Camping Fun or Camping Insanity?

We are taking the kids camping. They’re excited! My four-year-old has been counting down for the past three days. It’s adorable. Really. Still, as much as we love camping, have you ever considered the insanity of it? Pack up your life and go park yourself in the middle of nowhere, away from all of the typical comforts we are so accustomed to, possibly shivering in the middle of the night.

Insane.

It gets better though. Now that we’ve taken ourselves away from life and our comforts, we make sure to bring some of those comforts along. Because we don’t actually want to be away from everything, but we don’t want to be in a house or a cabin either. We want to be in the woods, but not of the woods. That must be it. We will come intrude on this natural space so we can experience the grandeur of ‘roughing it’, but we don’t want it to be too rough. Just rough enough. I sit here looking at all the work that goes into it, and all the piles of stuff we are packing with us, and I almost want to laugh. Here are a few of the things we take:

Sleeping bags (of course)
Pillows
Clothes (of course)
Toys for the babies
Seats for the babies
Baby wipes (because we want to be clean even if we are in the middle of nowhere)
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Playpen
Food
Chocolate (a given)
Snacks (because the kids have to constantly eat)
Lighters
Flashlights
Camp stove (It has three burners. It’s very long. We make gourmet breakfast on this thing)
Dutch oven (again, gourmet meals)
Saladmaster (fresh hash browns are SOOO much better than frozen, mushy ones)
Portable speakers (because we have to have music)
Cell phones and chargers (who doesn’t bring this?)
And on and on and on. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining, but it’s just funny to think about it. We pack half our life with us, put out a ton of effort and work to go sit in the wilderness for three days, at which point we come home and put out more effort to put everything back to normal.

Strange. Very strange. I imagine our ancestors looking down at us shaking their heads in amusement, probably having a conversation like this:

“They think that’s camping?” Grandma whispers to Grandpa, who reaches over and grabs her gnarled hand, patting it in appeasement.
“Yes my dear, I believe they do.” He glances at his own hands, calloused and rough from crossing hundreds of miles of wilderness, and he remembers. As a boy he remembers running with his father, axe in hand, chopping down the first tree that marked their land. As a teenager he remembers hours and hours in the hot sun, ploughing the field, planting the seeds that would ensure their survival. As a father, he remembers driving the wagon that moved them from the life they’d created into the wilderness, the unknown, following the hope that maybe they could carve out something better.
Grandma speaks again. “Looks a little insane to me.”
“I hear they think it’s fun.”
“They’re crazy.”
Grandpa chuckles. She’s right.

Maybe Grandpa and Grandma are right. If you look at it objectively it looks a little insane. Really if you think about it there’s just no logic. However, while I’m ranting about this I do actually enjoy camping. I love seeing my kids run up with their dirt streaked faces and their bright smiles. I love sitting under the trees listening to the wind rustle the leaves. I love that my kids get to spend this time with their grandparents, and I love that there’s really nothing you can do but be with people.
Maybe that’s why we do it. It removes distraction. It slows the pace down. It gives a break from the constant running of the life we lead.

Yeah, that must be it. So tomorrow off my family goes to hack out a living in the wilderness (briefly, I’ll admit). This will be fun.

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