Monday, August 14

Wilderness Adventures

It's kind of scary. I spent my third ever camping trip (2nd this summer) feeling totally at home and at-ease in the heart of the Adirondack mountains. I have never been a rough-it kind of gal, always preferring the hot tub and room service at the Marriott to anything remotely Tom Sawyer-ish. But I found last year, while trying it out for the first time, that it was actually kind of fun. After the success of Summer '05, we decided to take the leap and actually plan two separate camping trips this year. Trip #1 was fun, but a bit hectic with planning a 10-hour jaunt to a wedding on the heels of the forest trek.

Trip #2 proved to be everything you hope for in a vacation, and I found myself returning home in a state as I've never been at the completion of a 'holiday'. Instead of collapsing the minute I returned home, catching up on all the missed sleep, recuperating from jetting about town to pack as much experience into the week as possible, I found myself relaxed, energized and wishing that I had just one more camping trip to look forward to before school starts in three weeks.

It was kind of liberating to pull on the same pair of jeans when I got out of bed in the morning that I'd had on when I sat around the smoky campfire the night before. It was a secret little thrill to let Brainy Boy run around the camp site all day long with a cowlick sticking straight up the backside of his head since nobody looks that great anyway. I actually thought it was kind of funny to tell my kids to go swim in the lake after breakfast since they had skipped their nightly shower. And I really liked letting them get 5 Laffy Taffy and eat them right away every time the supply bus drove around the campgrounds twice a day. It was pretty enthralling to realize that although we were camping with friends, I didn't have to ask how to do every little thing--and Hero Guy was quite amazed to realize that I could disassemble and correctly pack away an entire 5-piece tent all by my lonesome.

I had always imagined that I'd be grossed out by camping, get sick of a limited menu and hate sleeping on the hard, cold ground. But I found that actually an air mattress is a swell makeshift bed, everything tastes really good when you eat it around a campfire and it's not all that hard to get used to dirty fingernails for a few days. The payoff is that the kids don't fight at all and they run around staying busy for hours. You can eat breakfast at 6am or noon, whenever you get around to it, because there is no place you have to go. You can sit in the sunshine and take time with that book you've been wanting to read all summer. You can let the kids eat chocolate candy every single day because how else are you going to make S'mores?

The best part is that when you get home, you are not exhausted, you do not feel like you need a vacation from your vacation and you have not spent a lot of money. I'll be thinking about all that good stuff while I catch up on all the laundry I brought back with me!

5 of Your THINKS:

mary ellen said...

I totally agree! I love everything about a long weekend in a nice hotel but I also love going camping and getting away from it all including the cell phones, world news and the internet and all the chores at home. The kids always have a total blast and we spend more time doing things like games and puzzles. No other kind of vacation builds family bonding like camping - glad you enjoyed it.

Debbie said...

Sounds wonderful! Nothing like a good camping trip to recharge those batteries. So glad you had the luxury of those care-free days.

Marissa Kay said...

You are an awesome camper! I am so glad you have caught on and are so organized since I forgot a BIN of stuff! and the coldest weather we have had camping. Brrrr.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a great time, Jenn!
Hope to get together soon!

Thad said...

OK, since you are the queen of organization, I think you should create a few lists for those of us that might want to try camping next year....

1.) things you absolutely must pack
2.) things you absolutely must not pack
3.) things you must do while camping
4.) things you must not do while camping

Maybe, if your lists are convincing enough, some of us great INdoorsmen will venture out into this so-called "paradise" that you speak of