While I love the outdoors and all that it offers, there are three thing I will not do outdoors. I will not get up at 6:00 am to run. (Unless it’s a race). I will not ski in the rain. For obvious reasons. And anybody who knows me well, knows that I don’t camp. Period.
I suppose I could camp for one night. But then I would need at least two nights at a five star hotel with a spa to ease me back into civilization. Some may call me a diva and that’s fine with me. Each to their own. I prefer my wine from a chilled glass and my toilet to flush thank you very much. S’mores are great but the reality is that I can make them just fine on the firepit in my backyard. Mosquitoes. Really? And frankly, hot dogs are for ball parks.
When I was young my family camped. A lot. Sure we did the usual drive to a nice spot, pitch a tent and hang out kind of camping. But we also did the drive to a dirt road, park the truck, hike for four hours to a spot that may or may not be a bear’s home, tie a tarp to a tree and hope for the best kind of camping. The kind of camping that almost always meant dinner was ‘dehydrated’ something. We each carried our (huge) backpacks with our own clothes plus food and supplies. The most coveted being toilet paper. And yes, bears do shit in the woods. Just like we did.
Don’t get me wrong, we went to some amazing places. The alpine meadows in Manning Park in the summer are spectacular. I remember I would lie on my back in the middle of a field of wild flowers and just inhale the scent that the sun brought out of them. Sunscreen was still optional in those days. Hiking Garibaldi Glacier made for a once in a lifetime snow slide for not only me but the two other families we camped with that year. The Mees and the Rules if I remember correctly. My brother and the other boys put up an extra tent and dubbed it the wrestling tent. They spent the evenings trying to kill each other inside of it. No need for iPads here.
When I mentioned to a friend that we would be driving down to San Diego this summer, he asked if we would be camping.
“There are great camp grounds down the Oregon and California coasts you know”.
I’m sure there are I replied and told him that we would not be camping but would be relying heavily on the Holiday Inn Express to make our way there. I did, however, feel a tiny bit of guilt creeping in. Should I try camping again? To be honest, if I re-read the paragraph I just wrote about the Alpine Meadows and think about the memories I have of camping on the glacier, it sounds pretty cool. It would be neat to give my kids the same type of experiences.
Not going to happen.
If there is one thing I have learnt over the past few years, it is that there are things that others get great enjoyment out of that just aren’t for me. And that’s okay. In my younger years I may have felt like I should do it because, well, that’s what families do. Not any more. Yes, my parents gave me some experiences I will never forget but I am giving my kids experiences that they will never forget. They are just different experiences.
There is no right or wrong there is just different. And sometimes different is just as cool. For me, camping is not one of the Best Things in Life.
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