He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

August 9, 2010

Camp Wear-you-down

We're back. And let me tell you about camping. Or I guess about vacations in general, because it seems to me that the whole point of vacations is to make you shut up and stop whining about your day-to-day existence and appreciate how easy you've got it on a regular basis, because it seems like my vacations always leave me feeling more worn out and drained than when I started -- which of course I never remember until after they're over -- and this was no exception. Matt and I both came back burned, battered and just plain beat.

But about camping, specifically. To hear my mom tell it, my family went camping all the time until I was about two years old, then they up and moved to the lake and there was no longer any need. So for all intents and purposes, this was my first time. Matt's camping experiences were both sporadic and long ago enough that he was essentially a newbie, too. So it should come as no surprise that we made a lot of rookie mistakes.

Mistake the first: not traveling light enough. Before we left we stocked up on everything we thought we could possibly need or use over the weekend. Our little Aveo was so crammed full of crap that there was barely any room left for us. We only ended up using, eating or wearing about half of what we took. We brought along way more food than we needed, and we weren't so far from a grocery store that I couldn't have just gone shopping after we'd set up camp. We also took gallons and gallons of bottled water when our Pür pitcher would have been more than sufficient. Next time, we'll pack much, much lighter, which will make the next item less of an issue.

Mistake the second: parking too dang far away from the camp site. This wouldn't have been an issue if we'd stuck with the lot we'd originally reserved. But once we got there and saw an available lot right down on the water, we were so lured by the prospect of doing all of our swimming and fishing right there next to our tent that we didn't care that we couldn't drive down to it and had to park 50 yards away up a steep hill. It wasn't so bad carrying all of our stuff down hill on the first day, but having to schlep everything back up that hill on our last day pretty much undid all of the rest I'd managed to get in the interim. Which wasn't really that much, considering...

Mistake the third: setting our tent on rocky ground and trying to rely on cheap water loungers for air mattresses.  Both of which popped about ten minutes after we turned in on the first night. The next morning I wasted no time driving into town for some quality camping air beds, but we're both still covered in bruises from that first night of having to try to sleep on the ground with nothing but a tarp, the tent bottom and cheap thin plastic between us and the gravel. A situation that was aggravated by...

Mistakes the fourth and fifth: not taking ear plugs or an animal-proof locker for our food. Ear plugs would have made it easier to sleep through Pete's incessant barking at the raccoons that invaded our camp looking for food, and the locker would have kept them from finding it and strewing hamburger and hot dog buns all over the camp site. After that first night we started keeping the non-perishable foodstuff in the tent with us, but that didn't stop the critters from trying to get to it. And let me tell you something. In my house, when I'm safe in my own bed, I cannot sleep without having my feet covered, because I have a basic, deep fear, which precedes Paranormal Activity by about thirty years, of being awakened in the middle of the night by some unseen thing grabbing my feet. So when that actually happened the other night? Knowing that the unseen thing that had grabbed my toes through the tent wall was a cute and furry raccoon didn't really make it any easier to stop being terrified and go back to sleep.

I'm sure other mistakes were made, but these are the major ones that I think rectifying will make our next camping go-round a lot more restful. And there will be a next time, because despite all of our shiny new aches and pains, we had enough fun that we're already planning to go back for a weekend fishing trip in the fall. Matt caught a couple of fish, and the fact that they were too small to eat and had to be let go didn't make it any less exciting. The shore we camped on was rocky and I kept banging myself up on underwater boulders, but swimming was still fun, especially watching Pete swim back and forth between us until he was pooped enough to make a break for dry land. Despite the extreme heat, between the lake breeze and being able to jump in the lake when the breeze wasn't enough, we managed to stay pretty cool. And in between all of the swimming, fishing and hauling stuff up the hill, we fit in a lot of lazing about, as illustrated in this picture of Pete, who'd had all of the hyperactivity worn right out of him.

Now that we're home, we need a vacation from our vacation, but a single day of recovery will have to do. I woke up this morning feeling stiff and achy and sore all over, but also really appreciative of my own bed and all of the small luxuries and creature comforts we enjoy on a daily basis, and of not having to carry anything up a big hill again any time in the foreseeable future.


Stevie said...

A raccoon grabbed your toes! Crazy.

Jean Bauhaus said...

I know! And I will be just fine if that turns out to be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

♥Georgie♥ said...

I hope you understand that i can NEVER let my hubby read your blog as i am affraid he would leave me for you!!! LOL you went camping OMGosh you are the queen!!!! LOVE your blog

Jean Bauhaus said...

Heh, well, MY husband might have something to say about that. And he's pretty hot and he puts up with my klutziness and ADD, so I think I'll keep him.

And believe me, I'm as surprised at my latent outdoorsy tendencies as anybody. I really didn't expect to enjoy camping as much as I did.

I'm still really sore all over, though. Ow.

And thanks!

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