June 7, 2012 by jooshanoosh
Last weekend, I took my boys camping. It was our ward’s (congregation’s) annual Father’s and Son’s camp out. I wasn’t 100% keen on going but I knew my boys would love it so I thought it would be worth it. Lately, they ask me almost every day when they can have a sleepover with me. I don’t know where this idea came from, but I figured Father’s and Son’s camp out would get me out of having them sleep in my bed and kick me in the face all night.
Now, this may come as a shock to you, as I am clearly the manliest Part Time Author, but I don’t really camp. In fact, I kind of hate it. I love the outdoors and being in nature and I even like campfires. But why does that lovely day have to end with me sleeping (read: not sleeping) in a sleeping bag? Is there a more uncomfortable contraption than the sleeping bag? Your legs are too hot and your arms are too cold and every time you try and move it feels like you are in a strait jacket. If I could spend time in the woods and/or nature and then sleep in a normal bed, I would be totally sold on camping. Well that, and there would have to be better food. I know some of you are AWESOME campers and you have the most delicious meals of shrimp skewers and tinfoil dinners and whatnot cooked on the campfire, and I am telling you that you are wrong. Those meals aren’t good. You have inhaled too much smoke and haven’t noticed that the food is simultaneously burnt and undercooked and everything tastes like logs. So give me a comfortable bed to sleep in and delicious meals not cooked over an open fire and I would LOVE camping. Also, I want WiFi. And electrical outlets. Let’s just call staying in a hotel near a park “camping.” I’m in.
|Does this look comfortable to you? And yes, we camped in “cabins.” Sue me.
Well, as I suspected, the boys had a ball and the sleeping arrangements were awful. I think I slept for a total of 90 minutes the entire night. But it was worth it. On the way up, my oldest said to me, “I want to do three things when we get there. First, go into the woods and have an adventure. Second, roast marshmallows. And third, make S’mores.” Those seem like pretty reasonable request for camping and we did all three. And is there anything better than these beauties?
I have a lot of memories of Father’s and Son’s camp outs as a kid. And what I remember most is that every year at night we would all gather at the campfire and one of the adults would tell a terrifying story of a crazy old hermit who lived in these VERY WOODS we were staying in and whose wife was murdered in cold blood and who wandered around at night looking for her killers, or about a man named Eli who went crazy and grew hair all over his body and roamed these VERY WOODS we were camping in, or about a crazy old prospector who thought that people were out to get his gold and wandered these VERY WOODS trying to keep his treasure safe and scare off would be treasure hunters. And every year, these spooky campfire tales would end with someone dressed as whatever crazy killer we had heard about that year bursting out of the woods and screaming and striking terror into the hearts of all the young boys present.
I know I live in the age of the helicopter parent and that I am probably too overprotective of my kids. But who thought scary stories ending with the killer himself popping out of the woods was a good idea?? I distinctly remember the year that they told the story of Eli (who basically turned into Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman or something – I forget the details.) We were sleeping in an old camper that year (the kind that sits on the back of a pickup truck) and after my dad tucked us boys into bed he went to go hang out a while longer at the campfire. I remember looking up and seeing a white, hairy face with big sharp teeth staring through the window at me and growling. To this day I still don’t know if it was my terrified hallucination, someone with a mask trying to keep the frights going or an actual crazy prospector who’s wife was murdered and who turned into a Yeti (I forget the details.) I am sure that I didn’t sleep a wink that night. Well, and I think I was in a really uncomfortable sleeping bag too, so I am sure that didn’t help.