Friday, December 09, 2011

An Oldie But a Goodie

A post I wrote a few years back when I participated in a Blog Off for Breast Cancer with some blog friends. I know it is such a cop out to make this my post for today. Truth is, I don't feel well, it's been a long week and I am going to bed. So read and enjoy :)

I love to go camping. I love the whole idea of escaping the city and getting away from it all. No TVs, no computers and no telephones. Just peace and quiet for as long as you choose to stay. I only have two rules when I go camping and they are as follows:1. NO BEARS, none whatsoever. None of this telling me they don't ever come around or only one is sighted a year. It doesn't matter, it's a rule and it stays that way. Chris broke this rule one time and I nearly killed him. There is only ONE exception to this rule and that is if it is The Berenstain Bears, because let's face it, they are cool.2. There HAS to be a working toilet within walking distance of the campsite.After that I am up for anything. I love the outdoors and I love the simplicity camping can bring into your life. Call me crazy, because I like a running toilet but at least I am not one of those girls who has to cart all her makeup and hair products with her when she goes camping. One of the reasons I look forward to camping is so I can leave all that stuff behind and not worry about it for a few days.

The fire is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer or winter, and is about as ample at one season as at another. It is as well for cheerfulness as for warmth and dryness. ~Henry David Thoreau

One of my favorite things about camping is the fire. I love to sit around the fire. I could sit there for hours and stare at the glowing orange of the fire and listening to the crackling of the wood. I love the peacefulness of it. The fire serves so many purposes. Obviously there is the whole keeping you warm thing, but aside from that how else would we survive an entire weekend on hot dogs and marshmallows if we didn't have a fire to cook them on? What about s'mores? They just wouldn't be possible without the fire. I remember camping in 1997 with some friends from high school and sending the boys to make us s'mores at all hours of the night and bring them to our tents. I also remember us all thinking it would be fun to go for a swim in the lake at like midnight--even though it wasn't even June yet. If you could only know how cold that water was. Me and the rest of the girls spent the rest of the night in front of the fire drying our hair. Perhaps the midnight swim wasn't the brightest of ideas, but thank God for the campfire to dry us off that night.
A lot of people who are hardcore campers make fun of me and tell me I am not a real "camper" because I refuse to camp in the mountains or in the middle of nowhere. I like to go to a campground where there are other people around, and where my only social interaction during the trip is not some bear or wild cat who attacks me as I pee behind a tree. That just does not sound like a good time to me--seriously--it doesn't. I have been afraid to camp in the mountains for as long as I can remember. There was no experience that I went through that made me scared. It is just a general thing. Big ass wild animals live out there, so why would I want to go? And yes I know, before you waste your time I will say it for you. Bear attacks are rare and as long as you keep your food away, etc you will be fine. I know this, but it still doesn't change my mind any. I get that it is rare for a bear to walk up to your tent, rip a hole in it and drag you off in the middle of the night. But attacks do happen, and my luck I will be that one person it happens to. Therefore, I figure if I leave them alone and stay away from their place of residence then I will be fine.My favorite camping trip that I have ever been on is when Chris and I went camping on the Oregon Coast for a week. We stayed at Beverly Beach State Park which is almost right on the ocean. The Oregon Coast is among my favorite places and if you have ever been there or seen it in pictures you know why. Our campground was fairly big, yet quiet. We were happy to have found a site surrounded by trees and it was almost as if it was our own little place. In the evenings when it got dark, we would go for a walk along the beach and enjoy the views of the stars and listen to the crashing of the waves that we couldn't quite see anymore. All along the beach you could see bonfires and hear people talking and laughing. At our own campsite Chris would make us a fire and we would sit around for hours talking, drinking cheap beer and roasting marshmallows.

The first night we were there it was pretty late when we arrived and already very dark. We carefully unloaded the car, and used the headlights to light the way as we set up the tent. After everything from the car was unloaded we decided we would lite a fire and jut relax for a few hours before we climbed into out tent for the night. Chris was in the tent changing when he called out to me to ask me to grab the lantern from the car. Now this lantern was not one of those new-fangled battery powered plastic ones, this thing was the real deal. Old school with fragile glass and even more fragile mantels. The kind that basically turn to ash at the slightest touch. There I was, lantern in hand walking back towards the picnic table. Well, I didn't make it that far. As I was walking back I completely forgot about the cement block in front of our parking spot, and I tripped over it and went flying through the air. I landed almost face first on the cement, scraping up my arms, my elbow and my hands. The lantern did an acrobatic show of its own, flying through the air and hitting the ground and bouncing back up off of it with the loudest bangs and clangs you could imagine. It was almost midnight--you could have heard a pin drop and there I was making all the racket I possibly could. Once Chris realized that for the most part I was okay he could not stop laughing, and after a while I saw the humor in it as well and could not stop laughing myself. Miraculously I was more damaged than the lantern was, not a scratch on it. Tell me, how does that happen? How do I fling a glass lantern through the air, have it come crashing down on the cement and somehow it doesn't break? Whatever the reason it certainly gave us a good laugh that night. Although I was feeling a little sore and stuff from my fall when I woke up the next morning.
Lets talk about raccoons for a minute. Now, people would have you believe that raccoons are cute and therefore they are harmless. Let me tell you people, this is just not true. Have you ever encountered a raccoon? They are frightening little creatures and the thought of their claws scratching at my face gives me the shakes. Like at any campground--you will always have raccoons. We were very careful to keep all food and garbage away in the hopes they would stay away from our campsite. One morning we woke up after it had been pouring down rain all night to find muddy raccoon paw prints all over our picnic table cover and our camp kitchen. Little buggers had made quite the mess in search for a midnight snack. The next night they got pretty brave when we were sitting by the fire and they made their way towards the picnic table. Chris ended up scaring them off, but for a while they just stood there staring us down and hoping we would drop something they could snatch up.

Chris and I have not been camping for a long time. We are both hoping this summer will offer some opportunities to camp in some of the beautiful places out here in New England. We have yet to take Belle camping. That should prove to be very interesting as she doesn't like things with four legs so much and I am not sure she realizes that she would have no chance against a raccoon.

If you hate camping because you have been and it just isn't for you then I respect that. But for those of you who have never been and say you don't like it you need to try it at least once. I have a feeling that you might just like it.

What I like about camping is you can get really dirty. Either you're all by yourself, so no one else sees you, or everyone you're with is just as dirty as you are, so nobody cares. ~Anonymous


Andrea said...

I would love to try camping there! Maybe we could all go this summer! Fun!!

Anonymous said...

Camping is awesome!!! I came to read today's blog. :(