There. Now I feel better. Plus a lot of it smelled really smoky, so it helps to have it all exposed.
We just returned from our annual fall camping venture. Approximately seven years ago, we had some local friends that were campers and asked us to join them. Well we did and haven't looked back (even though these friends moved away). This year happened to be a good-weather year.
Each and every time we get ready for camping, I get a bit overwhelmed and stressed and just maybe an eensy-weensy bit crabby. I want to ensure we have everything we need, but not too much. I want to ensure that the house is tidy and clean before we leave. I want to ensure that any pets left behind are cared for.
Then we get there and get set up and settle our hinders into the camp chair round the fire and there's a happy sigh and it is worth all the effort.
We went with several other families this year and that makes it so wonderful. We share meals and cooking utensils and stories about life and stories about what makes life have meaning. One bonus about the timing of all of it is that it is right after our season of special privileges, so there are thoughts shared that we haven't heard or maybe missed while we were listening to the same message.
Then there's the observations about camping. Here are a few:
* State park bathrooms cleanliness rating is about a C- on a good day. The showers are gritty. The corners are filled with spiders and other creepy-crawlies. And the dressing area is out in the open so you can see your fellow campers in their underpants. If you are geared for utter cleanliness, squeamish about insects, or a private person, camping isn't for you.
* Campers in general are happy. Hence - the term happy campers. It is almost always function over fashion. There's no place for pretense.
* Campers love dogs. Almost all of them. We took Lisi and I was almost always was stopped by the person I'd meet on the trail wondering how old she was and to confirm that she was a golden retriever. Lisi thinks these ventures are the best thing ever. She's with us constantly, loved on by others, and gets to hike for miles and miles.
* There's always the eager-beaver campers nearby. You know them. The ones that set up flags for their favorite sports team, have holiday lights dangling around their awning, and have carpets set up all around their campsite. This year one couple even set up Halloween decorations.
* This year we took a hike that was nearly nine miles. If we would have told the MYP we were going to hike that far just as a family, they would have protested and considered it nearly a death-march. But with friends and a football to toss as they walked and lots of crevasses to cover and rocks to climb, it seemed like a jaunt to the mailbox. Or almost.
* The food tastes better when you are camping. I think it is because you work up an appetite walking so much. We had assignments for each meal and it came together beautifully and utterly delicious.
* But really, the whole purpose of the camping efforts is because of the campfire. There is something very primal about the fire. It is mesmerizing. It is warming. It feels very safe. For some reason, conversations just flow over the dancing light of a fire. It is a wonderful bonding place for the middle-aged and the young.
So there you have it. I am ashamed to say I didn't get any decent family shots at all this year. So here's what I can offer and I promise I'll do better next time.
|off on the venture!|
|Dairyland in October!|
|Lisi and me. I like that someone took this of us.|
|where to next?|
|back home and fittingly, dog-tired|
Well I'll try to keep this blog cleaner from now on. I hope to not air out my dirty laundry again for awhile. Thank you for your understanding.