Crazy For Camping

October 20, 2009

That’s what the badge I earned for surviving the Girl Guides Fall Camping experience this past weekend says “Crazy for Camping” – the crazy part is definitely right. After last spring’s torrential rain storm of a camp out (we were in tents, remember?) I said I’d pull my eyelashes out one by one, before I ever went camping again. “But Mommy – this time it’s indoors  – at the Girl Guide Lodge and now I’m a Girl Guide (moved up from Brownies just last week)…p-l-e-a-s-e?!” I still said No. Plus I had artfully managed to wait until it was too late and the camp quota was full. Then the phone rings on Friday night – Brown Owl calls to tell me that a mother and child have canceled and there is now room for us. It’s short notice, as we’d be leaving at 7:15 the next morning. Hmmm…No, I don’t think so – it’s just not my thing. She shoots back with a most inviting tone of voice and cheerfully reminds me that “It’s indoors this time!” I have to think about it and call her back. I talk to my husband – he thinks that it might be o.k. – we would be indoors, and it might be nice to get away to the country and enjoy the fall colors. I call her back and say” O.K. we’ll be there.” Then I run upstairs to pack two bags of clothing and get what little camping gear we own ie: two sleeping bags and one lantern light.

It’s a cold, frosty morning – but the sun is peaking out and it looks like a nice day. So up we drive – my oldest daughter is coming along for the ride and will keep my husband company on the way back. As we pull up to the lodge my husband and daughters help unload us and have a quick peek around the lodge just to see where we’d be staying. Time to go and my husband wants to use the bathroom quickly….o.k. – now this is where the internal screaming begins; he can’t – in the lodge – as there is NO RUNNING WATER (never mind that there is no heat)! What Have I Done?!?!?! All color drains from my face – “Are you kidding me? No running water?” I say to Brown Owl, my hand resting on her arm just to keep myself from toppling over. “Oh no – sorry – forgot to mention that, did I?” My oldest daughter makes a run for the car while my husband’s face twitches with a smile as he goes out to find the out houses….What Have I Done?!?!? I scream silently as I watch them get into the car and drive away. I’m freezing – even though I’m wearing an undershirt, a turtleneck sweater, a polar fleece heavy sweatshirt and a coat (hat and gloves too!) and the realization that this was going to be my uniform for the weekend made me feel just a bit sick – thank God I brought my migraine meds with me….

So, scant moments later the guide comes down to get us all to take us off to do archery. O.K. , I think, I do love archery and am still trying to find a place where I can learn to do it properly. My daughter however, is in tears. She realizes where we are and she wants to go home – she’s cold and she doesn’t really like camping (what?!). I tell her to wait until we’ve done the archery and had lunch and if she still feels so unhappy I will call Daddy to come back and get us.

Well, after archery we go back to the lodge for lunch and as luck would have it, our team is on lunch duty. This is good because it gives us all something positive to do. We are helping the girls to make grilled cheese sandwiches. They have to butter their bread (on the correct side – not many of them know that) place their cheese inside and then go outside to grill them on top of large coffee tin cans that have a little fire going underneath each one. The girls think this is kind of cool and have a good time doing it – they’ve learned a few cooking skills (cutting up vegetables etc) and they’ve enjoyed an activity. Another team does all the dishes and the third team does the “sanitation” (cleans the out houses).

My favorite activity is next – lying down quietly for an hour. Then our guide returns with a nature scavenger hunt that the girls will do as we take a long (and I do mean long) hike to the top of the bluff. We did this same hike in the spring and it was hard then – but this time with so many leaves down it was a slippery climb – both up and down. Honestly, as one point I didn’t think I was going to make it – what a reminder that I need to get back into shape! We get back from the hike and are back in the kitchen on Hot Chocolate Duty (at least it was warmer in there with the stove constantly on – did I mention that we had to get water from the lake in buckets several times a day and boil it?).  The sun is going down slowly and it’s getting colder -so we’re all trying to warm up. The girls with hot cocoa – the adults with hot tea. The only problem with this is that within the half hour you know where we all have to go….outside – over to the out houses and pull our pants down in the cold to pee. While I’m in there I can’t help but notice that it smells like our cat’s litter box when we’ve been a bit slow to change it…why did I drink so much tea?

We have a tasty dinner – the only drawback is that we are eating with our winter coats on – not really comfortable. I can’t wait until the sing-a-long campfire because I know that means we’ll be going to bed next. Despite the large fireplace we are all still freezing. My daughter in her winter coat in shivering and so I take mine off and wrap it around her. It’s hard to be in this constant state of chill. Finally! We are off to bed. Apparently the Girl Guides are allowed to stay up a half hour later than the Brownies – if they wish. I don’t care – at this moment I’m so tired of being cold that I get straight into bed at 9pm – there is some heat in the bedrooms from a baseboard heater which helps (if you remember to keep all the doors shut) and once in my sleeping bag I begin to finally feel warm. Then 2 am hits. I wake up and I have to pee (again!). I really really really don’t want to – I do not want to get out of my warm sleeping bag, get dressed up, and go into the cold and very dark night to the out houses. I have been forewarned about Rocky the Raccoon and Sammy the Skunk and the odd possibility of a bear….I spend half an hour trying to convince myself that I don’t have to go…this only makes it worse. O.K. – I’m going out there. I tip toe to the kitchen to put on my shoes and try not to look at anything (apparently there is a mouse in the kitchen) I also keep looking down and run towards the out houses figuring that if I don’t see anything, I’ll be all right. IT’S COLD OUT THERE! As I start to run back to the lodge I stop for a moment and look up – I can’t remember a time when I have seen so many stars! They seem to be multiplying right before my eyes – truly little diamonds in the sky….then I hear a rustle in the bushes next to me and the moment is gone – I run the rest of the way back.

When I wake up in the morning there is frost on everything, everywhere….it’s cold again. So I make a boiling cup of tea and hope I can hold on until the frost melts away.


One Response to “Crazy For Camping”

  1. Brenda Purdie Says:

    Thanks for starting my morning off with a laugh. I almost busted my gut laughing. You are a wonderful Mom and you are going to heaven girlfriend.

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