I am about to admit something that makes me nearly unAmerican. Yes, its true. I don’t like camping. To be honest I don’t understand why other people like camping? What part of it do you enjoy- sleeping on the hard ground, bugs swarming, strange animals surrounding camp or spending hours setting up only to tear everything down a day later? I tried for years to figure out what was fun about camping and finally realized it’s not for me.
Part of the reason why camping was a huge let-down is my father is the king of scouting/camping. My entire life he has been either young men’s president or scout master at church. He has even volunteered to be scout master (a bishop’s dream come true!). To this day scout camp (and his dirt biking trips) are the highlights of his year. He goes on and on about his favorite spots and adventures including Camp Meriwether on the Oregon Coast and the San Rafael Swell in Southern Utah. Camping in the red rock is to my Dad what Hawaii is to me. It is hard for me to fathom why everyone is not as obsessed with Hawaii as I am. I love the beach so much. In fact, the one time I enjoyed camping was camping on a beach at the Green River in Southern Utah. I love anything with water but especially the beach.
I am willing to go camping on occasion (not everything is about me) but I don’t enjoy it. I have never enjoyed it. Growing up in Maryland the humidity outside was brutal which meant one thing- bugs and lots of them! When I was about 14 I was sitting around the fire at girls camp (more to come about that later) and I felt something on my neck and to my horror it was a giant beetle about the size of my thumb! Yuck! The only good thing about camping in Maryland is the fireflies in the grass- it looks like the stars never end.
Another traumatizing camping experience happened when I was in 7th grade. For the first time in my life I won a raffle amongst the entire middle school to go on a canoe trip in the Chesapeake Bay. (I was probably more excited about winning the trip then actually going but nevertheless I was excited). Much to my chagrin it rained the whole time, our tour guide got lost and we ended up exhausted and frustrated. It was a huge let down.
And then came the drama of girls camp. With my Dad talking up boy scout camp I was eagerly anticipating girls camp. Unfortunately my stake was pour and could only afford to use a cow pasture owned by a member in the ward. You can only imagine the ticks, bugs, flies and humidity of a cow pasture in July in Maryland . The first two years were relatively uneventful but nothing to holler praise at. Then the third year came (and I have Camille Rowley to back me up on all the details). I made the unfortunate choice to invite a friend for this year and it started out like normal. Being a cow pasture naturally there was no running water or facilities of any kind. (There wasn’t even a swimming hole or pond). However, on Tuesday we got our first ominous sprinkles of rain. Then throughout the night it continued to rain. My mom’s tent was one of the only one’s that stayed dry and we all huddled inside it. Everything was wet. My scriptures got wet, my clothes…everything. I even resorted to putting grocery sacks around my tennis shoes to try and keep the water out.
The next day they decided it would be a great idea to have all of the girls fast for good weather. It did not turn out well. Around 4 or 5 we received the word that the small creek had turned into a river and we needed to evacuate camp. Who’s knows how far it was but to me the climb to our rescue party felt like miles. It probably didn’t help that I hadn’t eaten all day. I will never forget Brother Weldon came with a huge 12 passenger van and saved us from the horrible ordeal. Then he took us to McDonalds, and I tell you the golden arches never looked more golden then on that day! We were all starved.
My sister made the wise choice that year and stayed at home to watch a marathon showing of the Planet of the Apes movies (not kidding). We could have been watching infomercials and it would have been better than that trip! Thankfully the next year we did a day camp at the local army base and we all got to sleep in our own beds.
Camping was never the same after girls camp. I swear I’m bad luck on camping trips- bad weather, we get lost, can’t get the tent set up etc. I have tried many times and it has never been fun. Finally I decided it is not for me. I don’t care if everyone in the whole world loves it- I’ve tried it and just don’t like camping.
Maybe some of you can explain the appeal to me? Don’t you think the pioneers would look at camping as nuts? They didn’t rough it because they wanted to, but because they had no other choice. If given an option of electricity, running water, a soft bed and no bugs I’m pretty sure they’d pick the modern luxuries!
I guess if you can’t afford anything else it beats staying inside all summer (just barely) but some people with plenty of money chose to camp. Strange? In fact, one of the great ironies of camping is that ‘roughing it’ can be incredibly expensive- go to REI and see what I mean.
The only thing I do like about camping is the food. I love tin foil dinners, dutch ovens and smores. Maybe I should get assigned KP duty and I’d be happy?
I’m sure all you blog readers will think I’m strange- don’t like animals or camping. However, I’m a little bit flexible. I think getting a cute air stream and traveling to beautiful places would be fun. That’s more my style. I’m sure this will be a very controversial post. Thoughts, comments?