The Holy Pantheon of Hikers, Campers and Roadtrippers

So my buddy @mynameisnine and I went on a 1,500 mile / 4 state / 5 park roadtrip last week. Around the middle of the trip, while walking up to Horseshoe Bend in the sun at noon, we started to realize a few things:

  • Jesus Tapdancing Christ, Arizona is hot
  • Hydro Flasks are pretty much a manifestation of the divine
  • We didn’t take enough water

Giving praise to the one Hydro Flask we did take with us as we climbed up the hill, we thought it’d be interesting to see what kind of gods we could come up with, that protected us during the trip up to that point, and hopefully would continue to do so. That kept us quite busy during the more boring parts of the trip and we compiled them into this post.

Almost all the anecdotes are things that did happen to us while on the roadtrip. Find the list of gods below, and make sure to worship them next time you go camping, or else…

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Calido

Lord of Warmth and Master of Heavenly Fires

Holy Items / Attributes: Fleece jackets, heavyweight baselayers, lighters, firestarters, mummy sleeping bags and Pendleton wool blankets

Shrines / Places of Worship: The inside of your sleeping bag when you wake up, the chair right in front of the campfire, the inside of your car after it’s been parked in direct sunlight in the middle of the desert, Death Valley in general, and that short trail you wanted to take in the desert at 2 PM because no I swear it looks fun

Description: Brother of Lux and twin brother of Aglagla. Calido ensures your fire will burn without smoking out everyone else in the campground if appropriately worshipped. When angered, Calido will make sure the only firewood you brought will never fucking catch on fire, despite your desperate attempts at throwing as many firestarters as you can in there, forcing you to burn the nice park map you just got and a couple postcards.

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One of Calido’s most revered shrines, the Furnace Creek visitor center in Death Valley, California. Make sure to wait as long as possible in front of the sign to get the highest number you can while you’re slowly losing every cubic inch of water in your body.

Aglagla

Lady of Air Conditioning, Mistress of Hypothermia

Holy Items / Attributes: Coolers, car AC units, the water in your hiking socks that you thought would dry off faster and now drives you to reconsider your life choices

Shrines / Places of Worship: The outside of the tent at 4:30 AM, metal benches that are cold as balls when you sit on them in your hiking shorts, and that shady and windy part of the hike you longed for and now have many regrets about

Description: Twin sister of Calido, sister of Lux. When happy, this goddess will ensure your cooler stays cold and your car’s AC never breaks down. When angry, however, your beers will freeze in the cooler, the ice in it will melt and transform into a disgusting pool at the bottom, and your fingertips will lose feeling right when you’re trying to take a photo or say, align your telescope.

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Close your eyes and pray Aglaga doesn’t make things worse.

Hydroflasko

Lord of Hydration

Holy Items/Attributes: Water canteens, Camelbaks, water filter, water jugs with spigots

Shrines / Places of Worship: Water fountains at visitor centers, cool mountain springs, the swimming pool of any hotel you get to stop at

Description: If appropriately worshipped – that is to say, if you always take enough water with you and don’t waste it –  Hydroflasko will provide drinkable water fountains everywhere you go: trailheads, campgrounds, freeway rest areas and yes, even dirty gas stations in the middle of nowhere. However, when angered, Hydroflasko turns into his evil alter-ego…

Hydrofiasco

Lord of Dehydration

Holy Items / Attributes: Water bottles whose cap you just dropped on the ground, Camelbaks that arent properly closed and flood your backpack with water, and chapped lips

Shrines / Places of Worship: None. Nobody wants to worship Hydrofiasco.

Description: Evil alterego of Hydroflasko. Appears when you didn’t take enough water with you, wasted stupidly to wash that ugly spot on your car, or neglected to praise Hydroflasko every time you took a sip in the middle of the desert. Transforms any short hike into a heatstroke-inducing nightmare. Dries up rivers, lakes, ponds, and most especially the campground’s restrooms sinks. Ensures the water in your Camelbak will smell and taste like radioactive plastic for 1,000 generations.

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Valley of Fire, Nevada: a good place to give strong, regular praise to Hydroflasko if you intend to walk outside of your car more than 30 seconds.

