"" Writer's Wanderings: Camping Out Means No Chocolate On The Pillow

Friday, June 09, 2017

Camping Out Means No Chocolate On The Pillow

There is a reason my husband jokes that camping out to us means staying at the Holiday Inn. It's no reflection on Holiday Inns but rather our way of saying we'll choose a hotel over a campground any day. Why? We have some good reasons. The major one being we've never had a good experience.

At one time in our lives we were youth leaders for our church. We were building a youth group and had gone from one teen to about fifteen in a year's time. We decided to celebrate by taking them on a canoe outing--overnight.

I don't want to say I was terribly naive but truth is, I was. I called the canoe livery not far from us and asked about overnight camping and what they could offer. They explained how we could park our vehicles at a campsite and they would bus us to a starting point. From there we would canoe down the river to the campsite, camp overnight, then continue on to the livery the next day where they would again bus us back to our vehicles. Sounded good.

Somewhere in the conversation I remember the words "primitive camping." So, okay, I thought, we can deal with an outhouse for one night. Like I said: naive.

We arrived at the site and realized to the girls' horror that there was no outhouse--nothing. Undaunted and not wanting to create more of a panic than was already ensuing, we strung up a blanket so the girls could have some privacy. To my horror the next morning I realized that we had strung the blanket just below where the bridge in the road was. I tried not to let the girls know.

So all right. We lost one girl to the youth group who refused to ever go with us on another outing but most of the kids were willing to try again. The next year when we made reservations we planned on going to a camping ground nearby that I was assured had facilities. Ah, I thought, this will be really special.

And it was--until a storm system moved in and the lightning and thunder began and water rushed through the tents. We ended up spending the night sitting up shoulder to shoulder in the vans, slightly damp and nodding off once in a while.

So you see while it may have made some fond memories (I think they are fond) it completely turned us off of camping ever again. I hear that some of those kids though are avid campers now and take their kids (and some their grandkids) camping. Me? I'll go where I get a chocolate on the pillow.

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