On Camping

We camped last weekend.

This was the first time any of us had tent camped in a year–basically since the same weekend last July. My two daughters and I went yurt camping in March, but yurt camping is pretty plush when you’re used to sleeping on the ground in a tent. So really, this was our first REAL Honest-to-Goodness Camping Trip in about a year.

There was a time when on at least one weekend every month (usually two weekends), one of the adults in this house was gone camping with a group of scouts.

Things have changed.

It’s not that we suddenly started hating camping or the outdoors. I think we just got busy. I remember when the girls left scouting, I told them that we would still camp. And we have! Twice. Only twice. And that’s if you count the yurt.

For this trip, we joined some friends at a spot they suggested in Central Oregon. It was an interesting kind of remote–we had cell service, but no toilet. I guess priorities have changed in 2019.

But what a view to wake up to!

I am of mixed emotions about this camping trip. On the one hand, it reminded me of all the things I don’t like about camping.

Packing all the food, water and other drinks, camp chairs, green stove, griddle, bins of paper products and utensils, etc., etc., for a family of five…

Wrangling dogs who aren’t used to being tied up or on leash all the time…

Busy camping areas and noisy camping neighbors…

Crappy sleep…

All the aches after two nights on the ground, even with reasonably soft ground and a good backpacking air mattress…

Unpacking all of it when we get home…

But it also reminded me of all the things I love about camping.

The smell of the woods, the earth, the campfire…

Camping food, because even if it’s not as great as home, what other time do you have an excuse to eat tacos in a bag and s’mores?

The quiet of early morning when no one else is up and you can sit with a cup of coffee and just soak in the outdoors…

The scenery…

Stumbling across snow while hiking in the middle of July…

The night sounds… Not the aforementioned noisy neighbors, but the bugs and animals and trees whispering…

The Man keeps talking about how it might be time to step up to a camper. I confess, I feel a bit betrayed! He’s the whole reason I finally started tent camping and then backpack camping. But he was kind of moving away from camping even before I was (our boys were done with scouting before the girls were), so he’s had time to think about this more, maybe. The last time he mentioned a camper, I cringed.

But after last weekend… I’m not cringing quite so much.

After two nights of sleeping with two 75-pound dogs practically on top of me inside a 4-person tent (so The Man, me, and two big dogs in one tiny space), having a tiny bit more room to spread out sounds… kind of nice.

And being able to stock a camper with certain things that you always need on a camping trip instead of scrambling to throw it all in a bin seems… a lot easier.

And waking up with fewer aches is always a good thing.

We could still enjoy the night sounds and smells, but maybe we’d be a little more insulated from noisy campground neighbors.

Sure, there are fewer remote places one can go in a camper… but day hikes are nice, too.

Is this what it’s like to get old?

50 is creeping up on me. It’s now less than two months away. Maybe “creeping” is a little bit of an understatement.

In my mind, I’m still in my 20s. In some ways, I’m in better shape than I was in my 20s, at least physically. When I think about backpacking and running a half marathon and maybe trying HEMA or rock climbing, I think, “yeah, I could do all of those things.”

But then I wake up with that one sore spot under my shoulder blade…

Or I remember why I need to limit the amount of black coffee I drink (all the acids on my old tummy)…

Or I end up walking one day instead of running because dang it, my hamstrings are tight again…

Or I reconsider a particular food choice, because calories are harder to burn these days than they used to be…

(Okay, maybe I’m a little old.)

Look, I do not want to go quietly into that dark night. I promise you. I don’t exactly fear aging or death or anything like that. I know where I’m going.

And I’m not exactly bemoaning the aging. There are good things that come with aging–grandchildren, for sure, but also some of those subjective things… Like no longer caring so much about what other people think of me. There’s something remarkably freeing about just letting go of the weight of other peoples’ expectations.

I just kind of wish I didn’t have to get all the aches at the same time. Why can’t we be wise and young?

(I think I probably already know the answer to that.)

Last summer, we borrowed my in-laws’ pick-up and camper and drove around Idaho. We’re doing it again this year but with the addition of a trip to Montana to drop off the eldest daughter at college. I suspect this is going to be the trip that sells me on a camper once and for all. It’s probably not an imminent acquisition, but… yeah, it’s probably in the cards for sometime in the next few years.

But I’m not giving up my backpacking gear just yet.

By the way, I’m going to try to give an update on The Taurin Chronicles every time I post from now on…

  • The read-through of Bloodbonded has stalled due to summer. I’m working on getting back to that…
  • Unquickened is still sitting in the mental slow cooker.
  • Soultainted just passed the 20,000-word mark today, and I’m reliably adding about 1,000 words per day to this early draft.

Comments (2)

  1. Leanna

    Iā€™m going tent camping with our 16 month old son for the first time in a couple weeks šŸ˜€

    1. Amy Rose Davis (Post author)

      I’ll pray for you. šŸ˜‰

      Seriously, though, I tip my hat to anyone who camps with babies and toddlers. I did it exactly one time. Then I just waited till they were old enough to put up their own tents. šŸ™‚


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