Tesla

Lord of Backcountry Electronics and Radio Waves, King of Cell Service

Holy Items / Attributes: Car batteries, fully-charged iPhones, portable chargers, solar panels, car radios, AUX cables

Shrines / Places of Worship: Power outlets in that dingy diner you just stopped at, USB ports in the car that work, that stretch of road where all that’s playing on the radio is Christian Rock, places with cell service, places with really suspicious free Wi-FI

Description: When happy, Tesla can keep an iPhone going at 1% for an hour and will provide you with camp neighbors with a big van who know how to jumpstart a car.

When angered, Tesla makes sure you forgot to bring any cable you might need and that the ones you did bring stop working for mysterious reasons.

Tesla has a sense of humor, and will generally take away cell service when you really need to check the map, but provide it when all you have to do is send that funny tweet you’ve been thinking about for two hours. Tesla will also punish you for not worshipping him by making your phone or camera run out of space just as you found the perfect shot, forcing you to scramble to delete apps you really kinda need.

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What happens when you don’t sacrifice to Tesla often enough by closing all your apps to save battery.

Lux

Lady of Sunrays, the Light Woman, Mistress of Sunrises, the Sunset Queen

Holy Items / Attributes: Camp lanterns, flash lights that work, flash lights that worked when you tested them but don’t when you reach camp, forgotten headlamps, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, lip balm, UV light, skin cancer, farmers tan

Shrines / Places of Worship: The uphill part of the hike in direct sunlight at noon, that nice spot you found to watch sunrise or sunset from, the inside of your car in the middle of the night

Description: Sister of Calido and Aglagla. Can give you a nice tan… or burn your arms through the door’s window after a two hour drive on the wrong side of the car.

When angered, Calido ensures that you will not have enough lighting to set up camp without tripping on one of the tent’s stakes and landing face first on the picnic table, that you will get lost on the way to the camp’s restrooms and worse, that the light in said toilets stops working while you are in there with your pants down and you just saw a huge spider crawl under the door.

Sometimes, Lux works with Rando to get you lost in the woods just as you start hearing strange noises in the bushes; sometimes, she prefers to work with Tesla to leave the light on in your trunk even though you were pretty sure you closed the car, and dammit, where are the battery cables?!

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This tanline is what happens when Lux is angry.

Sanita

Goddess of Camp Hygiene

Holy Items / Attributes: Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, dry shampoo, those miniature hotel soaps and shampoo bottles you totally stole, and that little bag you sacrificed to put all your dirty underwear in.

Shrines / Places of Worship: The campground’s restrooms’ handicapped stall where there is enough room to wipe every square inch of skin you can, the inside of the tent at 11PM when you have to ask your buddy to look away while you’re changing into slightly less dirty clothes, and the bathroom of the really nice hotel you landed in at the end of your roadtrip

Description: If not appropriately worshipped with an offering of a few dozen baby wipes a day, Sanita will make all the clothing in your bag smell like a small rodent made a nest and then died in it. The best way to worship Sanita is to smell your clothes before putting them on.

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A good place to worship Sanita: the bathroom of the fancy hotel they let you in even after 4 days without showering.

Cookeo

Lord of Calories

Holy Items / Attributes: Sporks, Jetboils, Ziploc bags, dehydrated food, Nutella, CLIF bars, fruits that you buy to feel better about all the junk you’ve been eating on the road, and that half-eaten bag of chips that was your only lunch for a couple days, has been hanging at the back of the car for the past three, and that you are seriously starting to consider eating

Shrines / Places of Worship: Walmarts at 11 PM, that nice comfy rock you sit on to eat your sandwich after a long hike, overpriced brunch places you still go to because you’ve had enough of camp food, and shady roadside diners in the middle of nowhere where every piece of food served has been fried in something else (see also: Needles, California)

Description: If you worship him, Cookeo will bring you nice things, such as really generous Canadian campsite neighors who happen to have a fancy stove inviting you over for breakfast, and extra cookies in the box you thought was empty since the last pit stop.

If you throw trash in the wild, Cookeo will ensure your food will soak and rot in the cooler, your Nutella toast will fall into the dirt on the wrong side, that no-one can reach the snacks in the backseat while you’re doing 90 on the freeway, and that the bag of powdered soup you bought looks like vomit, has enough salt to destroy Earth’s entire slug population and won’t even burn when you throw it in the campfire.

Cookeo will legit fuck you up.

