Camping Woes

This is dedicated to all seven of my beautiful siblings (and families) who do, in fact, love to camp. I wish I was like you!

I hate to camp. I loathe the whole catastrophe that is camping itself. I despise the sheer amount of equipment of the thing–the ropes, the spikes, the pots and pans, the Igloo coolers, sleeping bags that never, ever withstand the temperature advertised. Or the inability to ever get a big thing, like a subzero sleeping bag, or a six-man tent, to fit into the small baggie it came in. And don’t get me started as to what to wear on a campout. I don’t own a single thing that would work, and my hiking-high heels don’t do very well in the Rockies. To me, camping in the great outdoors is nothing but a countdown to tears or a divorce.

Camping is just so filthy. I hate ash and dirt–as well as eating, drinking, sitting, and sleeping with it settled inside every crevice. I abhor that no matter how much I have prepped a site, have rid it of stones and boulders, have swept it smooth, I still end up sleeping on several sharp points. To me, Hotel-ing is to vacationing, as camping is to pretend at homelessness.

Then there are the living things of the forest. There is the constant infiltration of pests like ants and gnats and mosquitoes, in which you eat unintentionally, or spend the trip fighting off those intentionally eating you.

Of course, there are the cuter things—the chipmunks and squirrels that raise up on their hind legs begging for food. I don’t mind those as much and will gladly offer bits and pieces of my soot-peanut-butter and jelly sandwich (smashed flat on one side and sopping wet on the other because there is always a mishap with the cooler). I’ll share!

Then there is the other kind of woodland creature. This type watches and lurks and stalks because people are their equivalent of a Weight Watchers cheat day. You, in your subzero sleeping bag, are basically an ash-dusted burrito, smothered.

People who camp will counter my argument with, “Yeah, I hate tent camping, too. What you need is a camper.” Inevitably, the person will then cite the reasons a camper is better:

A) You don’t sleep on the ground because the dining table turns into a bed. B) With a camper, you get the benefit of both a kitchen and a bathroom indoors. C) They’ll keep you safe from bears.

And inevitably, I have reasons why a camper isn’t better:

A) True, you’re not sleeping on the ground, but you are sleeping on a table! B) Yes, the camper’s kitchen and bathroom are inside, but they are also the same room (And insisting that your camper isn’t the kind that occupiers are allowed to poop in, doesn’t lessen the disgust of urine housed three inches away from the sink where Dutch oven potatoes are rinsed). C) If you think a bear, fresh from hibernation and hangry, will not view a camper with people inside as anything but a can of tuna, I can’t help you.

Also, BEARS CAN OPEN DOORS!!!

I admit I don’t hate everything about camping. I really like Dutch oven food. Any recipe that requires 8 cups of butter and 12 cups of cheese for the main course is good eats. Or anything that calls for two cake mixes plus 8 cups of sugar for the dessert, is impossible to dislike, right?

I also like the sights, sounds, and smells camping gets you. When the moon is high and white contrasting behind black spindling tree branches, I like that.  Or the smell of wood burning and the way orange flames lick and shimmer over the timber and makes it pop, I really don’t mind that. In the mountains beneath a canopy of Aspens and Firs, I love the calmness of nighttime, where rolling rivers whisper, and crickets sing.

If it weren’t for all the other stuff, I think I’d totally be a camper! Otherwise, I’ll settle for a hotel, complete with swimming pool, room service, mints on pillows, seemingly insta-made beds (thank you hospitality services), and the constant replenishing of big fluffy towels.

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