How to Find Yourself in Angeles National Forest

I know we said we were reviewing Miss Peregrine.  We’ve been talking about it for weeks.  We reviewed the book.  We had plans for the movie.  Popcorn and Icees were going to be involved.

But something else happened.

Rebecca and I went off the grid.  We were like Cheryl Strayed who trekked alone up the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and documented it in her memoir Wild, which was adapted to the screen starring Reese Witherspoon and the California landscape.

The only difference is we weren’t alone.  We had each other.  And our 5-year-old kids.

Oy.

joyces-camping-chain

Actually, that sounds way worse than it was.  It was an amazing experience that our little ones will never forget – because we have photos.  It was an adventure of wrong turns, bad GPS navigation (we will never trust you again, Siri), and joyous jumping around when we found the only map in the Angeles National Forest.  We found our way, eventually, lost it, found it again, and managed to eat s’mores and drink beer and not lose a child.  All in all a win.

But it got us thinking – could we do it?  Could we takereese off like Cheryl Strayed or Elizabeth Gilbert and go “find ourselves” for a year?  Honestly, no.  Family demands make that impossible.  Financially, we can’t either.  Not for a year.  But what about for a month?  Two weeks?  Could we rough it for longer than a weekend?

We put together a list of what we’d need to make it on our own and have a spiritual revelation that gets turned into a movie adaptation.

  1. A journal. We have to write our thoughts down somewhere!  Rebecca mentioned bringing her laptop, to which I responded “How do you plan to charge that thing?”  Fortunately, they do make a solar-powered backpack for those not ready to go completely off the grid, but I don’t think they will handle laptops yet.
  2. A pencil. Margaret Atwood said always bring a pencil.  Pens run out of ink or explode.  A pencil just needs a quick sharpen and will always be ready to write.
  3. Lots of non-perishables.  Granola bars.  Trail mix.  S’mores.  And I recommend dieting before this adventure so your stomach needs less.
  4. A water filtration device.  I looked up beer making kits, but they seem cumbersome and take a while to ferment, so I guess we will have to do with a travel water filtration device, preferably one that filters out cholera and low self esteem.
  5. Solid hiking boots.  Those who find themselves in flip flops do so on Venice Beach, not national forests.
  6. An unlimited supply of birth control.  Not that I’ll be running into Bear Grylls out there, but I just don’t want to deal with monthly sh*t in the middle of nowhere.bear-grylls-meme
  7. Patience.  This is for both struggling to put up the tent and snaring food.  Also, for spouses dealing with screaming children at home.

And here is a list of items you don’t need:

  1. Eyeshadow.  You just don’t need it, Rebecca.
  2. Siri.  She proved useless in getting us off the grid.
  3. Self doubt.  Just because we missed the creek on our hike because there is no water in all of SoCal doesn’t mean we were gonna give up on crossing long-gone creek!
  4. A 5-year-old, because when you share a sleeping bag with them they will hit you, kick you, and head-butt you until you look like a UFC loser the next morning as they still wake up looking like a freaking angel.angelOn Twitter follow Chris @ACCooksonWriter

    and Rebecca @DownWorldNovel.“Like” our Facebook page Novel2Screen for more updates on your favorite novel-to-screen adaptations, including weekly recaps of “Outlander”!  Or just follow this blog.
    Photos courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures and the ever dashing if not slightly smelly Bear Grylls

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