Monday, September 28, 2015

Some bullet-points on camping

I’m not particularly fond of camping.  I’ve gone camping lots of times, and it’s kind of okay, and maybe even a little bit fun the first night, but after that I’m ready to go home.  In no particular order, here are a few of the things I really dislike about camping:

  • Coffee.  More accurately, the extreme shortage of decent coffee in less than copious quantities.  Some people love “cowboy coffee” – I am not one of those people.  However, when my survival (and others’) is in question, I will chew the coffee if I have to.
  • Lack of a temperature-controlled environment.  I dislike being damp and sticky, as if moss is growing on my back almost as much as I dislike losing feeling in my fingers and toes.
  • Spiders.  Other bugs I can usually handle.  Spiders?  Not so much.
  • The underside of those picnic tables – concrete or wood, doesn’t matter.  It’s difficult to know what might be lurking there unless I look, but once I look, I regret it.  See “Spiders” above.
  • Walking in the dark to find a bathroom.  Did I mention spiders already?

But on the other hand, there are several things I kind of like about camping: 

  • Family time.  Uninterrupted by electronics.
  • Campfires.  Everything about them.  Especially gooey marshmallows on sticks and the way my clothes smell like campfire for days afterward.
  • Sleeping in a tent is sort of cool, unless it’s raining.
  • Exploring.  Especially exploring through the eyes of my kiddos.  What wonders they behold.
  • Hiking.  I used to hate it, but then I was either a smoker, or overweight.  Now, I am neither.  It’s difficult, and sometimes there are spiders, but I enjoy hiking a lot more now.

Here’s what I’ve learned on a recent Girl Scout “camping” trip:

  • Not everyone has camping skills.  Even with as few opportunities to camp as I’ve had, I have far more camping skills than a good many people.   This isn’t a negative thing, exactly.  I guess I’ve camped out more than I thought.
  • I know how to make foil pockets for cooking individual meals over a fire and also possess the ability to teach others how to make their own foil pockets.
  • I don’t want to lead, but get so frustrated when witnessing others fumbling around with something that seems simple and logical to me.  Again, this isn’t a negative thing, exactly.
  • Camping without my family is no fun at all.  Camping with virtual strangers is even less fun.
  • Gaggling, giggling, gabbing girls.  Yikes.  Like, this is just so annoying!  Like, every time I come across a, like, gaggle of these giggling girls I want to, like, smack a couple of them into silence.  (Please, reign your troops in and get them to take a breath occasionally?)
  • It is absolutely true that one strong, knowledgeable leader can make or break the entire experience.
  • Camp names must be given to you by someone else; you cannot choose your own.
  • Sleeping in a room with 18 girls and 6 adults is a challenge in so many ways.
  • I don’t think I’m cut out for Girl Scouts.  I tried to be a Brownie Scout when I was 6.  I went to exactly two meetings and quit.  Didn’t like it then; don’t like it now.  However, I will do my very best not to color my daughter’s experience with my negativity.


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