Saturday, August 7, 2010

Are We Having Fun Yet? The Princess Goes Camping

     Umm, I don't consider myself a "princess," but I never grew up camping on family vacations. My family lived in Mammoth Lakes from about mid-June to early September every summer from 1971 to 1982. We hiked, fished, canoed, water-skied (a total blast! although a little algae-ish at times), went inner tubing (so much fun!) down the Owens River, and did all sorts of really fun outdoorsy things in the High Sierras.

     And then we went to our large, spacious condo and showered, ate hot pizza and ice cream sandwiches, and sat in the jacuzzi down at the Rec Room after playing endless games of Pac Man, ping pong, and Pool. We had lots of friends and loud music (Reo Speedwagon, Journey, Billy Joel, Van Halen, U2 - this was the music of my childhood and early 'tweenhood - so awesome!). We'd walk up the road from the Rec Room gazing at the marvelously God-glorifying bright twinkling stars against the black night sky and breeze in the front door of the condo. We'd watch some VHS (so new and novel at the time!) God-dishonoring, stupid, teen horror flick, and then collapse in our cozy beds with warm, comfy blankets and soft pillows. was bliss in the High Sierras.

     So, you see, I never knew sleeping on the hard ground in sleeping bags (or in the car after a 3 am trip across the dark campground to the bathroom and then returning to find Tim and my little ones sprawled all over my portion of our bedding and so off to the car I went), eating wienies and beans over a smokey, dirty fire grill, wrestling with roasted marshmallows and chocolate stuck to every inch of my and my toddler's hands, and dirt - dirt, dirt, dirt, and showers that cost 75 cents after a  hike across the campground lugging all my clothes and camp shower toiletries.

     I don't want to be a princess, but in some ways, I am - a High Sierra Princess! (That sounds so much better!)

     Several months ago I discussed with Tim the idea that maybe we should take a family vacation. We have a very limited vacation budget. So, I reserved a couple of days at McGrath State Beach in Oxnard. I don't like the idea of having to hide our camp food from bears. That is way too difficult for me to fathom. So, beach camping it is! A week approaching our camping trip, I was rather disinclined to try and round up all of our camping gear and figure out food and how to work a brand new propane stove we've never used, and all the bedding. Ugh....if Tim didn't want to help out in a BIG way - no problem. We'll just forgo the trip.

     Tim was willing to help out. So, off we went. We had an enjoyable time. I only had one temper tantrum over access to the bathrooms without going through other people's camp sites. (Please people, make a path!) At any rate, my plan was to sleep over Friday night and then leave with my little ones on Saturday evening, after some friends joined us. Tim would leave the following day with our friends. I was happy to see our friends, and happier to leave.

     My own shower felt so delightful and my bed was so welcoming. You see, I'm not that much of a princess. Okay, okay, I'm willing to try camping again, but I have to make adjustments to the whole bed thing and learn how to work that propane stove. I will, because camping is adventurous and memorable, even for a High Sierra Princess.


Kit Fisher said...

I was a motorhome girl, so camping was a rude awakening to me as well! But I've managed to come around & make it work for all involved. There is truth in that, the more you camp, the better you get at it. It's helpful to go with others who know what they're doing; they can give you tips beforehand & show you the ropes when you're there. And it sure is fun to get a "toy" every now and then to make it a little easier/motivating (a camp kitchen was my last new "toy" a year ago).


foutfolk said...

You are TOOOOO much! And you remind me of a camping princess as well. :)

I took my family camping every year, and a couple of times stayed for two to three weeks. TONS OF FUN. I think that is what made us want to move to the country. We are almost on a permanent camp. Except we can come indoors and take a shower, and get online. So I guess . . . we are sort-of camp princessy as well.

Stay at it . . . the children will have fond memories. I'll give you my BEST camping tip . . .

Teach and let the children build the fire for you in the morning. And let them eat marsh mellows and hot dogs for breakfast. It gets the fire thing out of the way, and they are ready for bed when the sun goes down. And they burn off all the energy from it during the day. :)

Cheri said...

First time I went camping with Ben I forgot to pack food (other than a package of Oreos). I assumed there just had to be a restaurant nearby. Here I was camping with the Boy Scout and he left me in charge of food. We ended up eating food from fellow campers for the weekend.