Sunday, June 17, 2007

Camping report

Camping 2

So, how was it?
It depends on who you ask. I had a great time. My kids were ambivalent. It goes back to the "Town Mouse and Country Mouse" theme of a few weeks ago.
I grew up camping and backpacking. We would start the summer hiking in the mountains near Seattle as soon as the season would permit. There were a few adventures where the snow was still covering the trails and, alas, a few where would would arrive at the trail head to discover that the forest had been clear-cut and the trail head was not to be found. Once we were "in shape" we would start backpacking. We packed in the Cascade and Olympic mountains of Washington, the U.S. and Canadian Rockies, the California Sierra range and probably a few other points I have forgotten. One summer in Canada, I wore a pedometer and put on at least 100 miles hiking.
These were not always easy hikes. One hike I remember in British Columbia was to a place called "Berg Lake." It derived its name from the hanging ice field that calves (the technical term) little ice bergs into the lake. Part of the hike was very steep and worse yet exposed to the sun. (The trail gains 2625 feet in 14.3 miles). We nearly ran out of water and my father had to carry my brother's pack up the worst of it. Fortunately the goal was beautiful enough to be worth the trip. There are a number of images of Berg Lake on the net but here is one that catches the beauty. At the time, I was probably 10 years old and my brother 8.
In contrast, here is my Wisconsin car camping trip. We stayed at Point Beach State Park. It is 3-1/2 hours north of Chicago on Lake Michigan. There are 100+ sites but fortunately it was not at all crowded. The amenities include running water, conventional toilets and showers. Wood can be bought on site. There was a concession complete with video games which we did not use. We were only a few miles from the nearest town, Two Rivers, and had we chosen, could probably have ordered pizza delivered to our camp-site. Not exactly roughing it in my book.
The kids were not pleased with the mosquitoes. To be honest they are not my favorite part of camping. But again, these were nothing compared to some British Columbia mosquitoes. Back then there was no West Nile Virus to worry about, though. No ticks seen, mercifully. This exceeds my tolerance for insects. There were also complaints about the discomfort of sleeping on the ground, in spite of modern, state of the art, sleeping pads.
Campfires were a hit. So was the beach. As were marshmallows and hot dogs on the fire and smores.

Point Beach

A raccoon rummaging through our cookware managed to scare my younger son. I wisely did not tell my younger son that my nighttime fears as a child ran more to visits from bear. There are no bear in these woods so I decided to spare him that fear. I used to fear the things that go bump in the night when camping but the shoe was on the other foot in my first camping trip as a parent. So I got to take the flashlight and scare off the raccoon.
As I told my father yesterday, it gave me a lot more sympathy for his past ordeals camping with my brothers and myself. I don't know how he did it. But I thank him for sharing with me his love for wilderness and solitude. I just wish I could pass it on to my too technological and urban, somewhat spoiled, progeny.


self taught artist said...

welcome back....
dont cut your hair
that sucks about your identity
the blog world is eerily quiet.....

meeyauw said...

You camped, as a child, in magnificent areas that I have never seen. The photo was breathtaking.

I enjoyed this post: I could smell all those old camping smells, and emphasized with you and the kids. Of my four, only one likes the woods so camping with them was difficult. The toughest thing those other three will do is mall-ing in huge cities.

Literary Feline said...

Welcome! My family camped often while I was growing up--and I loved it with the execption of the cold nights, hard ground, and bugs that seemed attracted to me. The older I got, the less the positives were able to overcome the negatives, sad to say. I do love the mountains and wouldn't mind renting a cabin, going on day hikes, and the like, but I'm not sure I would ever willingly volunteer to rough it again. LOL

I know it broke my heart when I told my dad his kind of camping wasn't for me. And yet nowadays, I've noticed that my parents more often rent trailers to stay in when they camp or at least take an air mattress for the tent . . . Hmmm.

I think camping is something every child should be able to experience.

Liza's Eyeview said...

so for the next camping, make sure you pack lots of bug repellant :) :) :)

I like camping (but only for a couple days..not more than two :)