this is a place we could never venture. Which might be for the best, because it's the venturing that does a lot of people in. In 2009, some bones were found that ended up belonging to a family of German tourists who got lost in 1996. That family turned into skeletons! I don't want to turn into a skeleton any time soon! I'm still trying to bond with my son and find love. It'd be a very unsatisfying end to me if the last image before my mind were a profound sense of loneliness accompanied by blinding sun.
Laojun Mountain Summer Camp, China
A trail of tents 3,300 feet above the ground circling a mountain. That might be one terrifying, but it's spectacular! Clouds literally consume your tent and the sunsets are to die for. That is if you walk off the edge of the mountain and plummet to your death. Jarret is afraid of heights, so we could never do this. He's also terrified of fog and insists I use the term "ground cloud." You can then climb to the peak of the mountain to visit The Golden Pavilion, a Taoist Holy Site. Jarret would be okay with that so long as he doesn't achieve any sort of transcendence or state of religious ecstasy. He was traumatized by a documentary about snake handling.
Zone of Death, Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, USA
One of the most extreme places to camp in the world may be, as Vox explains, in Yellowstone National Park. That's because Yellowstone has a 50 square mile "Zone of Death" where you can get away with murder. Jarret would get suspicious right away that I was trying to plot a murder-suicide with him, a thing he's mentioned more than once given the amount of 90s alternative-rock that I listen to. I try to tell him that emotional vulnerability is perfectly acceptable, but then he says, "A lot of these songs sound like suicide notes!" And he's got me there because a lot of my favorite songs do sound like suicide notes.
Underwater would be one of the most extreme places to camp in the world, but just pitching a tent underwater does not count! You need to be there overnight. Chris Fietzer and Brian Wurster get credit for camping underwater, but I only give them credit for setting up camp! Similarly, camping in space isn't camping if you put up a campsite nor are you camping in a volcano if you set up a tent near some magma. Either way, Jarret would be opposed to this because he's afraid of the sea. He always thinks something is going to swim up and bite him! Jarret has a lot of fears.
Sinkhole, Inskip Point, Queensland Australia
In Inskip Point in Queensland, Australia a sinkhole has appeared enough times that the locals would know what you're talking about if you brought it up. Jarret is terrified of quicksand and Australia. He just can't trust a country, he says, that treats its aboriginal population so poorly. I asked him if he finds America scary for that same reason and he says, "Yes, have you not been paying attention to my night terrors?! I tell you those thinking you're listening." Of course, I'm listening, and I appreciate you telling me all your fears, Jarret, and I'm sorry to have shared them all on the internet.
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Thanks to America's colonialist relationship with Puerto Rico, the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer than the inhabitant of the rest of the United States. Did you not know that Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, making them US Citizens? It's not acceptable if you don't but you wouldn't be alone.
As the New York Times reported, nearly half of Americans don't know Puerto Ricans are fellow citizens. And did you not know the US used Vieques as a testing ground for American weapons for decades? Ew boy, you gotta get your read on! Jarret is terrified of people's ignorance, places where the risk of contracting illness is greater than average, and man's inhumanity toward man. This may be one of the most extreme places to camp in the world for him!
Antarctica may very well be one of the most extreme places to camp in the world. You can't bring food to your camping site, which is good because you can't go to the bathroom either. Jarret has a fear both of wetting and shitting himself because he's done both. He's not great with extreme cold, wind, or dryness either.
In the Amazon rainforest, you need to collect and clean your own water from natural sources! You need to straight up dig a hole near your campsite in case it rains like crazy. You need to set up a mosquito net so you don't get malaria! You need to shake your sleeping bag in case there are bugs in it. Jarret would hate camping in the rainforest because he's terrified of bugs, so a bug full of malaria would be twice as bad! He'd also be really afraid of river blindness.
Great Sail Peak, Baffin Island, Canada
If you thought that Laojun Mountain Summer Camp in China was one of the most extreme places to camp in the world, prepare to cross it off your list because people just camp on the face of a cliff in Great Sail Peak. Jarret would never do this because I would never let him. Although, if he were an adult, I'd have to let him make his own decisions and respect his agency. I would have to accept that part of having a son means that one day you may lose that son, and that's the way of the world. Namaste.
Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal may be one of the most extreme places to camp in the world. There are 17 tips you need to know before hiking the Everest Base Camp Trek. Jarret has a fear of looking out of shape, so he definitely won't like that just walking this trail would force him to be slow and take lots of breaks out of sheer difficulty as well as to ward of altitude sickness. Jarret is also afraid of helicopters, both riding in them and being around them (he read the story of how a John Landis directed segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie ended with Vic Morrow and two child actors were crushed by a 'copter).
Sahara Desert, North Africa
The Sahara Desert: where your campsite might literally move beneath your tent because of shifting sand dunes. That might make it the one of most extreme places to camp in the world. That's not even counting how hot it gets during the day and how cold it gets at night. You might get lost just falling asleep! Of course, Jarret is afraid of things happening to him in his sleep! He gets night terrors, remember?! My poor little guy. I try to get him to practice mindfulness so that he's better at identifying and dealing with his own anxiety but he instinctively rejects anything that comes from me that he can't eat. One day, hopefully, he'll look back on all my lessons and think, "You know what? Dad was right about some stuff. I'm glad we finally bonded and he found love eventually." That's a eulogy worth dying for.