Monday, May 5, 2008

NON-"Wilderness Camping"

Saturday was my eldest's fourteenth birthday. Her only request to celebrate? "I want to go wilderness camping."

Our family loves to go camping (especially me), and we love best to go to the nearby mountain areas of Virginia... hike a bit, pitch a tent, wet our feet in a stream, cook out over the campfire, sleep under the stars. But all of this has always happened within the safe confines (and relative comforts) of a campground. (Think running water and toilets and a cleared site in which to pitch your tent.)

The kicker this time was her desire (presumed and supposed, in her imagination at least... and without a full appreciation of the reality, obviously) to go "wilderness camping." A little probing revealed that "wilderness camping" referred to some sort of hazy image in her mind which meant that the experience does not take place in a campground but out in the woods somewhere. She was picturing, I think, dreamy little hobbit-style nature immersion, not the reality of hiking with all of one's gear and food and water on one's back; or the bears that want to get at your garbage (which you've had to take care to tie high in a tree); or sleeping with tree roots digging into your back, in the pitch dark, without another human being within miles of you.

At any rate, my sweet husband was willing to indulge this desire (it was, after all, the only birthday request!), and went to work borrowing and packing and preparing our packs. The two little girls were to have regular soft-side backpacks, while the two older children and we adults were to have the big wrap-around-your-waist hiking packs that carry fifty pounds of gear. (Picture School House Rock and "Unpack Your Adjectives." Come on; you remember! "It was a hairy bear. It was a scary bear...") watch here

Anyway, EV awoke on the morning of our scheduled departure, took one look at the pack that was to go on her back for the miles and miles of terrain she had envisioned crossing, and opted for NON-wilderness camping. My husband used great discretion in avoiding uttering aloud the many curse words he was muttering somewhere in his heart, and re-packed the car for a stay in a campground. SO, on this trip, we had the "best of both worlds" - steak and onions with baked beans over an open fire and MRE's from a bag.

As you can see, it was unbelievably wonderful!

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