Jun. 17th, 2011

On camping

Jun. 17th, 2011 10:20 pm
rensong: (not so far away)
My friend Emma just took her three girls on their first camping trip, and that got me trying to remember if I ever went camping as a kid.

I don't really remember, honestly, but I do recall at some point in my adolescent and/or teenage years hearing my mother say something like how they tried to take my brothers and I camping when we were little, but we were all so naughty that they vowed to never take us camping again until we grew up a bit. That might actually be true, because the first real 'camping' trip I remember going on with my parents, I think I was at least 12 or 13 at the youngest. I had done the week long summer camp thing starting around age 8 or 9, where we went to camp Lucerne (Christian campgrounds owned by the United Methodist Church) for Sports Camp and lived in a cabin for a week playing various sports and reading the Bible, but all my parents did for that was sign us up, pay the fee to get us enrolled, and then drop us off when the week arrived. Then there was our 7th grade "initiation" for I-Zum Youth Group (through Zion United Methodist, the larger Marshfield counterpart to our itty bitty church here at home), where Stan - our church's actual pastor, and Zion UMC's Youth Pastor - quite literally kidnapped me (and I believe 3? other youth from Zion who were also going into 7th grade) on a Saturday Morning after school finished for the year. Then the whole youth group went camping at Pine Lake for a weekend. Again, parents had nothing to do with that beyond I assume signing some sort of permission that allowed me to be grabbed and sent into the woods for a day or two.

The first time I recall going to an *actual* camp ground and living in a trailer for a few days, it was at Archeology Days at Silver Mound. Dad was flint knapping and doing the atlatal demonstration (nifty spear thrower used by the Natives to hunt mastodons and the like during the Ice Age), and I had invited my friend Beth to join us for the weekend. That was when we first met Toby, too, at the giant bonfire the first night we were there. Mom, Dad, Beth and myself were in the camper my great grampa built to fit on back of his 1952 Chevy pickup - basically, two rug-covered platforms enclosed by plywood, but it kept the rain off. Toby and her then girlfriend Sashey were in their itty bitty trailer that actually had a bed and a table and stuff in it, and we all had a grand old time. Beth and I tried and failed to start a fire for an hour or so, Toby stacked it up and had it lit in five minutes or less, and we hung around talking and wandering the mound all weekend. Not sure it really qualifies as *traditional* camping, though, as the camp grounds we were staying at had free coffee in the morning, heated indoor bathrooms *and* showers at our disposal, and a gift shop.

There might've been an earlier attempt at tent camping in my Grandparents Meyer's back yard for some reunion or the like when the whole family was there visiting and all of the extra rooms Gramma keeps up were filled with other relatives. I don't know if this involved actual sleeping in a tent or not, though - all I can remember was dashing around their back yard at night with my quilt flying out behind me, doing my impression of... something that flies. A bat maybe? And my brothers and I taking what might've been mildly sadistic pleasure watching bugs get drawn into and zapped by my Grampa's giant purple bug zapper attached to the garage.

So, yeah, not a lot of camping as a child. Not saying I don't enjoy it - I really had a lot of fun when we went camping for my Sedimentology class in college, and at Mt. Rainier last Labor Day weekend when I was out in Washington. Just saying I think I'd rather have indoor plumbing given the choice.

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