Every summer families eagerly pack up their belongings and head out to the wild blue yonder. They pay good money to rent a dusty plot of land in the dirt where they pitch a tent and pretend they’re homeless for several days. It escapes me why people love this odd ritual.
At this year’s multi-family campout we decided to go big or go home. We forked over the big bucks to rent an overpriced 28’ motor home. After last year’s tent camping experience at the annual family campout, I thought so called “glamping” might ease the pain of camping for me.
I’ll admit that it was indeed a step up from flimsy tent camping next to the constantly flushing, mega loud restrooms we endured last year. At 5 every morning no fewer than 5,000 squawking black crows descend greedily upon the camp ground. Campers are rudely awakened. Sleep ceases.
Rangers seem to overlook their self imposed rule of 10 pm to 8 am quite time. Campers are noisy until late at night. Since the primary goal of that particular campground is to cram as many motorized vehicles and electronic devices into its vast concrete jungle as humanly possible, it’s not your average getaway-from-it-all trip in the woods.
After two nights in the motor home with our four kids and their two friends, I’d had quite enough. Whoever coined the term glamping, should know that there’s really nothing glamorous about it. The impending dirt that constantly threatened to overtake every square inch of the minescule space combined with the stinky toilet, the ever shifting temporary home on wheels and piles of filthy clothes, is, in my humble opinion, overrated.
As an adult, camping seems like endless work. There’s the packing. Clothes for all types of weather and situations, meals, snacks, sleeping bags, swim gear, bikes and toiletries are just the beginning. Then there’s that matter of cooking over an open fire or a does-this-thing-still-work portable stove. Trying to keep the camper or tent swept and filth-free is impossible.
Growing up, our family camped. We’d camp where showers and paved roads didn’t exist. Stinky port-o-potties packed full of human waste or digging a hole in the woods were the only options when nature called. We’d swim all day in the river and relax by the campfire before crawling into our faded green canvas tent to sleep at night. I’m not sure how the adults involved felt, but we kids loved camping.
There was one camping trip in my adult life that I truly enjoyed. Our family joined forces with another family who were avid campers. Their favorite type of cooking was over a campfire using a big black rustic caldron. We reaped the benefits of camping with experienced campers who, even as adults, enjoyed camping. They brought most of the necessary camp supplies. Our site backed up to a secluded, gently flowing river that our kids played in endlessly. The majestic scenery that surrounded us was almost surreal.
Kids these days have far too much screen time and not enough stream time. Phones and other devices seduce our children into hours of inactivity. Camping is a way for kids to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. It allows kids freedom and opportunities they may not otherwise have at home.
My husband still enjoys camping. Adventure Guides, through the YMCA, provides the ideal outlet for him to take the girls camping monthly. He also takes the boys camping each month with their group. While camping may not be the most desirable activity for me as an adult, it’s a kid friendly, fun adventure for children.