Sunday, June 29, 2014

Camping 101

Just got home from camping and I have never been so dirty. That's not true. I've been far dirtier. But that first shower after collecting three days of camp filth feels divine. As does sleeping in a bed again. We went away for the Sidekick's birthday. He's now another year older, but I suspect none the wiser. He said he feels twenty-nine. I tried not to laugh in his face.

While we were away, I got to thinking about the proper way to camp, what is and isn't camping to me, and the etiquette of being out in the wilderness. Here are some of the observations I made.

1. When an RV is involved it isn't camping. This is what the city girls call glamping but to me it's a bit on the excessive side, kind of like you're missing the entire point of the activity. On top of that, it's sort of rude, especially when you set up shop across from a couple with a tent and they have to listen to your generator kicking in every couple minutes or your smoke detector going off. Like, seriously? A smoke detector! Part of the fun of camping is second guessing whether you doused your fire enough and silently wondering if you're going to perish in your tent that night.

2. Showering is cheating. The whole point of going camping is to connect with your inner beast and become one with the wild. Walking to a shower and using such items as body wash, razors and a loofa sponge are against the rules. Now, washing up in a lake or creek is perfectly acceptable. That icy splash of water on your face is most invigorating.

3. Heat comes from a campfire. There are no other exceptions, unless we are talking bodily warmth. Huddling close to the fire to keep warm is a key ingredient to a successful adventure into the woods, as is practically burning your legs off because you insist on sitting a foot away from the eight log fire.

4. Wet wood doesn't make the best fire. Cedar kindling rules!

5. Always pack a rain jacket. Who wouldn't pack a rain jacket? (glances over at the Sidekick)

6. The weather reports are wrong. I am actually a firm believer that all meteorologists are liars and that weather predicting is about as trust worthy as witchcraft.

7. Camping calories don't count. It's okay to survive on potato chips and hot dogs for three days. No one is going to think less of you. In fact, you might become a hero in the eyes of people you tell.

8. Don't cheap out on a tent. From past experience, a leaky tent is literally one of the worst things in the world. Just because that eight person tent is a hundred dollars at Wal-Mart doesn't mean you should buy it. Pay attention to the words 'water resistant' - it is basically saying if it drizzles you will be fine. You want a waterproof fly. The tent we just got kept us perfectly dry and it wasn't too expensive.

9. Dogs are awesome, but don't just let them run around the campground. This is my problem with off leash dogs. Not all dogs are friendly and, while your dog might be the sweetest four legged creature ever to grace planet Earth, it is an animal with instincts. Keep your dog leashed or tethered, for their own protection and other animals' as well. Everyone in our campground kept their dog under control until the last day when two families showed up and just let their dogs roam free. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. As you know, Dixon is a pitbull. We have had two dogs run up to us off leash and start trouble with him. He's not an aggressive dog, but these bad interactions with uncontrolled dogs are terrible experiences we both hate having. On top of that, they are unnecessary.

10. Keep it clean. Camping is messy business, sure, but you should treat your surroundings with respect. Dispose of your garbage, keep the site tidy, and leave it in better condition than you arrived. We left our fire poker 2000 behind for the next visitors to use.

Okay, now it is picture time!

Comfy in the tent. 

Morton Lake

Mohun Lake 

A man and his dog

Andrew Lake (thought the sky looked cool in this one)

Being a good boy at the lake

Morton Lake

Camping abode (tent)

All bundled up

He's ready to go home

Sidekick and his fire poker

A rare picture of the Sidekick and I

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