Rando

Lord of Steps, Saint Patron of Hikers

Holy Items / Attributes: Hiking poles, backpacks with a frame, moleskin, hiking shoes, woolen socks, misleading trail signs, offline maps that take all the space on your phone, that little pebble stuck inside your shoe that you can’t fucking find

Shrines / Places of Worship: Literally every REI store, trails, summits, visitor centers, ranger stations, and that place where you can finally see the end of the trail with your eyes after eight hours walking

Known Saints: Saint Yolo, saint patrons of people with a fear of heights, Saint Salomon, saint patron of trail runners who run past you while you’re struggling to walk uphill and make you detest life

Description: In Europe, this god is known as “Quechua” and is worshipped in temples referred to as “Decathlon” rather than the most traditional REI shrines of America. When happy, this god protects you from injuries and getting lost, and will get you in the good graces of Lux and Hydroflasko.

When angered, Rando will plague you with blisters in places you didnt know you could get blisters, assholes walking at the same pace as you while playing music on portable speakers, trailhead maps that have been erased from all the people putting their finger exactly where you are, unexpected trail closures that werent announced at the trailhead, government shutdowns in the middle of your National Parks roadtrip, and sudden falls from tripping on a root that you could swear wasn’t there before and that nobody else saw (but they sure saw you flying into the air for no reason)

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Praised be Rando and the saint patrons of waterproof shoes!

Rodeo

God of Cars, Highways and Dirt Roads

Holy Items / Attributes: Wheel rims, tires, handbrakes, greasy steering wheels (I know, I know, you can’t stop eating those chips)

Shrines / Places of Worship: Gas stations in the middle of the desert, that parking space that’s the last one on the lot, brand new asphalt on the freeway, holes in the middle of the road, and dirt/gravel roads that you thought you car could handle but nope, nope, definitely no

Description: Rando’s motorized brother. The more dead bugs there are on your windshield and bumper, the happier Rodeo gets. When happy, Rodeo will bless you with people leaving their parking space just as you’re looking for one, freshly fixed roads, gas stations when you are reaching the end of your tank, and people who let you merge when you realize you have to turn last minute.

When angry, however, Rodeo will fuck with your GPS so that you end up on tollroads without noticing, throw you in the middle of a Harley Davidson convention, put you on Exit Only lanes when you do not want to exit, put hidden cops on the freeway just as you’re going slightly over the limit to overtake a truck, make said trucks try to pass each other uphill on a road with only two lanes, hide Smart cars in parking spaces you thought were empty, and somehow make your wheel rims vanish.

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I wasn’t kidding about the wheel rims. Forgive us, mighty Rodeo.

Rigolo

Lord of Shitty Jokes, Dumb Games and General Boredom

Holy Items / Attributes: Dad jokes, terrible puns, obscure references, impossibly hard children’s games that you only play when you’re about to fall asleep while driving, jokes that don’t make sense but you tell them anyway because you’ve been hiking for six hours and nothing makes sense anymore, that playing card deck you don’t remember bringing but suddenly, there it is, and that funny tshirt that you bought drunk because you are tired and it’s funny even if it was $40

Shrines / Places of Worship: Long stretches of road at night, freeways that all look the same, the empty space in Nevada (also known as just Nevada), the last part of the trail when your feet stopped responding an hour ago

Description: Rigolo is generally a good natured god, and will bring you jokes to lift everybody’s spirits when you think you’re about to slip and plummet several hundred feet down a cliff, or when you just heard a noise in the bushes just next to your tent in the middle of the night. When happy, Rigolo blesses you with jokes that only the people you’re traveling with will understand and that will become a key part of your friendship for the years to come.

If not appropriately worshipped, Rigolo will turn into Murphy’s Law personified: every stupid shit you say to frighten you friends will come true such as “I wonder if there’s rattlesnakes here”. Rigolo will also plague you with people making terrible, horrible, absolutey dreadful, non funny jokes, such as: “One way or another you will get down” while you’re freaking out on Angels Landing.

A good way to worship Rigolo is to laugh at your own terrible jokes, preventing the joke from dying alone.

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After driving on this for two hours, you too will be tempted to give thanks to Rigolo for all the shitty puns your friend in the passenger seat can conceive

 

Feel free to give us suggestions in the comments! The Pantheon can expand!

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