Given that a single hour’s drive from Calgary puts you smack dab in the Rocky Mountains, my wife and I decided earlier in the week to do a quick overnight. We already had the Shorty Diesel ready, with rooftop tent, folding chairs, BBQ (Son of Habachi, my favorite!), and stocked fridge. All we had to add was vittles, plus our two dogs, and we were off on a 24 hour getaway.
These days a lot of people have been brainwashed into thinking that OVERLANDING means months crossing continents with enough gear to outfit the Canadian Forces. Probably not a stretch, when you run the numbers – but I digress. A quick swipe of #antigram shows legions of khaki Toyota Tacomas sporting every catalog accessory, heading into parts unknown. I tend to be on the other side of this equation since I generally don’t have longer than a day or two, especially if my wife is coming along. We usually only share one day off together during the week so we understand that Overlanding can mean something short and simple.
Maybe I’ll start calling it UNDERlanding?
In any event, 97 kilometers later, the park was virtually empty, given it was a Monday, and we had our pick of beautiful spots. We settled for a berth by the river, took the required 5 minutes to set up camp, and then lit a fire. Some choice munchies, and a few brewskies later, we were feeling all the stresses of modern life flowing away down the river. The tranquil surroundings were quintessential in this anxiety alleviation, but the real revelation became evident fairly quickly:
NO CELL SERVICE.
No annoying rings, dings, or bings. And since my music is mostly streamed these days, not even “sings” (couldn’t resist). It was pure heaven. We walked the dogs and built the fire. Coaxed and stoked our CHARCOAL barbecue. Talked. Relaxed. Had a S’mores competition.
The ubiquitous shirt pocket supercomputer has infiltrated our lives these days to the point where many of us have forgotten how to live without it. Having the internet interrupted, even for an evening, was the best part of our getaway.
In some ways, it WAS the getaway.
Sometimes it takes completely cutting the cord to recharge your batteries. Perhaps it’s a central tenet of “Underlanding”?
Great title. Full of truth.
I prefer “underlanding” too, especially with the kids. A couple years ago I put together a collection of short phone videos I found that we happened to take while out camping and gallivanting. This was around the time that Expedition Overland was getting big, so I tongue-in-cheek called it the Exceptional Underland Season 1 or something dumb like that. The kids thought it was great, especially since they were the stars of the show. No internet needed to make good memories, to tell good stories.