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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A camping we will go...for some reason

I have to admit, I didn't really understand the whole camping thing.
When I wed my beautiful bride, she wanted to leave our home and sleep on the ground under the trees wrapped in canvass.
I had been working hard for many years to prevent that sort of thing and now I was supposed to do it voluntarily.
Like I said, I didn't really get it, but because I was in love I readily agreed — and the cooler full of adult recreational beverages didn't hurt in convincing me either.
So off we went, leaving our lovely rented apartment behind so we could sleep on the ground like a wild critter.
The first thing I noticed about camping was how much work it was. You had to load everything you needed into a vehicle, drive to the campground, unpack everything, set up the tent, bedding, cooking utensils etc. only to reverse the whole process a few days later.
And don't even get me started on the insects, especially the eight-legged monsters that haunt my dreams when I am in my own bed, let alone sleeping in a sack of stuffed material on a thin layer of foam in the middle of bug central.
Camping actually goes back to biblical times. Moses did it for 40 years. It may not have been by choice, but he still spent four decades pitching a tent and looking for just the right fauna for personal use.
I get tired of camping after just a couple days.
And speaking of fauna for personal use: where the heck did they find fauna in the middle of a desert in the first place? And if there was no fauna, what did they use?

On second thought, maybe I don't want the answer.
Fortunately, provincial campgrounds have bathroom facilities of some sort and what a thrill it is to make a boom-boom in an outhouse.
The most distressing part of the outhouse was the aromatic essence of the structure. Outhouses have a special odiferous quality that just can’t be described without actually experiencing it.
But young love ruled the day, so camping became a regular part of our summers — wooden toilets and all.
The longer we were married, the more our camping evolved. We went from a small, three-person tent to a 10-person tent that was so large it had room for our queen-sized air mattress, baby playpen, luggage, a full basement and in-ground pool.
The tent of wonders eventually gave way to a tent trailer, and not just any tent trailer, the largest tent trailer ever built by the human race.
The thing was so big we dubbed it The Land Whale. With the wings out, it was 26 feet long. In the right light, it could be seen from space.
What an improvement it was. I was no longer a ground-dwelling barbarian, but had an actual bed to sleep in. Camping was still a lot of work, especially with three little ones, but the Land Whale made it a lot more bearable.
My favourite part of camping was sitting around the fire with those adult bevvies I was talking about while the kids slept quietly in their beds.
But it still took many years for me to really enjoy camping.
The change started when I saw how excited my children were to leave our home and head for the hills.
When my son was 18, he said he can't wait to go camping with us and his own family (when he has one).
In that moment, the importance of family camping became clear. Suddenly, I loved camping. What an awesome way to spend a weekend with the family.
Now, if we could just do something about those bugs.  


Copyright 2017, Darren Handschuh