Camp Nono

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I love nature.  I love the outdoors.  This might surprise some of you, but I really truly do. 

What I don’t like is camping.

My parents were teachers.  They had the entire summer off.  We camped A LOT.  I don’t mean trailer camping, with wifi and showers, I mean big ol’ canvas tent, one hole pooper camping.  A favourite spot was Pancake Bay, up on the north shore of Lake Superior.  Beautiful sand beaches, sparkling water and greenery as far as you could see, forever.  It still evokes very magical memories in me.

BUT IT WAS M/F COLD, dudes, especially at night.   That lake is beautiful and unspoiled, and warms up for about two days at the end of August.   I spent every night with my teeth chattering, lying on my air mattress, listening to everyone snore.  I’d refuse to drink so I didn’t have to get up to pee.  I’d pee in the lake when we swam (oh, get over it, it’s a big lake).  Anything to avoid that nighttime run to the OUTHOUSE, that stinking open holer.  I didn’t know what was down there.  All I knew was, it smelled, and it was a long way down if you fell in.  My brother used to tease me, scare me.  I was terrified every fucking day.

As a result of not drinking hardly anything, and peeing in the lake, I used to get about eight kinds of constipated when we were camping.  So. Just imagine how happy I was.  Hot, dirty (no showers), sandy, constipated and freezing cold at night.  Stuck in the tent on rainy days.  I used to sit in the car and read comic books and try to figure out if I could drown myself.

Upon getting to the park, after 8 hours in the car, no one was allowed to do ANYTHING until the campsite was set up.  Stand here, hold this pole, stop wiggling, shut up.  No beach.  No snack. No.No. NO.

Later on, we got a tent trailer.  They developed marginally better toilets in the “comfort stations” (don’t let the name fool ya), and showers.  It was slightly less hellish.  The high point of the trip was a visit to the A & W in Wawa, and maybe a night at the amphitheatre watching a film about wolves and getting the hell scared out of us by Ranger Bob. 

We did make friends there, another family who came every summer.  They were from Rhode Island, and had a VW Microbus in which all five of them slept.  No kidding.  There were nature trails, and crayfish.  There were campfires and marshmallows, orienteering games and canoeing to the point.  As I said, I do have magical memories of that place, it’s breathtaking.

But mostly, I was miserable because of the physical discomfort of it all.  I am now officially too old for that shit.  I refuse to go through that anymore.

I will gladly go camping with you, but only if there’s a warm bed, a hot shower, a coffeemaker and a decent toilet.

Is that so much to ask?

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3 responses »

  1. I'm not sure you would like our camping trips Lynn…the toilet is wherever you dig the hole, however the beds are usually warm (if you have a good sleeping bag and understand that "bed" means a 1" thermarest) and we always have good coffee. We do campfires and marshmallows once in a while and lots of canoeing. On the other hand, the rule about setting up camp first is pretty universal. So a mix of good and bad for you I guess.

  2. Dave, I'm QUITE sure I wouldn't like your camping trips – I can romanticize about them, but the reality is not for me! Have you ever seen a big old great dane who's getting arthritic? That's me. I admire the outdoors, but from a polite distance, on day trips. And with respect to the setting up camp rule – we were little kids! Who had been in the car for eight hours straight! I can understand that probably being a good rule for adults, but not for kids. Nazi camp, I tell ya. 😦

  3. Of course if ya keep a dog in the car for 8 hrs, the first thing ya do is let him run around like a mad thing and pee wherever he wants. Rule should be the same for kids.

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